Postscript: Regarding My Health
by Noctir (March 2017)
Often I am asked the dreaded question, "How are you doing?", and the
answer pretty much never changes. Nearly everything is immensely tiring, these days, especially repeating the same information
in each conversation. After writing a previous article, On Living with Pain, I began simply sending the link when asked about my situation, as it was far easier than typing the
whole thing up, every time. However, it has been nearly three years since I wrote that and things have degenerated even further,
so I decided to give somewhat of an update for those who are interested and to explain the lack of regular content for the
Not long after publishing the original article, I was diagnosed with
fibromyalgia, which explained some of the additional pains that I'd been suffering from (not related to the car accidents
or harsh jobs). I was sent to many specialists, all of whom have failed to do anything for me. During this time, I also did
a bit of physical therapy, but the insurance didn't cover much and I had to stop after a very short time.
I then met a doctor that finally seemed to understand what I was going
through and took the time to actually try to find out why I was in so much agony. He was the only person to show any real
interest in helping relieve my pain and restoring some small quality of life back to my existence. He recommended surgery
on my neck to help alleviate the pressure on the nerves that run through my shoulders and down my arms. The surgeon decided
against an operation, saying that it was not worth the risk and that I just had to continue to suffer. No alternatives were
offered. The doctor disagreed with him, and with much that was going on there, but was in no position to do anything about
His colleagues then scheduled a series of injections for my SI joint
and lower back problems. This was in the summer of 2014. These procedures failed, completely, unless the goal was to make
my existence even more unbearable. The injections actually seemed to cause more problems as my sciatic nerves began causing
a great deal of pain in both legs, making it impossible to even sit without being in intense pain. Only afterward did I learn
that this treatment was considered experimental, when I was contacted by the insurance (who initially wanted to reject paying
for it, on this basis). My doctor ended up leaving the pain clinic, insisting that they were not interested in truly helping
people, which says something for how inept their operation was. I went there in hopes of finding some relief for the immense
pain that was ruining my life even more, and ended up walking away with twice as many problems as I had to begin with.
In early 2015, I once again attempted physical therapy, but this treatment
was not helpful and they even managed to aggravate my neck injury. The only very mild relief I was able to come by was when
I began chiropractic therapy, usually three times a week. I've continued with this, on and off, ever since and there has been
no lasting progress. I generally have to get my neck, shoulder and sacrum adjusted, as well as several parts of my back. Sometimes,
it alleviates the pain for a bit, but a lot of the time I leave feeling the same as when I went in. During all of this, I
continued staying with strangers or in motels or sleeping in my car, worsening my condition.
Then came the next chapter in this nightmare, as social security decided
to randomly review my case to see if I still needed their help. Keep in mind that the meager benefits were barely enough to
keep me fed and that, at times, I still had to steal food. Now, here I was, put in a position to have to beg for help... not
for increased assistance, which is what I needed, but simply to grovel in order to maintain the insufficient benefits that
I already had. Their questions seemed simple enough. Was I still suffering from the same problems, mental and physical, as
when they first determined me to be disabled in 2012? Yes. In fact, my health had deteriorated even more. When I initially
applied for disability, I barely had any actual diagnoses on record. Most of the doctors that I had seen were clueless and
only suggested the possibility of carpal tunnel, cubital tunnel and neuropathy. This was in addition to the mental health
issues that, as I later found out, were a significant reason for why I was accepted.
In 2014 alone, I was diagnosed with the aforementioned fibromyalgia along
with the following: complex regional pain syndrome, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, sacroiliitis, cervical disc disorder, cervical
radiculopathy, cervicalgia, chronic pain, acquired pelvis deformity, lumbago, lumbar radiculopathy, other pain disorder related
to psychological factors, paresthesia, piriformis syndrome, sciatica, scoliosis, cervical spondylosis with myelopathy and
spinal subluxation. As well, two separate therapists concurred with the original diagnoses of severe depression, severe anxiety,
PTSD, hypersensitivity and so on. It was explained to me that this review was merely routine and I was assured that, with
all of these documented problems, my case was strong and there was nothing to worry about.
Still, I wanted to be safe and I repeatedly asked my therapist to write
a letter to help explain the severity of my mental state, as well as the negative effects from the worsening pain. She worked
for the clinic that did the damage to my lower back and legs, so when I stopped going to see them (of course, why would I
continue to allow them the chance to experiment on me?), I was discharged and suddenly informed that I was no longer able
to see her. As a result, she was prevented from writing any sort of letter on my behalf, because I was no longer her patient.
social security required me to see their own hand-picked doctor and therapist. The physical exam was a complete joke, as she
did nothing but see if I could raise my arms and turn my head. The mental health evaluation was similarly brief and pointless.
At the same time, knowing that I was being screwed, I tracked down my previous doctor and scheduled an exam. His new clinic
didn't take my insurance and I even had to borrow money so that I could go get a more in-depth evaluation from someone with
prior knowledge of my case. Afterward, I called the social security agent to double check that they received the fax from
his office and yet when the decision was made, his report was conveniently absent. In the end, after dragging the process
out for about six months, they ignored all of the evidence and rejected me. They determined that my health had improved since
2012, despite all of the proof that it had actually worsened, and that was that.
I was then encouraged to seek legal aid and to appeal the decision. I
spent all of 2016 fighting with this, often having to go do things on my own anyway. The lawyers were very little help in
the whole matter. They at least scheduled a very intense psychiatric evaluation that lasted for around six hours, which I
thought would surely shed a good deal of light on things. Once again, this report was ignored. The whole process of degrading
myself and begging for help has been so incredibly stressful, it's caused my mental state to be even worse than it was before,
which as also led to an increase in the amount of physical pain. The very people that were supposed to be helping someone
like me were instead adding to the problems that I was already suffering from. Now, after struggling for around twenty-one
months with this, I have again been notified that my "health has improved" and I am being cut off, once and for all. This
means, the tiny amount of money that I was getting and using for food and to put fuel in my car is no more. The pathetic health
coverage that only allowed me to see the worst doctors, but did at least cover the two medications that I take (the only things
that limit the pain in the slightest bit), will also be terminated. Therefore, I have just been condemned to hunger and increased
pain. Basically, it's a death sentence.
This is where things stand, at the moment. Those that I talk to usually
ask, "what about your family?" The relatives that weren't physically or emotionally abusive were simply cold and distant and
treated me as a stranger. The only caring relative that I have is my grandmother and she is slowly dying and unable to help.
As for friends, I never really had many in my own country, for some reason. Of the two people that I even know in the states,
neither one is remotely in a position to assist me. Most of those that I thought to be friends were spread throughout Europe,
yet most all have proven to be false. My best friend killed himself four years ago. The only one who really tried to be there
for me since then took her own life, last year. I've already barely been hanging on, and things are now going to get increasingly
worse with the lack of food or medication. I, more or less, knew that this was how things would end up. Still, I fought against
it. People come and people go, and upon hearing a bit of my situation they inevitably tell me to "hang in there" and insist
that "things will get better". Yet each time I hear this, all I can think is how much worse things have gotten since the last
time someone echoed these hollow words. Each year has been progressively worse than the one before. Against my own better
judgment, I've continued to battle these same forces that are waging a war against me, alone and unarmed.
I have failed.