In January of 2011 when I was called in by my supervisor and HR supervisor of “Liberty Medical” to be told I had exhausted every last second of my FMLA time and my job was terminated, I was almost relieved. I knew I was on borrowed time for quite a good while. The rumors had been flying throughout my team about me already. I was late nearly, if not every day. I was given special breaks to walk off sitting for too long. However, I could not walk too long either. I had numerous bouts of IBS sometimes taking me off the phones up to ten times an hour for three hours straight. Once the twenty or so Imodium I swallowed kicked in (only to be followed by horrific constipation a few days later), it sometimes slowed it down….. with 1/2 the day being interrupted by bathroom breaks. To make it worse, I was having frequent asthma attacks and having to be pulled off the phone at a moments notice. Both my main supervisor and co-leader knew the sound of my bellowing cough that meant one thing: I could not breathe. 911 was almost called more times than I can count and honestly likely would have been if I had not been so stubborn…. and embarrassed. There were also a lot of people that got upset…. thinking I got preferred treatment. What they did not know was each and every time I signed off my phone I was OFF the clock. Was it a horrific arrangement for the person doing payroll? Yes. However, for them to keep one of the top cross sellers and ‘most compliments received’ team members… which include a hand written letter by the wife of a Congressman, it was unconventional, but worked. Until I ran out of time. When my Doctor filled out the form for unemployment, after my termination: “Cannot Work”, my quest for my SSD (Disability Benefits) began. In fact it was more than that, she deemed me as “Disabled”. Thus began my journey in what I have known to be the most unfair, ridiculous and frustrating experience of my life: Our Social Security Disability and how it ‘deems’ one disabled is broken, and that is an understatement. Little did I know that 3 1/2 years later and 100 times sicker than I ever was then, I would still be fighting and have pulled both my Congressman and the President of the United States into my battle to get what I have payed into all these years; disability benefits, should I be unable to work.
I am not a freeloader, malingerer or looking for an ‘easy way out’. I simply, cannot work. I wish I could. I loved working. But the simple fact is, I can barely get myself through the day let alone show up for a job each day. I am rarely to never on time for anything. It is the nature of my many beasts also known as Fibromyalgia and my other medical issues. It took typing out my list of “Medical Conditions” to wake me up to how sick I really am. It is 4 pages long; 12 point font typing. No matter how you slice it, I am: DISABLED.
I don’t think people who judge my situation realize, when this is all said and done, I will only be receiving a bit over $600 a month…. along with Medicare. However, that is enough to get us from ‘struggling’ to ‘barely making it’. I do not feel it is ‘owed to me’…. such as a lazy way of not working. I did pay into this system like all people do, however, and it is ‘insurance’ should you become unable to work. I cannot hold any job. I do not see there being any chance of a job opening with my skill sets: ‘some college’ and who will be calling in at least 5-7 days per month, late nearly (if not every) day, need 10 bathroom breaks a day at least 3 hours a day at least two days of the work week, need two 10 minute breaks an hour because I cannot sit too long. Of course I cannot stand for long either (meaning a standing job is out). If someone with a foggy brain who drops 1/2 of everything they pick up with all other of these issues is OK, well bring it on. However, we all know there is nothing out there for someone like me. Nor should there be. No employer should pay someone to be sick on their clock.. Any judge that cannot see I am 100% disabled is not fit to wear the robe he or she has worked to obtain. The first judge that ruled against my case said I could do one job: assemble things. Really? On what planet? I cannot even put a necklace on (Paul has to fasten it), put silverware up without dropping 1/2 of it or go through the day without dropping 50% of everything I pick up. Recently I dropped my new smart phone (free for re-contracting). It shattered and it cost $140.00 to repair.
As most people know my first hearing was denied. Even though I had the backing of ALL my Doctors (gee, you would think they know a thing or two, right?), and an MRI showing my neck is a trainwreck, he said I could assemble. WHAT? Ok, that is like saying a person without arms can cross stitch. I was clumsy before my neck started compressing my spine. Clumsy is not even a word that touches what I am now. I have ruined more eggs (dropping them), had heads of lettuce go rolling across a parking lot and many other like stories. When I say my hands and legs give out, I mean they just give out and I am down on the ground or whatever I am holding is dropped. It is like a hose with a kink and the water pressure stopping or getting cut to nothing.
Because of this mean, horrible man, I am now entering 3 1/2 years of fighting for my disability. Would I rather be working? Hell yeah, I would!!!!! But when I say there is not one single job I can do, I mean that with all I am. Today alone I have had an IBS flare. I feel like I have been sucker punched in the gut. I have ‘gone’ at least 15 times and have taken 20 Imodium. It is miserable and it is my life. When I say my health dictates my life, I am not exaggerating. I am a prisoner to my body. If I am lucky, I get 2-3 hours sleep a night and then crash for about 14 hours from sheer exhaustion. Suicide? I would be lying if I say I have not entertained the notion. However my husband and my Grandbabies keep me going. So the good news is I get my case re heard. The absolutely devastating news…. it is the same judge. No! How can this be? Is this some sick, cruel joke? I am doing everything I can do to make sure a different judge hears this or even asking for a change of venue….. I have NO faith in this man. None. I was totally disabled when he ruled unfavorable. I am in hopeless and so much worse shape now. But he has an ‘issue’ with me and I will NOT be in the 36% again or Paul will collapse from having to work so many jobs to keep us afloat. Roanoke Disability Court, you will make this right and I will fight with all I have to make sure it is set right. I have no faith in you as it is. If I get this guy, you might as well sign unfavorable right then and there as I don’t know what his problem is with me, but it is quite evident.
Almost four years…… I am livid! This is beyond a miscarriage of justice and I am doing my best NOT to handle this in self destructive way. I have some ideas but my gut is in such bad shape, my Blood Pressure was up at the Dr appointment I had this morning and I am a mess. My long and arduous fight for what is right…. my disability…. will not be blown sky high by an unfair judge. They will make this right, after all, I have rights too. So here I go…. lets see if my rights are respected. I will post every few days and post smaller blogs in the days leading up to this. We shall see if I completely lose faith in our legal system or if it is restored. I will know in a few weeks. Until next time, K.