Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Great News!!!!

Today, I received a letter from SSDI telling me that a favorable decision was returned from the administrative law judge who heard my appeal on February 2nd.

After almost 3 years of living from paycheck to paycheck, my wife working because I could not and living like nomads, this whole nightmare is finally over.

Well, almost. I have to fill out some paperwork at Social Security which will determine how much I'll get a month and how much is owed me retroactively, but the worst is behind us.

My thanks to Becky and Bill, Lisa, Margaret and everyone who visits the blog (well, all except one and he knows who I'm talking about) as well as all my Doper friends for hanging with me throughout this whole thing. It has just about worn me out, going to Doctors' appointments, being tested and being worried about D's health as she worked and I'm glad that I am finally getting the money I've paid in all my working life.



The Animal Rescue Site

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

(My) Life Expectancy As It Relates To Dementia

This is a subject which has occupied my life of late: ever since I found out I have Alzheimer's related dementia.

As you can see from the link (just click on the title line above to read), no one really knows for sure, do they.

Some stats say 4.1 for males and 4.5 for females, depending on life style and prior history of head injuries.

In my case, I have no idea what my life expectancy may be, but you may rest assured I am keeping a close eye on my symptoms and maintaining as active a lifestyle as I can.

If it can be considered "a good thing", barring an accident or a cancer, I have at least some idea of when I may die, so this gives me more than an average ability to be proactive and hope for a cure.

As I mentioned, I do have a fear of dying, but before I began my skydiving, I also had a fear of heights (I once jokingly said that I can't even stand to be this tall), so I am hoping that as time goes by, I will become more accepting and life my life as if I were to die tomorrow (to loosely quote a country song).

Reading, the enclosed article, you will note that folks like us are uninsurable, and since I am no longer working, what I will leave behind is enough to cover my cremation. D and I have been discussing this and various alternatives, so she won't be left penniless when I "had out". One of these alternatives is winning the lottery.

The article is also a good "refresher" on the types of dementia.

That's it for now. Don't forget to click and feed the critters.

The Animal Rescue Site



Thursday, February 10, 2011

Alzheimer's Advocacy Forum 2011

I have been given a great opportunity and honor from my local Alzheimer's Association and my counsellors Suzette and Kathy, and I wanted to tell y'all about it.

It is a chance to be granted a scholarship to attend the Public Policy Forum/Advocacy Action Summit which will be May 15-17 2011 in Washington, DC.

It will be a time to become educated about the issues, learn new skills, network with fellow advocates and take our message directly to members of Congress to fight for our legislative agenda and I am honored to have been chosen to have my name submitted for this event.

If I am chosen to receive the scholarship, I plan not only to participate in all of the above events, but to serve as a "reporter" and write about what I see and experience there. This will also allow me to put to use my journalistic skills which have been "moth-balled" of late.

Quoting from Karen Kauffman's* article, 2010 was a year of optimism for those of us in Alzheimer's Advocacy:

- The historic passage and signing of the National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA).

- The inclusion of younger-onset Alzheimer's disease in the Social Security Administration's compassionate allowance program.

- The first-ever inclusion of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias in the government's Healthy People 2020 report.

- Detection of cognitive impairment included as a mandatory part of the new Medicare annual wellness visits.

- More than 112,000 petition signatures collected through the Alzheimer's Breakthrough Ride urging Congress to make Alzheimer's disease a national priority.

But as Karen says, ".....we still have much work ahead to ensure we build on this momentum to lead our country toward overcoming the Alzheimer crisis."

*Karen is the chairperson of the Alzheimer's Advocacy Forum

So, I am honored to be so well thought of and I am looking forward to being given the chance to make a difference. Guess good things still do happen now and then.



The Animal Rescue Site

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Just Music Today

Nothing to talk about, so I thought I would share with you one of my favorite groups of all time: Goose Creek Symphony. Hope you enjoy the music.......

No charge for the music, but won't you please click to feed the 4-footers?


The Animal Rescue Site

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My SSDI Hearing Was Today: A Synopsis

I had been dreading today ever since I found out last November that my case would be heard before an administrative law judge and that he would make a decision on my disability based on my answers to his questions and my medical records.

Just as a reminder, next month, March the 13th it will have been 2 years since I applied. Time really flies (except when you're waiting to be approved for disability, that is) doesn't it?

So how'd it go?

Very well, I thought. The judge was very professional and courteous. He didn't try to trip me up nor ask me anything other than what was pertinent to my case.

One surprise I didn't expect: Before we went into the courtroom, my lawyer Todd asked me how much pain my degenerative disc disease was causing me.

"Huh?", I said.

"Yeah, Bill. It says right here on your medical record that you have it in C6 and C7. So how much does it hurt - it's kinda important."

Well. I remembered my doctor ordering an MRI about 2 1/2 years ago and when he gave me the results, I thought he told me I had arthritis in my neck. He did not use the term "degenerative disc disease".

So hell, I thought it was going to be chronic and I'd better live with it, take Aleve and whatever else which would make it hurt less. It hurts all the time (it's like a toothache in my neck - worse when it's raining and cold, like right now), but I sure didn't know it had a name other than arthritis.

So anyway, Todd brought it up before the judge and I answered just what I wrote in the above paragraph.

All in all, I came away from there feeling really optimistic and I should know something within 30-60 days. I won't know if any retroactive pay will be given me, but even then, I don't think they'll give me more than one year's worth, though I feel that what all was taken away from me in March of 2009 is worth much more than that. Ce'st La Vie - Ce'st la Guerre, I reckon.

And that's how it went.

Oh! I wanted to add that it seemed important to the judge that I had served honorably in the military and there was one other person there: a gentleman who represents the Social Security Administration's vocational rehab service. His job was to determine if I am competent to do some other kind of work. I think the general consensus was that if I couldn't do the work I was trained for, I wouldn't be able to function in another job.

Thanks for hanging in there with me, y'all!

Don't forget the critters!

The Animal Rescue Site