Sunday, September 17, 2006

Rainy Sunday

One of the things I forgot about Arkansas that is a joy to come back to…rainy days. “The sun shines 360 days/year in Colorado.” Its no BS line. It really does, the few days without rain are in the winter…snow days. There just aren’t any days when it is cloudy and rains all day long. These days are strangely refreshing.

My mood has been pretty good and level since I found out about my SSDI approval. Amazing what a little financial security will do for a wobbly mood. At least I know we can make ends meet now and we are no longer sinking. Someone asked after my last post whether my Social Security Disability was approved on a “mental illness” or a brain damage from ECT” basis. Simple answer: I don’t know. I was told by my caseworker that it has been approved. My back-pay check has come. But my paperwork identifying my approval is yet to arrive. The commenter said that an approval on a brain damage basis would “set precedent and might be helpful to others.” “Bonzer” (a random commenter), back in April, claimed to be the first and only case in which SSDI was approved for someone with brain damage from ECT. So, mine wouldn’t be precedent setting. I’ll let you know when I find out what the findings were. Does that record come automatically?

Mic’s illness/mood continues to be uncertain, but things are in the works for him as well.

Work at the liquor store (which is easier, making $8/hour, now that I know I have some other income behind it) continues to be interesting. Wine snobs, to winos, to grungy hillbillies with no shirt on, to sorority girls. We get the full spectrum. “Bill from the Hood” suggested I keep a journal of liquor store stories and that there would enough anecdotal entries from which to write a book in no time. Not a bad idea.

I’ve begun to look for somewhere in NW Arkansas to play racquetball. Its not as easy as I had hoped it would be. There aren’t many places which have courts and offer some kind of organized play (leagues, challenge courts, ect.) Spoiled by Denver. I’ve found one place, which is a dump and not terribly close to my house, which has three courts and claims to have 25-30 players that play in there. I think I’ll give it a go at trying to put together some way to get 2-3 days/week of play in.

I’ve started looking into Vagus Nerve Stimulation (“VNS”) as a back-up in case I need an adjunct to ECT. For VNS, a little “pacemaker” device is implanted in your left chest and hooked up by wires to your Vagus Nerve (main cerebral highway to your major organs, I think.) The device is programmed externally by your psychiatrist, and it “stimulates” the nerve on a set schedule and for a set time. This is another case of “we don’t know why it works, but it does.” The bad news is that it takes up a year to really begin to show the benefits (according to my ECT doctor who calls to check on me from time to time.) The good news is that there are really no known side effects of the magnitude of ECT. More on this later.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike, the money you make at the liquor store (if you are being paid legally) will reduce your SSDI check. You are only allowed to make a certain amount and it is far less than you will make at $8 per hour full time. Did your lawyer not tell you this?

You may be better off quitting the liquor store job and just living off the SSDI. I used to have a book that described the formula for reducing SSDI by the money you made working, I'm sure you can find a similar book. Contact your local independent living center.

DISABLED means UNABLE TO WORK....DUH! If you can work you are not disabled. Even if it's not being a lawyer.

Perhaps you know this and your family friend is paying you off the books.

9:23 PM  
Blogger DeMental said...

In response to the comment about the money I make at the liquor store...the key is "$8/hour working FULL TIME". I only work about 17 hours per week. UNder SSDI rules, I can make up to $620/month without jeapordizing any of my SSDI money. There is a "trial work program" whcih applies for 9 months if i was making more than $620/month, but that's not important here. My monthly is about $600/month so, not to worry. Thanks for the comment.

9:35 AM  
Anonymous kris m said...

Why do some people have to be such assholes?

9:36 AM  
Blogger DeMental said...

Hey, asshole. I didn't censor your comment about making money while on SSDI. Its right where it should be, related to the post on which you commented. In fact, I wrote a response to your comment explaining that I'm making less than the maximum allowed while drawing SSDI. Know what you are talking about before accusing someone of not "obeying the law."

10:13 AM  

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