Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Disability, my summer sequel.... 

Ok, maybe the last line of my previous post was a litle harsh. I don't hate EVERYTHING about living in Sioux Falls, just mainly the rheumatologists, the religious fanatics and the hypocrites, heh heh. I do find many good things about living here, and will at some point do a post about that.

But for now, I'm popping in to describe the latest crises that have kept me from blogging regularly. Never mind the unpacking....I haven't even had the time or energy to do any of that for a week and a half. Of course, another major surge of autoimmune fatigue is not helping things.

A few days before my last post, I went to a new dentist for a checkup. This is no big deal for most people, but it is nerve-wracking for a person with Sjogren's syndrome, fibromyalgia and chronic myofascial pain. It is actually quite a challenge to find a dentist who:
a) agrees with me that my tooth decay is from Sjogren's and not from poor dental hygiene
b) doesn't confuse my adrenaline reaction to novacaine with a panic attack (I'm not prone to panic attacks, ever)
and c) will use the utmost care to not aggravate my jaw muscle trigger points.

Anyway, the dentist seemed nice enough, but it was bad luck that I have yet ANOTHER decaying tooth requiring ANOTHER crown (I've already had this tooth filled twice). What's worse, the crown that broke last year no longer lines up with the tooth behind it, which is causing some of the sensitivity and trigger point activity I've been experiencing. AND one of my other crowns was done improperly and may need to be replaced!

The dentist fortunately realizes what an ordeal procedures are for me and is going to try a simple fix first. She is going to make a crown for the decaying tooth that is a bit odd shaped to try and close the enormous gap between that tooth and the broken crown. She'll only replace the other two crowns if I continue to have problems with them; it is possible the pain I'm experiencing in my other teeth is fibromyalgia-related, so fixing the tooth we know is the most likely culprit may get things to settle down (hard to explain, but it actually makes sense to me).

So I get to go in for the first (and I hope only) crown on Tuesday. Expensive sucker, especially since Dan had gum surgery last week and probably needs at least one more in the future. But keeping my teeth would probably be a lot less painful for me than having them pulled and trying to wear dentures in an extremely dry mouth.

I got a most unwelcome piece of mail Thursday from my long-term disability insurance company. I was expecting them to review my claim in August, but no, they want to do it NOW, before I've had a chance to find a competent rheumatologist in Sioux Falls! They sent paperwork requesting info on all current docs and meds.

In a panic, I called my lawyer. He said I didn't have time to find a new doc, that my best bet would be to go back to one in Denver that I already know is supportive. I was really hoping he wouldn't say that as my health insurance won't cover any docs outside of Sioux Falls, but I'm smart enough to know he's right, so I called the office of the rheumatologist that diagnosed me seven years ago and secured the first available appointment, which is June 19.

Unfortunately, plane fare from Sioux Falls to Denver is OUTRAGEOUS! But I haven't any other way to Denver as Dan does not have time off. So I coughed up the dough and am steeling myself to have to come up with several hundred more dollars for the appointment and associated tests.

The good part is that I'll get to see my family and Denver, both of whom I have missed. I can consider this to be my vacation for 2006, 2007 and beyond. Luckily, my dad has offered to let me stay at his place, and I think I can bum rides from family members to/from the doc and the airport, so that should save me some bucks.

Assuming my long-term disability company doesn't cut me off before next month, I should be able to fulfill their requirement of current documentation from a credible medical source. I still expect them to deny me of course, but they'll have less of a case against me with a board-certified reputable rheumatologist vouching for me. I will, however, ask him for a referral to someone closer to Sioux Falls, like Omaha or maybe Minneapolis, because it would be less of a financial strain to see someone there.

So let this serve as notice to my readers in Denver that I will be there from June 17 to June 20. Don't know how many people I'll be up to visiting, but I should at least be able to make some local phone calls. If nothing else, I'll get an opportunity to re-read "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" before the movie comes out in July.

In matters other than medical, it seems Dan and I are hemmorhaging money at present. We had already committed to putting in a backyard fence and Dan's first gum surgery prior to finding out about my need for dental work and the unexpected trip to Denver. Also, the toilet needs to be replaced as it is leaking so much that it is causing flooding downstairs.

I'm hoping that I have budgeted well enough to take care of both the planned and the unplanned expenses. It's still gonna hurt when the long-term disability company cuts me off, though. The amount I was getting each month was enough to cover groceries, utilities, car insurance and gasoline.

Sometimes the best intentions go awry.

Hey there. So sorry to hear you haven't a good doctor nearby. How worrisome, especially when you need to see one ASAP.

(By the way, my Grandma lives in Valley Springs. It's a small world.)

I hope you are able to get everything squared away.
Wow, it IS a small world. Ok, I admit it, I had to look up Valley Springs on a map because I've only been here six months and have the memory of a gnat, heh heh.

Thanks for the supportive posts. I suspect I have a very lengthy fight on my hands.
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