Today I am attending a friend’s wedding. I am hours from home, surrounded by people I barely know. All I want is to make it through today without incident, but I woke up already nauseous and cramping. Please, God… Just this one day, let me be normal…
Washington is a pale girl, very quiet and reluctant to be friendly to anyone except Oregon. She has glasses and a couple books, and isn’t drinking because she’s enjoying a cup of coffee she got from her favorite place on the way here. She loves hiking with her boyfriend and watching indie movies and documentaries on Netflix. She suddenly yells at New Jersey for throwing a napkin on the floor and not in the correct recycling bin.
Then as the day came to a close, I felt a space in my body that wasn’t there before.
got up this morning feeling pretty great. had my protein shake, did some work for the boss, then went out to run some errands. came home to eat lunch, planning on eating then doing my piyo. i had my usual chicken salad and cheese, a couple bites of leftover pulled pork bbq from last night, two saltines, and two pieces of green leaf lettuce. i have been sitting here for the last hour with an upset stomach, which is cramping and making all sorts of bizarre noises. the only thing i can figure is that it was the lettuce, because none of those other things should cause me any problems at all.
come on, body… i just want to go live my life! can’t you just leave me alone?
I had pulled pork with bbq sauce, Colby jack, and green leaf lettuce. My stomach is quivering, my pulse is racing, i’m sweating, and I’m short of breath. What the hell?
i got a call this morning from my lawyer that i had started to think would never come.
I HAVE A DISABILITY HEARING ON SEPTEMBER 10TH!
i’m beside myself. i’m terrified! i’m elated! i can’t wait! i hope it never gets here!
when i initially filed for disability in october 2013 i figured that i was a shoo-in. no question. how could they look at my situation and think it was anything other than “yes”? but months went by and i waited and waited and finally found out that they had been waiting for results from my doctors visits, except i couldn’t go to a doctor because i didn’t have a job, and therefore i had no health insurance, and in virginia i didn’t qualify for medicaid as a single woman with no dependents. they basically determined that since i wasn’t going to a doctor, my condition wasn’t that serious. when i finally realized what they were waiting on and explained the situation to them, they sent me to one of their doctors who didn’t actually get to make a determination of any sort, just tell them what kind of medical conditions i had, and which section of the big book of medical conditions they should be referencing. eventually they determined that even though i couldn’t do the job i had been doing, i could still do A job, and therefore i didn’t qualify for disability.
i filed my first appeal right away. that couldn’t possibly be right, could it? how could they look at my situation and not see the kind of suffering i was going through? how could they not realize the kind of pain i’m in all the time? months later, with no end in sight, i moved to another state and had my appeal transferred there. within a month i had an answer: another No.
by this point i was determined to make this happen one way or another. it had been almost a year since my initial claim. a year that i had been out of work and barely scraping by the pay my bills. a year of pain and sickness and feeling incapable of taking care of myself. august 2014 i filed appeal number two. i got a letter a week or two later saying that it would be 12-18 months to get a hearing before a judge.
a hearing. not just someone in an office somewhere looking at big books and medical records. a hearing. me, my lawyer, my family and friends, standing before a judge telling my story. MY story. ME. flesh and blood, in person, with real tears, looking the judge in the eye and telling them what my daily life is like. explaining to them the constant pain and the terrifying unknown. the fear of eating and the fear of not eating. the constant exhaustion and weakness. the headaches. the nausea. the muscle fatigue. the depression and anxiety. all of it. this is my chance to finally stand up and tell them what they don’t see in the pages.
and the little voice in the back of my head says “this is also your chance to fuck it all up.” this is where i go before a judge, forget everything i meant to say, and have the judge tell me to my face that there’s nothing wrong with me.
SAME GLORIOUS FONT! MORE LEGAL NAME! Comic “Parchment” was mankind’s first genetically-engineered superfont, boasting typographic DNA from
it still makes me sound intolerant. it makes it sound like i made up a condition just so i could be bitchy about the way other people eat. i’m telling you, though, it’s always been like this. i can be tolerant of a lot of things, but the sound of people eating or drinking or chewing… really, the sounds that come out of people’s head-holes just make me cringe. people that talk with too much saliva in their mouth, smacking tongues, teeth clicking… omg i just can’t. i can’t! it makes me want to eat in private because not only do other people annoy the hell out of me when they are eating, i’m terrified of causing the same reaction in other people with my own eating! i know how it sounds when YOU do it, i can only imagine how awful it sounds when _I_ do it! i’m so sorry i have to eat too!