I started out 2019 in high style: applying for Social Security Disability Insurance. This is something I’ve thought about for a while, denied, hid from, skirted around, and denied some more. I will type more about this at a later date. I do have issues that impact my ability to work: knee problems and mental health problems. Honestly, the latter are more of debilitating than the inability to walk without a cane. They are also more difficult to prove.
The last time I had my untreated knees looked at was in 2013, when I lived “down South.” I had two severe falls around 2010, and the injuries went untreated due to lack of health insurance. In 2013, at the end of my desk job shift, I stood up, and my right knee collapsed. I just couldn’t walk on it. I crawled up into a wheeled desk chair, and security pushed me out of the building to my car. I could drive. I went to the ER. There I was told “sprain” and got crutches and ibuprofen. I went to an orthopedic doctor the next day. They imaged both knees. Both knees were declared bone on bone. I was asked when I wanted my bilateral knee replacements, and given nothing for pain.
I still have had problems with income and insurance. My kind of good news is that since right now I’m unemployed I qualify for Medicaid (for now, until the GOP gets their way). When I was employed, I had insurance with a high deductible ($2000-$4000), and so I really couldn’t afford to see physicians. Medicaid pays for all of it, and I don’t get hit with a deductible.
I have no idea what I’m doing with filing for SSDI, but I’m filling out forms. I knew they would need to see something more recent than 2013, if those records even still exist. Today I had an appointment with a New England orthopedic doctor. Good news! Well, for disability’s sake: my knees are totally shot. Both of ’em. Woot! I have severe tricompartmental osteoarthritis of both knees. The knee is divided into three compartments. You can have arthritis in one, two, or all of them. Tricompartment is the most severe. I have what is commonly referred to as “bone on bone.”
Yep, I had x-rays taken today, and then immediately went in to review them with the doctor. Because of my background with anatomy and physiology, I can sort of read an x-ray. I was wincing just looking at the images. Um. Yeah. Before he could say anything, and before I thought about it, I said, “Looks like you’re going to diagnose me with really fucked up knees.” Because I’m couth. He started a bit at that, smiled, and said, “Pretty much.” And we continued to discuss specifics. Oh yes, the three compartments. Bone spurs (plural) developing on the inside of the patella (knee cap). Medial sliding. Mmhmm. For extra points, I have a chronic tendonitis of the left lateral foot. That has given me sharp pains for over two years, often more painful than my knees. Just to mix things up.
My knees are too far shot for anything other than surgery. I’m past physical therapy. I’m past steroid injections. Oh, and for a variety of reasons, I’m not a good candidate for surgery. This wasn’t a surprise. Again, I have a fair amount of background knowledge, so I just sighed and nodded a lot.
I am, as he said, in a tough situation.
Needless to say, these fucking knees fucking hurt. For the last two weeks they’ve been particularly sore. My stomach is having issues with the daily ibuprofen. Tylenol alone does nothing, and it scares me because of the liver issues. Real pain medications? Now? With all the political stuff surrounding things like oxycodone? hahahaha Again, he iterated: tough situation.
He wasn’t condescending in those observations. In fact, he seemed quite nice, and I liked him. He has a good reputation in the area. It’s just how it is: tough situation.
How could this possibly be good news? Because for the inquisition the government will put me through to get SSDI, this is nice, hard, proof that I’m a gimp. (Yes, yes, that’s politically incorrect. Well, I’m calling myself that offensive term, not anyone else.) Now I follow up with my GP, and we’re one step closer to declaring me unfit for general life. yay
With the Medicaid I may actually be able to get someone to officially diagnose me as cray-cray, too. Woot. That’s next up on the to-do list today, to see if I can get into a low-income mental health clinic to get a piece of paper that says: depressed and other stuff.
The featured image is not my x-ray, but mine was just as bad. There’s supposed to be space between the bones at the joint.