In 1972 Judith Viorst published the classic children’s book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. It was a book that was read to both my children, and one that I always enjoyed. If you have children, it is a good one to add to their library.
Thursday I was Alexander. While I may not have had to endure the same problems that he did, it truly was a rotten day. If you are at all familiar with this little batch of blog and my attempts at explaining what is going on in my life, then you know that I have my medical problems, and I have, unfortunately, come to the point where I have filed for disability. This was not a decision that I made lightly, or on a whim, but rather was the result of having struggled for over two years to find employment that I am physically able to do.
While waiting for a hearing on my disability, I have continued to search for work, applying to numerous companies in varied fields. Most of which, due to my educational and professional background, I am not a good fit. Add to the mix the physiological issues that present themselves daily, and you have a match made in hell with regards to finding steady, reasonably paying employment. Thus the filing for disability.
Thursday I had to meet with the attorney that will be representing me at the disability hearing. She was an affable woman, who carried herself with an ease and comfort that exuded a level of professional confidence. Something that I once had when I was working in my field, but seem to have lost in the tangle that is my illness. She and I sat for fifteen or twenty minutes going over the specifics of my problems, and this is where the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day started.
I had been doing fairly well prior to our meeting. I had had a decent morning, any morning where I don’t end up on the shower floor or falling into a wall at home is a decent morning. After getting ready for the day, I had to go to my other attorney’s office to sign papers regarding an accident my daughter was in. Then I headed off to see the disability attorney. I arrived early, as is wont of my habit, and waited in the crowded lobby with the dozen or so other clients. It is amazing to me to see and hear others discuss their problems with complete strangers. It is one thing to talk about your medical problems with a new physician or your attorney, but to foist upon a total stranger the ramifications of your illness or injury is something that I don’t understand. Perhaps some will say I am being hypocritical, seeing as how I write this blog, but no one is forced to read anything that I write. I write mostly to keep what little sanity I have left.
The attorney called my name, thankfully, and we retired to the kitchen area of the office. She asked me a variety of questions, questions that she said would be similar to what the ALJ (Administrative Law Judge) would ask. We got into the onset of my problems, what has or hasn’t changed over the course of the past two years and if there were specific limitations that I was having to endure.
It was during this Q and A that everything started to slide down that slippery slope of neurological complications. My hand started to tremor, my speech became stuttered and I felt an overwhelming feeling of foreboding. This has become common place for me, but usually I am in an environment that is either private, or one where I can take refuge from prying eyes until things settle down or I can escape. That was not the case yesterday. I had to finish the interview no matter what, and that intensified the synaptic misfiring. It wasn’t bad when we were discussing problems like standing, sitting, walking, being able to take care of myself or my household. It was when the topics turned more intimate that I really just wanted to get up and leave.
It is one thing to discuss the intimate details of one’s life with family and close friends, or your therapist and doctor. It is entirely different to discuss them with a person you just met five minutes earlier. The worst part is having the knowledge that I am going to have to share these same details with another total stranger when it comes time for the hearing.
I think, perhaps, one of the major issues I am having is accepting the fact that I can no longer be the “take charge” kind of person that I had grown accustomed to over the course of 50 years. To have to rely on someone else for assistance is not within the norm of my psychological makeup. And, as I have written before, not being able to do what I want when I want is even more difficult. I would like to think that I am coming to accept my limitations, but I know that I would be lying if I said I was.
It will be fantastic, either way the ALJ decides, to have this entire disability thing over. The angst and frustration that I have had to endure during a very long and protracted process is bordering on the unbearable. The hearing is next month, and I hope and pray that all goes well that day. Until then, I will simply keep on trying to keep myself from going up or falling into the wall.