My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My Doctor Visit - Answered Prayers

It has been a week. What a week it's been. Dog sittin' is hard work, especially when they're old dogs and they can't climb stairs any better than you can. I had to go to where they were. And stay. And when I wasn't with them, Austin was.

My kid, bless his heart, stayed up all night with the dogs Monday night. He stayed up while I went to the doctor Tuesday morning and then couldn't sleep when I got back. He went back up there again Tuesday night like a trooper and slept a few hours on the couch. He even handled the vacuuming. I know he's no Rhodes Scholar but God love him, he really does help me a lot. I couldn't have made it through the past few days without him.

Lily the dog has bouts with incontinence. She's did great except for last night... puddles everywhere. We followed her around with a towel and scrubbed the carpet in more spots than I care to think about. I went through three pairs of socks. My pant legs were dragging in it. It was nasty.

I made a pound cake yesterday afternoon. It still feels like a bit of a magic trick, mixing up stuff and POOF... it's cake! I tried to make lemon poppyseed but I didn't have enough lemon zest so it's more like almond poppyseed. Then I decided it would be nice to have a glaze and my glaze ended up too thick. It's more like sweet cement. Tastes good.

Yesterday morning on the way to the doctor I prayed that God would provide some encouragement for me there. I'm not sure if you can tell from the tone of my posts but I've been pretty bummed out since my attorney dropped me and the functional capacity evaluation came back as it did. It made me feel like nobody gets it. I really needed to get some sort of validation for the cost of my office visit.

So I get there and ... that stupid drug test they make me take at every visit? They didn't make me take it. I don't know if it was intentional and I sure didn't ask. Saved me $50. I didn't even finish filling out the two page form I have to do every time and you know what? I didn't mention that either.

When Matt came in (Matt's the PA - I pretty much only see him except for I'm supposed to see the main doctor at least once a year. I never saw him this year) I told him that I was feeling really discouraged and frustrated. I told him that the attorney dumped me because they felt that my records didn't have enough documentation for my case to be approved. I told him I was discouraged that my medical records didn't reflect how disabling my pain has been. I told him that I felt like I either wasn't articulating accurately or I wasn't being heard and that the evaluation only made it worse. Here's what he said:

It's tough to get a disability approval if you are educated or trained in a profession that doesn't involve physical labor. They always assume you can either be retrained - whereas, if you're swinging a hammer all day, once your body goes, they think you can't do something like a desk job because you would have been doing that in the first place. It's one instance where being smart and/or being educated counts against you.

Companies that specialize in disability want to only deal with the slam dunks. That doesn't mean I can't be approved, just that it will take more work. It also puts them in a position that their percentage of approval could go down if my case isn't approved. He thinks that's why they dropped me.

He felt like my evaluation was really good because it validates a lot of the symptoms that I list in my claim. It also says many times that I made a good effort to complete every task. It showed that I wasn't playing up anything, and having that legitimacy goes a long way. The evaluation is only the musculo-skeletal piece of the puzzle. What my doctors will do is attach a statement to the evaluation that takes their findings and expounds it to explain the cumulative nature of my problems... so what I could do one day, I wouldn't be able to repeat on a second or third day and in no way could I do these things five days a week. It will also show how my other diagnosis (things like my lung issue, the interstitial cystitis, etc) that I have in addition to the back pain essentially make me unemployable. And that's what they'll say.

I had felt like the doctor's opinion would be based solely on the evaluation and whatever it said was final. He said that they needed to show that we had done recent tests and had an independent assessment but my doctors know that I'm not able to work. Not part-time, not light duty, not anything. There are too many things wrong. My back might be ok one day but my hip or the fibromyalgia flare up. Or the fibro might be under control and my back gets out of whack. They know that there's no way I can have five solid good days in a row hardly ever. They always encouraged me to work as long as I could and they weren't surprised when I reached the point where I couldn't. They expected that all along.

And he gave me the name of an attorney they work with frequently. So I'll call them... get my records sent over... and be back on track, I hope. To be honest. It's been since yesterday when I left their office and I still haven't called the attorney. I'm so afraid they're going to say they can't help me and I think at that point I might just lose hope.

So, all of that was exactly what I needed to hear. I'm so grateful that Dr. Matt understood what I needed and was willing to provide it. Plus drugs. Without a drug screen. It was the best appointment I've ever had with them and I truly believe that was an answered prayer.

Throughout this process - gosh, for that matter, throughout all of the difficulties I've faced in my lifetime - I've seen a very clear way that God has been able to use my struggles to grow me and to help me better relate to others who are struggling in different areas. It's softened my heart and made me a more compassionate person, I believe.

It actually struck me while I was driving to the doctor that I've always stressed over whether God "could" or whether God "would" do what I had asked for but I finally realized yesterday that so many people who feel hopeless actually wonder if God IS. It's one thing to struggle with what he can do but to not have confidence that He exists would... I don't even know where you turn. Health can fail you... wealth can disappear... our government is so unstable right now, especially in the area of health care... there is so much uncertainty in the world. I need to be able to believe that there is God up there watching over me and directing my path, even when I feel disconnected and discouraged.

I'm grateful for the struggle if in the end it helps someone - anyone - see how well God takes care of us. I'm so unworthy. Things go bad but He always intercedes and I believe that His intercession on Tuesday was because I specifically asked for help and maybe... just maybe... that's where I've been going wrong. Or maybe, that first attorney was never going to be the right one to be able to handle things and God provided this season of "regroup" to get things in order before my case goes to a judge. Or maybe God is going to heal me and I'll be able to go back to work. I don't know. I just know that this was a good reminder to me that even though I feel disconnected in most relationships in my life, my relationship with him needs to remain strong.

I got more challenging news today. Austin never recertified for his food stamps last month. He had such a long window of time to do it. He knew he had to - it was just a phone call - and he didn't. That means that we lose half our food money for this month and I'm out of the extra money that I've been using to buy food when the food stamps run out every month. It means we have to stretch $75 in food money through the next 12 days. Our pantry is fairly packed. We can do it. It's just that ONE MORE THING, one more frustrating, totally avoidable issue to raise my blood pressure and make me lay awake at night doing mental budget math. Honestly, I've been through so many Christmases where we had to struggle. It wouldn't be Christmas if I wasn't broke.

Anyways. Getting sleepy. Sorry that I've been slackin' on pictures this week. I'll do better tomorrow. Happy Wednesday. Love and hugs, y'all!