Disability Hearing Over – Now The Wait
I’ve been trying these last few days to come up with any kind of description that would fit my current fight with the government and I honestly can’t think of anything other than depressing, frustrating, anxiety-inducing and just generally a kick in the gut. I am hoping, probably against hope that I am nearing the end of this journey so I can attempt to start living my new life as a migraineur but we shall see.
The hearing was Wednesday and it was as expected – lots of questions, lots of speculation. It started off talking about my work history, moved to my condition and what makes me unable to work, questions from the judge, questions from my attorney, questions from the vocational doctor. My migraine began shortly after the vocational doctor would need almost ten minutes to figure out what I did when I worked at the railroad. While it was a very technical and detail oriented job, attempting to explain what we did to a lay person can be an experience and I will freely admit that it tried my patience to the limit but I knew it needed to be done so I carefully worked with him until he was able to understand.
The demoralization would begin when the vocational doctor began his part of the testimony, which is basically pick apart your work history and come up with four hypothetical jobs that he believes that you can still perform. In my instance, he came up with 1. school bus driver, 2. office assistant/aide, 3. D.O.T. inspector and 4. assembly line worker – in my opinion the worst of the worst for a migraine sufferer. It was then that my attorney stepped in and began disproving his suggestions – I can’t handle fluorescent lighting – that eliminates all four jobs. I can’t handle harsh chemical odors, that eliminates 1, 3, 4 and since I cannot handle perfume or cologne, that also eliminates 2. I have a major fall history – that eliminates all four. I can’t handle weight over seven pounds – eliminates all four.
He could have stopped there, but my attorney would continue for the better part of ten minutes and I did my best to stay with him even though the pounding in my head was causing extreme ringing in my ears and I could barely make out a word he said. He went over medication side effects and what made the vocational doctor stop was when he approached sick time. In the state of Missouri, a full-time employee is allowed two days a month to call in sick without threat of losing the job, something that’s actually accrued much like vacation time – you have to be at your place of employment for a year before those ‘sick days’ can start, this was something I did not know and learned when my attorney was speaking. Given that my average is 3 migraines on a good week and 5 on a bad week and given that the extremely severe ones usually lands me being flown to Springfield for a suspected stroke and given that my recovery time can last anywhere from 18 to 48 hours after an attack, there’s no way that I would be able to retain a job for long. It was then that my attorney stopped his questioning and asked the judge to consider that I be disabled.
It sounds like a win in my favor but that’s not how it goes sadly, though it should be. In truth, everything that we spoke about at the hearing was nothing more than evidence for the judge to look over and consider, he can still render a decision that I can work – either because there is lack of evidence or he feels that my condition isn’t enough to disable me. Should that happen, my law firm will stay the distance with me – we will appeal and another hearing will be scheduled. I will find out the judge’s ruling as early as next month or as far into the future as June.
My migraine would not be one of the really bad ones, the moment I stepped out of the room and was able to get some fresh air, I started feeling better. Big sis and I went to have breakfast, by the time I finished eating and got back to the hotel room I only needed a couple of Excedrin Migraine and a very deep nap. But, the migraine happened and the judge and vocational doctor was able to see how much I struggle.
I know I may be waiting for a very long time for the decision but I want this to be over. I can’t really concentrate on my health if I constantly have this looming over my head so I’m being cautiously optimistic that my new year will start with a positive outcome from the hearing. So until I get the ruling, I’ll be sitting on pins and needles.