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!