If you have time, say a prayer for me. Tomorrow morning at 9:30 A.M. I have to go to a doctor that Social Security uses to help determine disability benefits eligibility. My arthritis has progressed to the point where I can only stand for about 5 minutes at a time. The window cleaning business is quickly becoming a thing of the past. I’m down to working 2 hours per day, 3 days per week with it. My osteoarthritis is degenerative and has gotten MUCH worse this past year. (My X-rays show how it’s progressed, but I have to see this doctor anyway for some reason.) It’s still confined to my back at this point. My dad had to take early retirement for the same condition. His spread to his hips and knees very quickly. He needed to have them all replaced but settled for just the one hip that was hurting the worst. I’m praying that doesn’t happen to me! The more I stand on my feet and especially climb a ladder and reach up with a pole etc., the more damage it’s doing to the pads between my discs. I need to get out of this job before it’s down to bone on bone. Disability doesn’t pay much, but I’ll make about $10K with my book formatting business this year, and that’s just about the max amount I can make and draw disability at the same time. With the two together I can just make it. I’m hoping that within a few years I can go full-time with the new business, but in the meantime I need some help!
Several people have told me that hardly anyone gets approved for disability the first time they apply. In fact, a lady told me just the other day that her brother was denied the first time, and he had terminal cancer! I can only guess they figured his hadn’t progressed to the point where he couldn’t work anymore yet. If I get approved the first time through, I believe I can start drawing benefits in February, 2016. That will be just about perfect for me. Also, my medical care through the VA has been pretty bad overall. If I’m on disability, I should be able to get on Medicare Part B, and I think that will be a whole lot better. I can stay in the VA health care system and be on Medicare at the same time, so I don’t need the Part D drug coverage because the VA will pay for all drug costs.
I believe this is the best thing for me at this time. I don’t want to be one of those people who milk the system though. I hope to be on my own again in 2 to 3 years. . . well, unless my arthritis progresses to the point where I can’t even sit down without pain. Also, I need to get dieting seriously right now, and being away from my window business is the best way to do that. I lost a ton of weight back around 1990 when I was laid off from Kroger for nearly a year. I just went to the track every day and made losing weight my job! It was easy to keep focused on the goal when that was all I had to do. If I can get really skinny again, most, of not all, of the pain in my back may disappear altogether. At least for a few years. The arthritis may worsen to the point where no matter how skinny I get, it won’t help. But it may buy me several pain free years, maybe even until retirement. And it’s possible my arthritis will crawl to a stop at some point and never get much worse. That’s what I’m praying for. I hope that within the next two years I’ll have my life back. I’m only 56. I should have a lot of life left in me if I just have time to heal up!