Friday, June 25, 2004

Disabled Dryer

Ok, it's been 15 days since the hearing and here's the low-down on what all has taken place.

A couple of days after the hearing things start to sink in somewhat. Here's what will take happen concerning it. In somewhere between now and a couple of month's, we will start receiving disability benefits, which will be so very appreciated! We now have confidence that we will be able to repay debt incurred including the few select people who have helped us. You have been a Godsend! Thank you!

For the last couple of month's our dryer has been trying to die. At first just the faint squeak here ant there, but as time moved on, it became more prevalent and finally on the day of the hearing, screeched a non-stop cry of death...No breaks or subsession..Constant, and so loud it would drive one crazy! This dryer has been a very faithful servant and with a few repairs over the past eleven years has proven to be a good investment. But now, it's time had come and with the assurance of income, it was time to replace this relic.
In comes the new player. This fella is a MayTag IntelliDry. A large capacity (which means all the clothes will be dry). Beulah Gale and I are simple people and prefer to purchase simple tools. She found and chose this dryer for the simple design and how it performed. This beast has proven to be very effective in operation and I am sure will last as long as the last.

hint: if you are going to buy a washer or dryer, or any appliance, spend the few extra $$ and get one that is of some quality...It always pays off in the end through the length and quality of service it will give.

The whole family is so very happy with this unit and I personally am happy to see that all the kids from two to eleven years of age, were just as excited as we two adults. Almost like Christmas day.

What I find so pleasing is the fact that the kids participate in all aspects of the family. As my wife and I became stressed and depressed with scary situations, they followed suit (which I do not like), and when we are excited about something as boring as a dryer, they are right there with us also. I have learned so much about family during this difficult period of time. Through all the ups and downs they are there. We are one unit; a family. While this time has been very humbling to me, I cannot honestly say that I would change any of it as I have been shown so much.

I do love my family!

Moving on...

Ok, now that I have faced and aired my fears and realizations, I can move on with this blob!

Forced to Look in the Mirror of Truth

I have finally gained the courage to post the letter I wrote on the day the hearing was held and decided upon.


Well today turned out to be a very difficult and draining day. Went to sleep around 5 a.m. and was back up at 7. Trying to get ready for the hearing was no fun as I was very nervous. Should Beulah Gale go with or stay at home? Getting the kids ready for childcare (a very rare thing) and changing shirts a half dozen times. The day I have been waiting for over a year had finally arrived, and I am so nervous I can't sit still.

It is a rainy and over cast day...Just like the day I was ran over...

Once the kids are deposited, it is just she and I, as we drive to the big town...Small talk and little tidbits of encouragement from her from time to time. When we finally arrive and find a parking spot, she looks to me and asks, "what will we do if we do not win?" I answer, "I don't know.....We will win..."

We finally make it to the third floor and find where we are to be, the security guard is most pleasant and appreciated for his attitude. Beulah Gale offers more encouragement and I am probably just as nervous as any time one of our children were born (at home). I try to pace, but forget that...The gimped are not very adept at pacing...So I hobble back and forth. The attorney finally arrives and tries to prepare me and I assure him I am ready, while mentally I am just about to flip! The rest of our lives will be decided within the space of an hour, and I am supposed to feel at ease! Where's my faith?

It is finally D-day and 0 hour is here. The guard opens the door and out walks this woman who is mentally tried, and nothing can be found of any hope in her face, just confusion...Did she win or lose? It is evident that she will be waiting for quite awhile as the judge reviews her case and gives his decision at a later date. She is wearing a full back brace and has no answers. How in the world could I expect anything more than she has received? I don't look anywhere near as pitiful as she. Still I pray, "Lord, I need to know today."

The guard takes our evidence and presents it to the judge for review as we all sit outside waiting. Will he decide to just throw the case completely out? Anxiety is soaring to greater heights as we wait. Now I don't want a decision at all! If only I could get the courage to leave....I don't want to face the judgment that would soon come, as it couldn't possibly turn out good. The guard leads us in.

Once settled, the judge is very hospitable, yet I am so intimidated. Where's the tough guy who can get run over and laugh as the EMT's work on him? He is nowhere to be found, and somehow, I seem to escape with him...I am there answering questions about ability to work, degree of pain, education etc., etc., yet, it is as if I am viewing this like a television show. All was going well as I listened to the questions and my answers as a detatched observer, until one question was asked, "How do you feel as a person, a husband, and father? How do you view yourself?" The "me" on the stand starts out just fine, then suddenly "I" the real person am thrown into the witness seat. No more hiding as the detatched person previously there doesn't know the answers! Why did my attorney have to ask this one question? The image of "me" was doing just fine on his own, but now, I would have to address issues that I never knew existed, or rather, refused to realize were there. As I am under oath, there could no longer be any of those "Super Ego, tough guy" answers, as I had hid from for many years, and somehow had even stopped them from invading any conscious realization. How did I feel? As I start to reveal them in a strong stance, my foundation quickly eludes me and I find myself crying like a baby as I have to admit the failure that has been hiding behind the smiles for so long. I was not the strong husband my wife deserves, nor was I the father who ran and played with his children. I did not make time for them as pain has a very greedy and needy price that demands payment. I am not a good provider and how can a man such as I am, be a good role model or adored husband. There it was! Sobbing and barely able to talk, I had to admit to being a total failure in life.

Finally, once I am totally unable to speak anymore, I look around at my wife for help,I was so sorry that once again I had caused her pain as I see her crying also...There could be no help.

After a minute of sobbing and silence, the judge finally interrupts with a swept down voice and says, "I have enough medical evidence and the testimony doesn't need to go any farther, I have made a decision." At this point I know he is going to deny the benefits to someone who just didn't try hard enough at life. He continues, "I am going to write a positive letter of allowance for disability benefits." I try to gather myself, apologize to the judge, and with the assistance of my wife and attorney, leave the room. They are both jubilant and I am just there. On the elevator down to the first floor the attorney says, "I have sit in over a hundred hearings with this judge and this is the first time I have ever seen or heard of him giving a bench decision like this."

On the way home she is so happy, and I am still in shock. We decide to stop at a restaurant/diner, and talk in solitude for a little while. She was so excited that life could now go on, and I was still in shock from the revelations I had to discover and disclose about myself. The gravity of it all had not hit yet. We make it home and the kids are excited as it becomes very evident that all the worry we had been carrying, they had been sharing the load right along with us. It amazed and saddened me to see their faces change into the faces of carefree children as opposed to the stressed countenance of a child having to see how mean the world really can be. What kind of father allows his children to go through this? I don't like the mirror...

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Countdown for the Rest of My Life Has Begun...

Well, my disability hearing is tomorrow (technically today), and all seems to be in place. Haven't been able to script anything (in my mind) as directed by my attorney, but all I can do, has now been done. Have three letters of testimony from people I trust very much. It was very sobering reading how others saw me in light of my disability...quite hard to accept. Anyway, the date is upon me and I truly cannot see a good end for the disability hearing. I have the letters and quite a bit of medical proof for presentation, but it seems like these last few years nothing has ever worked out...dare I believe this might also? At any rate, I just have to have an answer tomorrow, one way or the other, good or bad, just need an answer.....I know this particular judge is notorious for never giving a bench decision, I need to know...Seems like sanity is in the balances and time is quickly running out.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Anyone for a Salt Sandwich?

Today was a good day indeed. Asleep @ 4:30 and not up until 9:00 a.m.

Pain was not too out of control.

Ok, now to the living part. My 6 yr. old daughter has hit the stage in her life where she is feeling entitled/mature, for her understandings. Last night she brought in a toy pig on wheels centered on a serving tray. She announced that the ham she had cooked was perfect! My wife and I both had a slice, and it was just right! Today she decided to get a little creative in serving her 7 & 2 yr. old sisters. For her older sister she served a nice cold glass of salt water (at least two tablespoons in a very small glass), and for her younger sister, she got two slices of bread and covered one with salt and put the other slice on top. This salt sandwich was served to her baby sister. Then she commences to come in and ask for a cup of yogurt for herself as she has already taken care of the others. She was so very proud! Here's the deal with all this. Everyone had just eaten lunch and really didn't need to eat anything, so I told her that she needed to wait for supper, but she insisted she was hungry. I ended up telling her to take the food and drink that her siblings for some reason didn't want. Normally I wouldn't do this but this child is so very wasteful. Will take a bite of something and throw the rest in the trash. I've found an apple, peanut butter sandwich, cookies and on and on, in the trash. So I thought I might allow her to eat and drink that which she had prepared and proclaimed was good. Her poor face when she took that first and only bite...Man! Then when she tried to wash it down with the salt water...I think she might have learned her lesson. She didn't understand why normally I tell her to throw out the bread she wastes for the birds, that this time it had to go in the trash!

Such a caring

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Thanks to some Very Good Friends!

Carolyn, Jim, Susan, and Mike have done so much to help me out. Carolyn your generosity is so very much appreciated. Would have sunk if not for you! Jim, you are the "smith" who has yet to say no! Mike, you just sparkle! And Susan, You are on track and I will never be able to thank you enough.

Thank you all so very much! It is official! My thanks to you four has been made international and if someone ever reads this, then you will all be remembered.

Thank you...

The Rain didn't Stop Us, but the Plain Blue T-shirt Did!

Well, Got my usual four hours of sleep and up and at it! The wife was out early, actually a kiss and see ya later was my alarm.

Kids played out in water this morning, then wife called and told of shareholders meeting and carnival atmosphere where she was assigned, so she came home, picked us all up, and back to the carnival we went! We all had a pretty good spot of fun. There were games for the kids, and samples of various products...Just fun in general. While there it blew up a pretty good storm, so we just went inside and continued on. While inside, the kids made a pretty good defensive line which proved tough to get around (blocking the aisles). There was one fella in particular, like us, was just there checking things out. Nothing very outstanding...Just a normal guy. As he met us, I told the kids to form a single line and the look on his face was the most at ease I have seen in awhile. In the middle of all this "circus" were all kinds of representatives and product ambassadors trying to look their best and most confident. Bending over backwards to play the part and be so inviting, yet this feller in a plain blue t-shirt impressed me the most. His look of satisfaction in life and how he stood aside and bowed to my young daughters...Made a very big impression. Out of it all, it was his sales pitch that I will remember. He probably will never know it, but his simple actions will impact me for quite some time.

Back at home we watched the final in the Lord of the Rings series. Everyone just ate what they could find and had a good kick back night.

The pain was and is quite outstanding right now. Looks like a very long night.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Birthday,Kids not Swimming, and Fibroflares....

Man....Had major fibroflare hit me tonight....really bad....

Just kinda set tone for the rest of the much for a happy birthday!

sleep well if you can....and if you can, catch a few winks for me...

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

It looks like today will just be full of Drive-by-Postings. Get this, I am in the kitchen and hear a hollow phump! Then 8 yr old daughter is screaming..I go in and she's in the floor holding her head crying and the 2 yr. old is totally hidden under a cover...
The baby had whacked the older with a guitar...

More on my next drive-by!
Well, so much for the pool..a few years back, we had purchased one of those inflatable pools for the family, and upon inspection, mice have made a mess of it....holes beyond repair!

Oh, well...I wish my children would learn to develop some patience. The 12 yr old and the 7 yr old are fighting over a bowl of cereal! The box of cereal and the jug of milk are both new! Just seem to be fighting for the sake of the fight itself!

Ok, fight settled and all are settled.

More later...if I survive
Sleep came @ 4 a.m., and ended @ 9....Pretty good amount of sleep! Still it took me almost an hour to be able to get out of bed due to the pain. Wife got all her stuff loaded and is on her way to make her appointed rounds.

Well, it is officially here and I am one year older. Keep thinking back to former days when my dad was alive. Always on this day would come an early morning phone call with "happy birthday" song, and offerings of value and love along with grand wishes. He was such a good Father. I pray that I am be half the father he was. Always had a smile and note of encouragement. To be the man he was...Always there.

Have to go. Kids want to play in the water..

Storms, Mexican Food, and a Birthday to Boot!

Had some pretty bad predictions for tornadoes and hail yesterday, but none of it manifested. This change in weather really affected me in pain though.

Today, we went out and had what we normally know as really good Mexican food, but today, it was as if the cook tripled the salt for every recipe. None of us could finish our meal, and the waiter just shrugged his shoulders when we brought it up. I was very disappointed in the quality.

My nephew has been staying with us a few days, and tonight went home. We had some really awesome philosophical biblical discussions and have figured everything out! Not...I was very happy with his visit. He volunteered to do much of the yard work I can no longer do....Alongside my son, they got things very much under control.

Hey, according to the clock, it is now officially my birthday/month! Good deal! Am feeling a lot like an elderly youth, if that makes any sense. Still waiting for life to work out...I am sure I will be looking back on this and other posts to check where I was in comparison to where I am. Hopefully things will work out.

I am pondering what the attorney instructed me to do. I am told that I need to script out some responses to questions the judge will be asking. I am really no good at that at all. With me, it is like I will either shoot from the hip, or simply not shoot at all. I don't know how to script things out...Literally going through the paces, and I do so much better giving point blank answers to point blank questions.

Anyway, am praying much for deliverance from this situation I have found us in....