Friday, October 3, 2014

Sad Sack Times

Social Security sent me notification of 2 doctor’s appointments. One for a Medical evaluation and one for a Psych evaluation. My sister was impressed that they came only 4 months after filing my application for disability. She has worked for Fresno Human Services for 20 something years and knows the process to be much slower. So did it come faster because they want it off their books or because the follow up questions I sent back in July painted a bleak picture. My research indicates that they decline 65% of first requests for disability. Most don’t get a medical review until your initial application is denied and you ask for an internal review. Makes me think I came off as needing help. In my favor is that the system is set up so people over 55 get a little easier process. The idea is that younger people even damaged ones have an easier time finding and adapting to new employment. 
If you follow this blog at all you know I have battled a number of illnesses and side  effects for the last 10-15 years and worked most of that time. Often feeling like the walking wounded many of those years. On my SSD application form I listed 10 or 12 medical issues. Most of which like the cataracts in my right eye are little more than an annoyance at this time. They do have a cumulative effect. Details in the post script.
So any one or two of these would be work-around-able maybe. There are intermittent problems too. I have been taking improv classes every week for a year. I credit this with keeping my mind working and being in the here and now. I had been losing touch with the outside world spending all my time driving and having an opposite schedule. The management of CIA improv has only put me in one show. I did well but have not been cast again. This has a little or a lot to do with me on my bad days going blank in scenes. It isn't often especially if I arrange my day around when improv happens. When it does happen most of the time it a light brain fog. Other times I just can’t wrap my mind around what is going on in front of me. This is also why I don’t need to be spending a lot of time behind the wheel. 
My medical evaluation was brief. Rather than investigate my complaints and ask more than one question about each he was more interested in the knobby things on my elbows and ankles. Possibly related to gout. I don't have much hope that his report will help my case. 

My psych evaluation was more to the point. The Dr invested too much of our 20 minute interview with double talk designed to ferret out what I really meant than was practical.  It was supposed to be 30 minutes but was cut short because he got there late. Nice. 4 times in that 20 minutes he made it a point to point out that he just files a report and has no control over if my disability is approved. That can’t be good. 
His report will be filed by Monday 10/22, he said, so within 2 or 3 weeks I should get a decision. Odds are against me but I haven't lost hope. The next step is to request an internal review of my case. Keep in mind I have not been interviewed by an actual SS employee yet. I said 8 words to one on the phone once. It’s all been online or through the mail. 
Brass tacks; I ran out of money the end of July. My last ditch effort to get a hypnosis clientele going was a complete bust. That was done on credit cards. 
Andy Simrin’s stepmother Sonia was very ill with cancer. Just 3 weeks ago he said she needs a caretaker 24/7 because of some kind of drain tube that gets clogged. He asked me if I wanted to do it. I probably could have done it. She was a friend of mine and she was my boss at the Sandwich Express when I was 18. I didn't want to watch her die.
My dear friend Laura has suggested virtual call center work you do from home. She even provided a couple of links. I have a PC rigged to use on my back it is old and not doing that well but works. I also have an iMac for standing use. I am concerned about the brain fog coming while trying to learn the product or while on the phone with a client. All they can do is fire me, right? Lying here feeling useless is not helpful. 
I may have a lead on getting my hypnosis business going. Like with improv it is fine if I plan my day around appointments. Even then then the sessions are scripted in advance. "Office Space" is one of my favorite movies but like all the others don't show what hypnosis really is. If the suggestions stop, like in the movie, or get weird in any way you come safely out of trance. With Christmas coming I should be able to scrounge up gigs for the Comedy Hypnosis show. Before I gave in to the idea of being disabled I some shows in the brain fog that were funny but not my best. Now I know to plan. 
There is always crowdfunding to get me through the next few months. I found one that doesn't even charge a fee. 
Fat old guy asking for money to pay for utilities next to a kid with cancer. Hmm.
Anyway my Monthlies are around $1200 or so but I got food stamps so $1000. I got help with the September mortgage. Much Thanks! old friend. I missed the Sept car payment they are already calling wanting 2 payments right F-ing now. Just letting the car go I still need mortgage of $600 plus utilities etc.  
If you can help me get through these next few months or just the next month. I would be most appreciative. 
Brian Parks

Appendix - A rundown of the 4 things that won't leave me alone and that cause me not to be able to work. 

  1. I described it as a dizzy feeling that starts everyday when I get up and last for 4-6 hours, sometimes all day lately. It is worse if I eat or even take my morning pills. I try to ignore it or work around it but end up lying down so the world stops spinning. Kind of like when you drink too much. I was informed that this is called vertigo. I have been telling Drs about it since 2003. Tests and shoulder shrugs is all I’ve gotten. This wasn’t as much of a problem when I went to work 10 hours after I got up. Not sure what work could accommodate this now. 
  2. Sleep Apnea - This sneaky bastard has been dragging me down for 30 years and is at the root of many of these problems. I was not diagnosed until 2003. In 2012 I went from a simple air pressure machine CPAP to what is called a biPAP machine with higher pressures that puff air into you via sophisticated technology. The problem with both of these machines is that while asleep I pull them off. The problem with untreated sleep apnea is risk of stroke, heart attack, chronic oxygen and sleep deprivation and the one I live with every day; no REM sleep = scrambled brains. 
  3. Childhood ADD (or similar) that I do not know if I was diagnosed with then, was diagnosed in 2007 as an adult. This explains alot. Not debilitating as such it is why I didn’t finish college and have a dozen unfinished projects around the house. Adult ADD/HD as they call it along with sleep apnea means short term focus comes and goes. Long term focus is just as spotty. If I can plan my days around when I will be with people I have 3-4 hours of fog free time. The next day is ify. Again not really good for having a job. 
  4. This damned thing with my butt. My gluteal muscles seem to be wasting away. Slowly. This has gotten even less attention from my medical staff than the vertigo thing. All I know for sure is that when I sit, depending on how hard the surface is, within 5-10 minutes the little bit of tissue between my skin and those ischial bones gets squeezed and starts to hurt. An hour of sitting in my limit. They did send me to physical therapy but whatever it is is not in their handbook. Exercise was a little helpful strengthening the surrounding muscles. If I could get them to let me sit on the moist hot packs for 10 minutes was better. 

The problem here is about working. Jobs that involve sitting, like the driving jobs I’ve had for the last 10 years are out. Standing job? Like what? Wal-Mart Greeter? I think they have one.