Saturday, August 13, 2005

Things is gonna get ugly.... 

Guess I'll mention the good news before I start ranting uncontrollably. Got my medical records from my ENT's office in the mail today, way sooner than I was expecting. They only go back two years, but it's much better than none at all. If Social Security wants the other three years they can request them. What I do have is well-organized and quite descriptive....nothing hand-written or vague. And I learned quite a bit about what the inside of my nose and throat looks like....ewwwww. Let's just say there's plenty of evidence of Sjogren's syndrome. This should help my case quite a bit. My rheumatologist's opinion will get the most weight, but there is more objective evidence of autoimmune disease in the ENT's findings. I'm making copies of the records right now.

So while I'm obviously psyched about that, I got another piece of mail today that is making my blood boil. It's a letter signed by the manager who was supposed to make arrangements for me to get my unpaid vacation time this week. The letter states that if I don't return to work on Friday, I will be terminated! WTF?? If they had intended to do this, couldn't they have said something BEFORE my interview with the long-term disability company since I will be ineligible for benefits if I lose my job?? I've been assured by my union multiple times that this wouldn't happen. It could be either a mistake, a misunderstanding or a bluff on the manager's part, but I don't care. I told the union reps several times that I didn't trust this woman and that I was fairly certain she would try to fire me because she did the same thing to the last person who was on disability. I believe she may be acting alone since I talked to payroll, human resources, two union reps and the department secretary this past week and none of them even hinted this might happen. Of course, it is always possible that some of these people did know (not the union guys, though) and either were too chickenshit to say anything or assumed that I knew already. What a friggin' nightmare.

I will, of course, begin raising hell first thing Monday morning. I want this cleared up before my SSDI appointment on Wednesday so I can focus on filling out the forms properly. I'm calling the president of the union first. I want some sort of guarantee that my long-term disability policy is still enforceable. As far as I know, if I'm terminated, I'm SOL as far as employer benefits go (except COBRA, which is mandated by law). I've paid into the long-term disability insurance policy for years now and am furious to think my employer can just capriciously take that away from me. Why offer a policy if they're just gonna fire you before you can use it? I know it was probably planned that way, their thoughtful way of saying, "Thanks for the ten years of service. Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out."

I know I've said this before, but I'm pissed, so I'm gonna repeat it. When the HELL did it become a crime to get sick?? I busted my ASS trying to work years after I was too ill to perform up to the standards of most occupations. I came to work with migraines, when I was so exhausted I had to sleep in the car all the way to work, when I could barely walk, when I was in so much pain I had to go in the bathroom and cry, when I was so foggy I couldn't spell my own name. I saved ALL my energy for that job. I continued to work for nearly a year after my docs told me I should give it up. I'm not asking for anything I didn't rightfully earn. I just want to be able to keep a roof over my head and to be as healthy as possible.

That's another thing that ticks me off: that I busted my ass for eight years trying to get healthy and now must prove to agencies outside the medical community that I really am sick after all. Why isn't the opinion of my doctors sufficient? Why is it legal for an insurance company to follow me around and video tape me? Why do I stand only a 25 percent chance of my initial SSDI application being approved? Why must I go to court if I am denied? In the words of Richard Nixon, "I AM NOT A CROOK!"

Ok, I've utterly exhausted myself with this rant. I want chocolate, but there's none in the house. Probably just as well.

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