Wednesday, February 4, 2009

It's Just A Stack Of Papers But ...

I can think of a lot to post about - what with all the Republican shenanigans and the inability of people with money to pay their taxes correctly - and Wells Fargo almost got away with having an executive retreat in Vegas - and Micheal Phelps isn't allowed to make a mistake - oh the list goes on and on ...

But somewhere through the middle of any post I write I just drift away. My research isn't as good as I strive for, I start to sound whiny or mean spirited - or both.

It has become (literally) painfully apparent that I can't work the way I always have. I stopped the second job at the "big ass retail giant" when I tore the tendons fully expecting to go back. When the Doctor told me the tendons were part of a larger problem I nodded a lot but never really let it sink in. I always move forward, I always work, I always take care of everything.

During the whole first cast, second cast, giant boot phase I plodded along - schlep, drag, go down to the basement office on my ample butt. I developed ingenious ways of carrying things and moving heavy stacks of paperwork on to my desk.

Starting a couple of years ago it became necessary to work a second job; sky rocketing insurance costs coupled with devoted clients going out of business or being gobbled up by offshore companies put a real dent in revenue. I didn't mind the second jobs - working from home can be isolating and I am a social creature.

Unfortunately second jobs with flexible schedules are usually in the retail sector and that means lots of time on my feet. And my feet appear to fail me now.

So I started looking for a full time job - charming economy to be doing it in but I was hopeful and I got positive feedback from all the agencies I signed up with. I have a solid set of skills, I score high on all the tests, I have experience. Trouble was that larger problem the Doctor mentioned back in September was not going to be ignored.

I bought the most un-orthopedic looking pair of sensible shoes I could find. I was lucky in that my good interview suit has long wide legs and they disguised the days when the foot dragged. I practiced getting around without the cane. It may be illegal to discriminate against older workers and disabled workers but it is also reality. Before the ankle injury I was often told I was "over qualified" which is HR speak for old. Imagine clunking in there on a cane! It's not fair that this is a nano second first impression sound bite world - but it is.

On one interview the exuberant interviewer wanted to take me on a tour of the offices. There were winding spirial staircases everywhere! She ran up and down them in her 3 inch heels while I bit a hole into my lower lip trying to keep up. When I got home from that interview my ankle was swollen outside the shoe and I couldn't straighten up. There's a good chance the other tendons are tearing. And the whole tilting to my right to take pressure off is probably tearing the already torn muscles around my hip - that's from a previous "this is a chronic problem" that I willed myself to overcome. I can't be sure what's happening since I lost my health insurance as of December 1 and haven't been back to the doctor since.

I dated this career military guy who used to tell his soldiers that he wished they had my stamina and determination. "She eats bullets for breakfast and spits out the casings" he said. And to a very, very large degree that is who I am - to others and more importantly to myself.

So the disability package came yesterday. It weighs a ton and has pages and pages of instructions and a mile long list of required documentation. I opened it, stared at it and then threw it across the room. Stupid childish move - I just have to go pick it all up.

I feel like I'm free falling through space while paralyzed ...

My photography is keeping me sane - through the lens I can still compose scenes that come out the way I want them too. I'm so glad I started the photo blog.

I am going to try to start the forms today. That's the best I can promise myself.

I'll let you know how it's going.


Lisa said...

Dangit. Shame we don't live a bit closer. For some strange reason, I'm good at the the tedious, monotonous crap that is govt form filling, reading, researching... well usually I am, and I always am for other people.

I'm so sorry you're dealing with all this, especially being somewhat immobile. It just makes everything else that much harder.


Jeni said...

I'm assuming you are referring to "disability papers" as per Social Security? If so, prepare yourself for what is usually a long haul, one often made more difficult by the agency itself. A royal pain in the ASS! The good thing is that if you do get it, it will date back to the date your "issues" were documented as beginning. It took me approximately 18 months. Thankfully, my daughter and son-in-law were already here, living with me, paying the mortgage and other household expenses of I would have ended up homeless, unemployed and also, unemployable too! If I can help you in anyway, other than just providing moral support, you know how to reach me, don't you? But buck up kid, fill out all the pain in the butt papers, get them filed according to their picky deadlines too! And when they deny your claim initially, do not hesitate to file an appeal -like that same day!
Peace, kiddo -peace!

kenju said...

I'm sorry, Dianne, and I hope you don't have to get an attorney to help with that. Down here, they are always running TV ads for helping people get their SS disability benefits - since it is next to impossible to get them without legal help. I hope you have an easier time of it.

Mrs. C said...

I wish there were some way to give people the help they need and still let them do the work they can, when they can.

I don't know what to say. I know we may face some sort of struggle on these lines later with my autistic children. There's that whole "can but can't" thing going on, too. Yep, you "can" do this one day but really CAN'T another.

So hard for people to understand!!


bobbie said...

I can't offer you much but empathy, Dianne. Sure wish I could. It can be so demoralizing, dealing with this sort of thing, and when you're hurting it seems even harder. I know, and you know, you CAN do it. But right now you probably don't feel as if you can, and resent the fact that you have to. I'm looking at some papers right now that I feel that way about. Maybe we can commiserate together.

Sleepypete said...

Aye - injuries can be tough. My left knee doesn't like me because of how I ended up compensating for when my right knee decided it wanted me limping.

I'm not sure if it would work for other people but I keep myself moving by telling myself that I won't be able to keep up with the pretty girls if I limp and feel sorry for myself :-)

I'm fairly resigned to not bowling again but will hopefully get in at least one game of cricket this year. That's the thing - figure out the limits, promise the doctors you're going to stick to them and then push those limits as much as you can get away with :-)

PS Why is it that the "no substitute for experience" gets ignored when it comes to jobs ? You'd think experience would be a plus, when most people only seem to stick around for a couple of years anyway.

aims said...

I am on a disability pension. It isn't much but it pays the mortgage and it pays the house insurance. The Man pays for everything else. Thank you!

However - when we were in New Orleans we seriously looked at buying a house there. We would desperately love to move there - but - there is that huge medical problem etc. etc. that is like a mountain in front of us (me) - not to mention how hard it is for Canadians to move and live and work in the US.

The fact that this is life for you? That just takes my breath away.

I'm with the others in the end Dianne. Do the paperwork - carefully. And fight for yourself!

Daryl said...

I would like the IRS to take a look at some people 'on the other side of the aisle' and at old Gasbags Limbaugh as well .. I am sure there are a lot things to find wrong .. far more wrong than Daschle's bad ...

And how I wish I had some really good answer or way to help you ... so I am sending HUGS ... not quite what you need but I hope it helps to know how much admiration I have for you.

Dianne said...

lisa - thanks - and hugs to you too. I've been told that chronic pain contributes to depression and I think that's part of what's going on - I guess awareness helps

jeni - I too have my son and DIL here and that does help a lot. Unfortunately it is also causing some major league tension - they're not adjusting well to me not being on top of everything.
I have a private disability policy - I started it when I became self-employed. I've been told I must file with them first and then benefits are examined from there - i.e., medical -

kenju - they run the same ads up here. I am hoping it doesn't come to that

mrs c - hugs to you and the kids :)
I have pushing so hard for so long that I fear I have caused more damage and in the end will be no where with nothing. It is very scary. And you're right - the system is not built to treat people as individuals.

bobbie - emapthy is an important and valuable thing to give - thanks!!
can't and resent are big words in my head right now

pete - I don't know if chasing pretty girls can motivate me ;)
Experience and loyalty and service have all but disappeared from the American corporate culture - I watched it disappear all throught the 80s and 90s - I had a front row seat - and then deregulated greed took hold when the village idiot became President
and here we are

Dianne said...

aims - it's so hard for Americans to move and live and work in the US too - lol - trust me it is
You hit on something - fighting for myself has never been something I was comfortable doing so I never developed the skill very well
Maybe I should make believe I'm someone else and take care of her - I might just be nuts enough to pull that off

daryl - it helps a lot, thanks
and of course I agree about the other side of the aisle - they've always been a pack of self-righteous asshats. Judging Clinton while they abuse interns and hang around bathrooms, all the Halliburton and Blackwater deals - Lord the list reaches the moon and back. And the Big Fat Liar Limbaugh is a freakin' junkie who can't even bother to get his meds legally - there's a moral compass.
I'm just so annoyed with O's picks - with all he has to contend with if he offered me a job I'd tell him about every breath I ever took. Then again - the system is so absurd it leaves no room for decent human error and then the media takes hold

Reb said...

Dianne, I think you are allowed to have at least one temper tantrum before filling out the nasty-assed forms.

Good luck filling them out - take your time and everything will work out well.

P.s. Loved Saturday's post.

Kay said...

I hate the word disabled... i hate what it means, i hate what it "means"

I too am looking for work and while my issue isn't age and a cane, I have a few things that I have to hide as well.

Bah, I hear your pain even if I don't share it outright.

Happy thoughts.


Anndi said...

Love ya, mama... mucho!


Sparkling Red said...

Dianne, I have a friend that reminds me of you. She's a single woman in her 50's, raised her son on her own, and was always full of vitality and totally independant, despite chronic back pain. Then last fall she injured her back to the point where she became completely disabled. It took her many months to get her long-term-disability insurance claim approved, and along the way she was always afraid that they would deny her. But she got there in the end, and says she is actually enjoying her new lifestyle, which she jokingly refers to as being a member of the "idle rich". She's hardly rich, but she does get to take life at her own pace and enjoy the small pleasures. I hope her story encourages you.

Jay said...

Filling out gov't forms is the biggest pain in the ass in the world. They make it that way on purpose. They want people to get frustrated and give up.

And they try to make it almost impossible to go through the whole process without having to get a lawyer.

Jackie said...

*gives thanks yet again for our National Health Service*

Hugs. I think chucking the forms across the room was the best start you could make. Hope the picking up isn't too much of a pain.

Deborah Godin said...

Well, if some virtual arm-around-the-shoulder e-sympathy helps, you got it! Hope all works out with the paper work, too; hang in there!

Cherie said...

I'm so sorry, Dianne! I sure hope that you guilted your minions into helping you pick up those papers. Tell them you stumbled. It was an accident. ;)

Sending big hugs to you. I know that with your "evil corporation" experience, you'll be able to run rings (figuratively) around that bureaucratic paperwork, and I'm sure that your documentation will be impeccable.

Pagan Sphinx said...

Shit! Shit! Shit! This economy is shit. I'm so angry that I have friends (you and CR, as examples) who have no health insurance!!!! I could scream!

We need national health care, not something modeled after what we have here in Mass - mandatory health insurance. When CR lost his health insurance, I had to pick up the two girls on mine, which he's struggling to help me with, while looking for minimal health coverage that cost a f-ing fortune!!! His employer is supposed to provide it but says he can't because his company is out of state. This is what the Obama team is looking at doing nationally. It makes no sense.

I'm glad that you're going for the disability. You need it. You've earned it through hard work. It sucks but it's what it's there for. If I were in your shoes (unintended), I would do the same.

You know, I've been in denial about it but I'm beginning to realize subtle differences in the way I'm treated in the work place because of my gray hair. Can't wait to get even older. Ugh.

Sending you lots of love and hugs and let me know if there is anything I can do. Can you email me your mailing address?

Ron said...

Please just know that I'm always sharing much "good energy" with you, dear lady.

And know that you are always loved!



Travis said...

It's a tough transition. I wish I had some advice for you. I've been dealing with chronic pain for a lot of years, and I know there is a moment looming when I start to break down more rapidly, and don't recover as well as I do now.

Of course that's not all that well either, but at least it's recovery and I have more good days than not.

Take the paperwork one page at a time. And hang in there.

Linda Reeder said...

Hearing of your troubles, I don't think I'll be complaining about anything for at least a week!
I'm very sorry to hear of your condition.
I loved your list of topics at the beginning of your post. I was trying to come up with something to write about last night, but all this stuff was just a jumble. where to start. So I didn't.
But don't you quit. Do the paperwork, and keep blogging to us. We need you.

Anonymous said...

Oh woman, don't I feel ya? We are kindred spirits and going through the same kind of crap. I finally filled out those fucking demoralizing, intrusive papers. I got my so-called "first" denial in December. Then I resisted the whole "disabled" thing for awhile again until I fucked up and let the appeal period pass. Now I have to start over. I have yet to find the will. Hang in there and come over to Thornesworld and scream as loud as you want. The desert wind will carry your screams away and the sun and the silence will soothe your spirit

Dianne said...

reb - I'm so glad you liked Sat's post! I had such fun stealing all of Jay's pics - his disguise as his own Christmas tree was my finest moment. I'm going to keep hanging on to the happy

kay - hugs to you too :)
and I know what you mean by "means" - way too many labels in this freaking world

anndi - love you too sweet girl :)

sparkling - it does encourage me, thanks. your friend sounds like my kindred soul

jay - isn't that so fucked up! what happened to for the people? rhetorical question ;)

jackie - well if you listen to some of our asshats leaders - and a lot of the jerks who voted for them national health is wrong.
I'm trying to stay honest so I'll tell ya - as of right now 11PM I haven't picked them up yet.

deborah - it helps - it helps - thanks :)

cherie - I have no minions any longer - business got so bad I laid them off, that's how I ended up losing health insurance - didn't qualify as a group and couldn't afford individ
but I do have minions in my head so I'll have them get on it :)

Dianne said...

pagan - I don't understand why so many other countries can do health care properly and we can't - no wait - of course I do - greedy, powerful health and pharma lobbys - and O's plan is not good enough - it still kills me when people criticize him for being too liberal - he's so fucking moderate!!
You fly your gray hair proudly Lady!! I'll come there and beat them with my cane :)

ron - I love you too :)
I felt the hug - all the way up the turnpike ;)

travis - you described it so perfectly - the bouncing back takes longer yet doesn't last as long
I'm sorry you're in pain - it really pulls you down
hugs buddy

linda r - it's all relative, we all have our stuff - I've been meaning to ask how your son is doing, I think of him often
thanks linda - I'll keep on :)

thornesworld - oh crap! I ddn't realize you were going thru that!! I'm sorry.
what a pair we are hehehehehehe
maybe we should ride out into the desert together

Cherie said...

Well, I was actually referring to the other people who live in your house, but I'm sorry about the paid minions too. :(

SnoopMurph said...

Hey friend-wish I could give you a big hug and help you wade through the paperwork.

Maybe I can toss some good news your way?? Heading out East this year....I'll keep you posted. :)

Dianne said...

cherie - lolololololol
those two!! Oy! that's a whole 'nother story
let's just say they don't handle adversity very well

snoop - we'll be waiting for you!! and thanks for the hug

the walking man said...

Relax kiddo, grab some java juice and fill out the fucking forms. Soon enough having filled out the forms will either be the best of things that happens or the beginning of an arduous road.

Either way the grit and bear it days are over with, I think that the years of doing that are worthwhile, did it myself for ten of 'em. But on the other hand seeing as how there is an end to endurance you now have to travel a different path.

It all shakes and settles out in the end (no not the rear end) but you have to take the steps and jump through the required hoops correctly for them to come to the undeniable reality that you do in fact qualify for the disbursement paid for in that policy.

And tell the kids to get a grip, it will all work out and you'll be back on top of things in just a bit.

Bond said...

Dianne: I feel for you dear. Having been married to someone with chronic pain and disc problems I know the agony and the subtle discrimination when looking for a job.

As an "over-qualified" applicant -- again read older - I was out of work for two years...

I pray it all works out for you. In other societies they cherish the mature we discard sucks

Micky-T said...

My My My You seem to be in a bit of a fix. I'm way big time, wishing you to win your battle. And something tells will.
I feel for you with all the forms.

Shelly said...

If anyone has the tenacity to tackle that paperwork it's you my dear, fill it out, send it off and give the ***hat paper-pushers the opportunity to earn their keep.

gabrielle said...

My heart goes out to you, Diane. I am sorry for all the tsuras (pain and frustration) you are experiencing. I wish there was something substantive I could do to help.

So let me get this straight. You covered your bases. You did everything right. You’ve worked your ass off, (at times for the evil empire which relies on PT labor so that their employees will have to rely on social programs such as Medicaid which they disavow) You have diligently been paying a private disability program to be there for you just in case of an eventuality such as this. And now that you are down you have to grovel for them to come through with the service you purchased. The process is meant to be demoralizing, to erode your confidence and stamina and thus to weed out the faint of heart. Which you are not!!!!

What strikes me after reading all the comments, is just how many of us after having productive careers in the personal and professional spheres, find ourselves struggling to maintain our dignity and pay our mortgages.
Self reliance is overrated. It is particularly not realistic as we age when we need each other more than ever and we have so much to give. In an individualistic and youth oriented society, we suddenly find ourselves displaced. It is hard to gracefully accept age related losses when the gifts we have acquired along the way are not valued.

But you! You have so much to give. Forget the 3” pumps on the spiral stairway (which probably were a contributing factor to your current physical woes), Imagine writing in your pj’s in the company of Mia and Siren. I know that I for one would welcome more of your amazing stories.

Hold that thought and in the meantime fill out the sucky forms. Do whatever it takes to get through the bureaucratic maze.

Obama is under too many constraints from powerful interests to recommend any definitive changes in the health care system. Please take a moment to pressure congress to consider HR 676, the bill introduced by Representative Conyers for single payer health care. I know it’s a long shot…but the American College of Physicians and 342 union organizations in 48 states have endorsed it. And with the economy imploding, pressure will be building to provide basic health coverage to those who daily join the ranks of the unemployed and uninsured. Strength in numbers!!!

Diane, know that we are behind you all the way. If I can help in any way, please let me know.

holly said...

i actually had a friend *here* (in wales) say 'don't vote for obama, he's going to bring the national health service to america!'

i'm sorry, why don't you want affordable health care in my country?

'because i'ts rubbish - you always have to wait for it'

so i said to her "OH THE HORROR. you're right. i should totally let my mom keep working 10 years after her retirement because she can't afford her insurance after having cancer. you are so right, that is awesome. there's a word for you, and it rhymes with 'flumbass'"

actually i'm such a liar. i didn't say it.

but i thought it.

really loudly.

my *point* is : i wish you didn't have to go through this.

Maithri said...

Heres the part where I wish you were closer so i could come and visit... bring you a funny dvd and some flowers...

Ah well, 'in spirit' will have to do i guess..

And speaking of spirit...

"Eats bullets for breakfast and spits out the castings"... yeah that sounds like the indomitable spirit i know as Dianne...

There aint nothing gonna keep her down,

Believe it world!

Much love, M

Dianne said...

mark - I would pay anything (if I had anything) for you to come here and tell the kids to get a grip!! Oh it would be wonderful
thanks kiddo

bond - thanks for understanding Vin - and for the kind wishes

micky - you're a good guy, thanks

shelly - would you believe they have a help line for questions. you call it, it rings, then you get hold music, then it hangs up on you
I e-mailed - let's see where that goes
thanks for the vote for confidence

gabrielle - thank you for always taking the time to give so much in each comment
I get Conyers newsletter so I have already called my reps. hehehehe - we're a pair aren't we

holly - I bet your loud thoughts gave that asshat a headache ;)
thanks sweetie

maithri - how lovely that would be!! and I would cook you Italian food and we could watch the Daily Show
hugs sweet doctor
and thank you

Jeff B said...

Wish I had a magic wand to wave over your situation. Be well dear friend

Anonymous said...

Priorities are priorities Dianne. The political bullshit we all write about will still be here. The important thing for you is to literally get back on your feet and healthy. So, get to it and show us your stamina!

Anonymous said...

Oh bugger! I hate form filling and those sound like BIG TIME forms. We're dealing with immigration forms, but we are not in pain and even then it is a major pain, so I feel for you. One page at a time is good advice, tantrum every 10 and do it for the soon-to-be grandma who is going to dote on soon-to-be first grandchild! That's good motivation no?

Love and hugs friend.

Ivanhoe said...

Hang in there and get back to that paperwork. It's important so you get some money & insurance.

Raven said...

Oh, the insanity of communicating with the government. You have my sympathies and my best wishes. They will ask you for everything from blood to your birth certificate to the name of your first grade teacher to something equally irrelevant. In my case, they lost it all the first time I sent it. They did admit to having received it at least.

I know how hard it is to take this step but I'm glad you are doing it. You have worked very hard for your whole life and you need the help... and you deserve it.

Bob-kat said...

I would have thrown the forms too. It would have made me feel better despite having to pick the darn things up. Just tackle them one page at a time and get the insurance/help you need.

Also with a bit of luck that woman with the 3 inch heels might break one off on her spiral staircase ;)

Sylvia K said...

I had some blogs drop off my list for some weird reason, so I'm late getting here. It is one of the shitty things about getting older during shitty times. So, yell, throw things, cuss and know that we're all here for you/with you.
Love and hugs.

tt said...

That about sums it up I think.
You're a tenacious hussy! Keep looking for the shiney-red-and-yellow stuffs....keep looking forward....just keep on keeping on babe.
Hang on a minute....Ok...I'm back....I just poured us a bigassglass of your favorite adult beverage.....Cheers!!!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I missed this post, my dear...Sorry...I haven't been visiting blogs as much as I was---my own problens have been taking over and, know....
I am so sorry to read of all your troubles with getting around. I empathize and understand, my dear...That is part of my difficulty, too...And I find that being in pain so much of the time is Very Very Tiring....So, I "FEEL" for you, and the dilemma of needing to work, etc.

I went on disabulity many years ago for a time because my health issues kept me from working. It was a True Boon, in every way. I know that filling out of all the frigging paper-work is a horrific drag...And I know you WILL get to it...But I sure do understand the frustration of it all....
I was just talking to my Gardener today about some of my physical problems and not being able to get down in the garden below anymore....We sometimes do take our Good Health for granted and then when things change it is a very difficult adjustment in every way...!
My heart goes out to you, dear dear Dianne.....And I send you Big Hugs...(((((((hugs))))))), they may not take the problems away, but maybe they will ease the stress of it all for just a minute...

fermicat said...

Hang in there, and good luck navigating all the red tape.

CG said...

Sometimes ,life is just so unfair and so crappy. I can't think of anything profound to say - just want to come over, give you a hug, make us both a coffee and help you fill in those forms!

Smalltown RN said...

Funny that I should read your post on this today as i did a post on insurance coverage or the lack there of....

I was going to apply for insurance benefits which I have on a loan. I filled in all the necessary paperwork had my doctor do his thing...and lo and behold they come back with another package of information they want from me and my's crap....all I wanted was them to cover this months and maybe next months loan payment...not even to pay it out....I don't think it will happen...I am anticipating being back at work by next month assuming the specialist gives me the go ahead...

I detest insurance companies...I am sorry that your foot didn't heal and that you are faced with this....take your time as you review the miles of documents...they will try anything to not have to pay best of luck....and yes you are a strong person and I am sure you won't let this keep you down....