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Hi - I'm new

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Health Insurance Issues
Hi Everyone, my name is Belinda. I don't really know where to begin, nor what topic to put this under, so please bear with me. I am 59 yrs. old, and haven't been able to work since 2005. I am very nervous because I have an appointment with a government othopedic doctor tomorrow. I really don't know what to expect, and I wondered if anyone could please help me?

I was in a head on collision in 1991 where I sustained a concussion, a large cut completely across my forehead and neck injuries. As time went on, I began having severe migraines with auras, and eventually had disc surgery on my cervical spine in '96. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia about this time and took part in a study for botox injections in my neck and head (not face-still have my wrinkles). These seemed to help somewhat, so I've had the injections off and on again (as insurance would allow it) since then. I began having severe neck pain again and was told I needed more areas fused. I now have almost the entire c-spine fused, with steel plates, screws and a basket to hold the cadaver that was bending in place. I'm embarrassed to say I really didn't ask the C numbers? but when I called and asked, the office attendant put something on my record about my 'memory problems'. It is somewhat true, as fibromyalgia has me foggy a lot of the time; however, I really didn't get much info from them other than the next disc under all this apparatus is the L spine? The surgeon did mention at that time that the disc holding this up usually would only be good for a couple of years? That was in 2004.

Recently, I've had such pain in my lower back and left hip, along with the chronic pain and stiffness in my cervical spine. A visit to a regular othopedic doctor said that I had a large curve in my lower back (scoliosis) and it was the cause of my hip and leg/knee pain. He also did an MRI of my cervical spine and said basically my back was a mess. I'm not medical in any way, and now that I have applied for SS benefits, I really don't know how to explain my situations tomorrow morning? I have a lawyer who has sent papers from the appropriate doctors, hopefully he will have readings of the C-fusion and the scoliosis. All of you have numbers, etc. knowing what was done on your spines, and again I'm embarrassed that I didn't ask nor do I really know. I only know I'm in constant pain. My neck is so stiff and achy, I have dystonia in the upper muscles on my chest because of it; I have costochondritis that squeezes my chest? I don't know if that's from the upper or lower back. Then the scoliosis causes pain in my lower back and my hip, knee and leg. I still have migraines from either the cervical fusion or the concussion? fibromyalgia in my muscles plus OA and pain in my joints. My left arm always falls asleep during the night, and my hand hurts so in the day.

I'm really embarrassed about coming here and dumping all of this on you. I only want to know about SS. That is something I said I would never do, as I know many others who are in need of it. BUT, our insurance has gone up so much because of me, it takes my husband's full pension and then some, he works to make enough for us to live on. If I could at least get help with medical insurance, I wouldn't feel like such a burden on him. He is four years older than me, and I don't want him to have to work so hard for 7 more years, just to pay for my insurance and medications. Can anyone help me with some advice or suggestions? I worked as a secretary with a computer/phone and before that retail. I can no longer sit, stand, or get comfortable very long, I just cannot work. I never dreamed I'd get to this place. Thank you so much, Belinda


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Hi Belinda

    Welcome to the site, I am so sorry to hear you have had so many problems since 1991. You will get so much support from everyone on this site. Look forward to reading your posts in the future.


    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • :H im the same as you hun im not at all medicaly minded and if and when they can tell me wots wrong i will be right back on here looking it up! :))(

    im in the uk so i cant help with your ss , but i do think you could edit what you have writeb aove and take it with you and at the first question hand it over :) ...........hope it all gos better than you think it will jan xxx :*
  • :H Wow, thank you so Liz and Mrs. Jan. I didn't expect such a warm response and such cute smileys :) They are certainly cheerful. Thanks for the welcome, and the advice. It may take me a bit to learn my way around this site, but I think I'm going to love it, and I'm so happy I happened upon it?? (don't ask me how :/ as I'm not too computer friendly. I do have three sons who are all in the computer industry, and they usually have to fix my 'ooopsies'.

    I will write a list of what I have here; will it be bad if I cannot give him the numbers of the discs involved? Does anyone think I even have a chance at this? I truly don't know what else to do. I think I'm going to find some good friends here. >:D< Belinda
  • I'm sorry, I just finally found where "I" was on the board. Maybe the doctor's staff is right, my memory is foggy. I hope to be able to get around this board better soon; please don't think its the set-up, that's great. Its just me. I have so many conditions that i couldn't figure out how to find where I would land. :/ I was able to read where others have tried for disability and some of you have received it. I hope the economy now isn't going to keep me from getting it.

    Please, I know I sound desparate...I think because I am, but does anyone know what I can expect with the government doctor appt. tomorrow? I'm so nervous about it. I understand from the letter that he will not be able to give me any information, but he will do a check-up and if any tests are needed, they will order and pay for them. I have another bad headache, neckache, and lower back hurts, but in spite of 11 meds. I still have chronic pain. The letter said to bring all the medicines in their bottles (gee I feel like I have a small pharmacy). :S PLEASE if anyone has any feedback before early tomorrow morning, I would really appreciate any answers. I hope all of you are feeling the best you can. Forgive my anxiety. Thanks.
  • There is a person here that worked in the SS office for may years and I know that she will help you. Her name is jeauxbert. Try sending her a PM and I am sure that she will be glad to give you info. Good luck to you and please keep us posted.
  • do not be nervous about this just be yourself. I went for a medical review with SS last year and was very nervous also. Do not try and exagerate (sp) any of your symptoms because they are trained to look for this. Just be honest and I am sure that you will do just fine.
  • with the time dif im not sure if you have been or are still to go ! @)
  • Welcome,

    I have a SS appointment with orthopedic doctor coming up May 21. SS told me to take my meds and the appointment would last about an hour. The only other thing they would tell me was not to ask for referrals or a diagnosis from this doctor. He is only allowed to give an evaluation. I will be very interested in your experience and what the doctor actually does.

    When I have researched and asked this question on another site the response was:

    Be honest in answering all questions, don't exaggerate.
    Take all of your medications even if they are for another condition.
    If the doctor does a range of movement evaluation be sure to let the doctor know at what point it starts to hurt, even if you have full range of movement or if pain starts next day.
    Let the doctor know about depression and anxiety issues and stressors in your life.

    I wish you luck in getting a doctor that you can relate to. Please update us and let us know how you did. :)

    Take care of you
  • Hi,

    Thanks for all the thoughts and input. Oriah, I don't know what else to tell you, for all you've heard is correct. I had to bring all my meds in the original bottles (all 11 of them :$ ) He gave me a seemingly well rehearsed speech about he doesn't give any treatment, input, nor answers and was only there to evaluate. We uhh, didn't have too great a start; he wears hearing aids and I'm soft spoken (plus my neck fusion limits my throat, voice) SO finally he made me pull my chair next to him and talk into his ear!! He had me then do the 'physical exam' which was basically an orthopedic/neurological exam, where he tested how I could walk on a straight line barefoot...I was pretty clumsy, but I did try my best. Also the usual strength in arms, legs, hands, and had me kneel as far as I could go and told me NOT to hold onto anything getting up...I'm so used to doing so, I did, and he wasn't pleased. ~X( He probably wrote something like 'this lady can't follow directions'.

    I prayed before I went and prayed for him while he was doing the exam; I only smiled unless I had to answer a question, for he grew pretty aggravated if we had to repeat something. I KNOW he's not the final judge; I wish I could read what was written about me tho. I will warn you to never say 'frequently, sometimes, etc' he scolded me for saying that; you are to give exact time or minutes. I wasn't nervous, in the end I figure that its out of my hands now. I hope that I can get it, or at least somehow get some assistance with medical treatment. Make sure your current doctors have sent your records to their office. And I really hope you get someone who isn't so intimidating. I hope this man's bark is worse than his bite? I wonder how long it will be now before I hear anything more? I think the hearing should be next? #:S

    I hope I didn't do 'everything' wrong; I was honest, myself, and allowed him to judge my 'spinal issues' himself. I was truly amazed at the waiting room when I left, it was so crowded some were standing. Try to make your's early in the morning. And remember - there's always Hope :-)
  • mine did not go well last year and it actually had. You are entitled to a copy of his report. Did you fill out a form ahead of time that asked if you wanted a copy sent to your doc? I did and also requested that I be sent a copy and I was. Good luck.
  • Belinda,

    Thank you so much for giving me the details of your evaluation. I'm sure you did fine. :)

    Your doctor should get a copy of this evaluation.

    I'm on the first stage of the application review for SS. I was told by one of the SS claims representatives that it would approximately be 6-8 weeks after this evaluation before I hear anything. I live in Las Vegas and rumor has it they are speeding up SS claim reviews. The backlog of claims are being referred to out of state administration offices. I hope you live in a state that is handling claims a little more smoothly. LOL

    It sounds like you are getting very close to being approved. Think positive and take care of you.

  • well bloody done ! >:D< , we can only be "us" if it dosent go well you can always say you want a second opinion as the first doc was incompedent! /:) HOPE YOU DONT HAVE TO WAIT TO LONG HUN sorry shouting there ! :))( >:D<
  • :))( Mrs. Jan, You gave me a good laugh there. Poor man, I could understand his hearing problems, but his attitude?
    JJ Grey, I didn't fill anything out to get a copy? wow, either I didn't see it, or?? but is there still some way I can get it? Oriah, do you think my doctor will still get a copy of this report if I didn't fill out the form? :? Hopefully he put this down to 'another foggy moment'...altho I certainly don't want memory issues beyond 'fog' of fibro. BTW, He seemed to TELL me in a way without words that he was one who didn't believe in fibromyalgia. Maybe I read more into than I should, but he inferred he was not a rheumotologist, nor was he talking or evaluating fibro? Maybe I am wrong :/

    I thank you for your feedback; without finding this forum before I went I would have been so nervous and truly intimidated by this doctor. :) Thanks so much for all your help. I hope each of you are feeling better and those who are awaiting SS DO get it. Oriah, is it good they are speeding up 'claims'? I live in Missouri, and I don't know where they stand. I really wondered about the economy and if it would affect current claims?

    I'm thinking positive and holding onto hope :)
  • Belinda,

    I think someone told me MO is one of the states that were so backlogged they are sending those claims to CA. My claim was sent to Utah. (This is coming from a third party, so don't quote me, LOL)

    You can call the main SS# 1-800-772-1213 for the status of your claim, usually they say its still under medical review. You can also request a copy of that evaluation to mailed to you or your doctor. Of course they will not give you any information over the phone. LOL

    Try to relax now, you have done everything you can and will be approved soon.

    Take care
  • if i make ya laf i have my job ! ;) hope ya not to bad today :*

    dont know wots worse waiting for the apointments or wating for the results! @)
  • I am sooooo happy to FIND this blog again....and on top of it all, I have a message from Jeauxbert. I appreciated her response, altho I hadn't read it till today when I found the site again. I misplaced the name of this site and have been so busy with my sick Dad being in and out of the hospital, BUT I wanted to tell you that just this past week I got a call from my lawyer and a copy of the letter he sent to the judge. I am praying...that it means what I think...but I don't want to jump to conclusions. I am repeating much of what I wrote to jeaubert in a PM, but wanted to share it with all of you who encouraged me, and also to see if any of you could 'interpret' it?

    What the lawyer said was the SS doc said I couldn't work at all anymore and the judge agreed!!! I think so far so good. But the judge told my lawyer he wasn't willing to go back to my last work date, which was '05. He said they would consider the date of the MRI determining the severity of scoliosis, which was May of '08. The lawyer called me for the 'green light' to negotiate, asking if I'd be willing to settle for that without having to appear before the judge? I am still in shock and didn't even ask what this truly meant? what benefits I would be eligible for? etc. Does this sound as promising to you?

    I'm 59, and have a HS education, only worked around my kids scedules in earlier years, retail, school help, etc. However, in about '99 I got a secretary/receptionist/12 phone line in a busy non-profit office. I would come home so exhausted and hurting I would usually go straight to bed; I quit in spring of '05, BUT I stated my reasoning as the fusion of my C spine in '96 then repair and more fusion/hardware in '04. I also have fibromyalgia, migraines from my neck pain. I was aware of the scoliosis but as a child they didn't do anything and it started bothering me the past few years. Its now so painful, and my left hip is pulling in where the 'C' in the L spine is, hip pain radiating down my left leg, knee, leg muscles, etc.

    We were in a head on collison in '91 and I've had chronic pain since, head injury, neck injury. The letter from my lawyer to the judge states that the SS doctor also determined the following:

    MRI in 5/08 showed levoscoliosis; degenerative disc disease, facet changes at multiple levels, prominent left-sided protrusions at L2-L3 and L3-L4 as well as L4-L5. The MRI of the cervical spine showed postoperative changes consistant with an anterior decompression and fusion with significant metallic suseptibility artifact in the portion of the C-spine. Wow...that's a mouthful and I don't understand any of it, except I hurt everywhere.

    IF you could tell me what I would be eligible IF the judge agrees, I would be so thankful. Some people tell me I wouldn't be able to get any medical coverage for two years? Also, I have left the filing to my husband for the past 5 or 6 yrs, and I cannot find anything...they are here somewhere...thankful he does take care of the bills and is a pack rat..but the only thing I can find is a SS paper from '05 saying I would get $298. if I retired then?

    I hope I didn't overload you; thank you for ANY help...hugs to all...Belinda
  • Welcome back! And it sounds like you will be getting great news very soon! <:P
  • Hi Whyme,

    Thanks so for the vote of confidence; just afraid to hope and then have them say no again. I really need the money - going to the doctors as minimally as possible but I have to see a rheumotogist for the fibromyalgia (take many meds for it--dxed with it in 1991, so its chronic, and he won't refill the meds unless I go) but I really need to get back to the spine doctor. I have tylenol 3, darvacette, and hydracodone for pain, but all of them end up giving me a rebound headache...so, I take them sparingly. By 8 at night, I'm ready for bed because I can take my zanaflex and finally have my muscles esp in my spine - relax.

    The spinal doctor doesn't think surgery would be a very good option for my scoliosis, it is so tangled and would involve MUCH -- so he suggested nerve block shots or whatever a pain doctor would give? I've not been able to afford her, but my rheumy will give trigger point injections for fibro, my neurologist gives me injections every 3 months in my cervical area where its completely fused for I've now developed dystonia in that area. So - I really would like to see if I could get any relief from all this pain. Can't even sit too long. Sorry for complaining--its just I've had chronic pain for so long. Depression finally comes, and I'm on meds for that too.

    Anyway, you made my day !! Thanks much O:)
  • Well, the lawyer called and said the judge had returned his call and said he reviewed the SS doc's evaluation....HE was the one who told them I couldn't work !!! I was so afraid of him and of going, etc. but all of you were so right. When you go, just be honest. I see now that they know exactly what they are looking for. The man I was most afraid of was really on my side !!!

    I do not know anything more than that, they are still negotiating the back pay date, but I'm so relieved I cried, then laughed, then cried again 8}
    Does anyone know how soon I can now expect to hear anything else?

    I wish the best for each of you who still have to go thru the process. This was my second try so don't give up. >:D< Belinda

    PS Thank each of you for your info and encouragement :)
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