Not In Kansas Anymore...

Click your heels, and see if home is where you hang your hat, or somewhere else inside yourself as this simple, postmodern girl takes on L.A.

Friday, February 09, 2007

And we're back to reality.....

1.) At Least It's Not Like It Was In Medieval Times, We Swear - Just Don't Look At the Equipment Tray:

No offense to those of y'all who work in the medical field , but I flat out loathe the dentist. And the thing is, --sigh-- the time is nigh, I'm afraid. I've got a molar in the back that's broken tiny part since this past fall, and I haven't actually BEEN in there for like, ummmmm, 3 1/2 years.

I admit that this is in part, me being a big ol' baby. When I think about the money that went into getting my mouth this Hollywood glam- the orthodontia, the surgery, the veneers- well, it would be sick and sad to let it rot away. ( Not to mention, my dad would probably hunt me down and kill me). But man-oh-man, after having people in and out of my mouth ( don't do anything dirty with that!) for 6 frickin' years, I've developed a bit of a phobia about it. Not to mention since I had jaw surgery, the nerves have kinda regenreated in a funny way and it takes twice the amount of novocaine to get me numb as the average person. Seriously. My old dentist back home said, "Um, technically I've given you past the legal limit here. Is it working yet?" ( Thankfully, it was).

So. I need to WILL myself to go in there. I'm begging people to help me out. Tell me horror stories. Cheerlead. Make up stuff. Or tell me about new and exciting improvements to dentistry like free Valium for the waiting room and fun pictures on the ceiling over the chair......anything.

2.) We're Taking Away Your Money Now So We Can Give It Back Later When You're Suffering More and You REALLY Deserve It:

I don't know how to explain this next thing except to say that anyone who says it's easier to sit around on the sofa and collect a disability check is out of their minds. The procces for qualifying alone will make you insane, and then any attempt by you to oh, I don't know- better your life, rely on them less, get ahead?- is thwarted at every turn. Case in point:

I got a letter last week stating that since I made money last year ( a whopping $1,000 in taxable income), I will be receiving reduced checks. Seems that the months I made money, Social Security considers that an "overpayment" on their part, as I brought in some income that was comparable to what they send. That's THEIR version of the story, mine is " I had to go make money somehow or else I would have not had food or power, as the checks you send are paltry. " Hello! The standard of living for anyone on disability is roughly $12,000 a year if you only survive on checks. Unless you live under a viaduct, that's just not feasible. So I got off my ass and did what I needed to do to get by, as well as I could. It's not ideal, but my philosphy is that there is no free lunch. It's ASSISTANCE, not a FREE RIDE.

Then I get this other letter asking for me to provide details -- which I might add, they already HAVE, since they're ON THE LETTER-- about the jobs I've held, including one I had in 1993! They want to know how many hours I worked and how much money I've made and 9 other kinds of bullshit information that they already HAVE, since I file taxes every year even though I make so little money I don't have to. I don't know what the fuck they want to know, but I have a sneaking suspcicion that they're going to use this information to decrease my payments more on the basis of the aforementioned "balancing out" theory.

The whole thing just burns my biscuit. It's not like I was out there, running a Fortune 500 company, I just had little part time jobs here and there, when I could get them, and as I would like to state for the record, IS LEGAL and ENCOURAGED for disabled citizens. As a matter of fact, California is a "Ticket to Work" State, which allows people in the program to work allotted hours and not be penalized, in an effort to get them on their feet again. I am happy to say that I got an education on disability and graduated at the top of my class because of their policies in place to help me become more viable as contributing member of society. I am happy to comply with any rules or restrictions on work and work regularly when it is possible for me, and have. I am not a slouch, or a leech, and I would greatly prefer to contribute to the overall situation of my life versus collecting checks and doing nothing.

What I am unhappy to discover, however, is the byzantine math formula SSD is using to calculate my allotted time. Someone tried to explain it to me once, and I thought my brain was going to explode. It has something to do with 6 consecutive or non-consecutive months of work over an X year period, and something something $500 or less per 6 month period, blah blah blah.....

To sum up, I have to go visit my social worker, a Mr. Dee. A man I've never met, and is sure to be helpful and cheerful and energetic after working in the LA County Welfare Office day after day. I hate to say it, but at least I speak English. It might be a plus.

One might ask me: Jessica, why don't you just go get a job with benefits and pay your expenses like the rest of us. My answer is this: I would be happy to. Seriously. But the thing is, alot of jobs -- even full time ones-- don't offer benefits at all. When you're in the State system, you get State Aid, which pays for doctor's visits, medications, surgeries, and all the rest. Unlike most hardy people I know, I am screwed without health care ( not that they shouldn't have health care too. Trust me, you don't want to get me started on this issue). No psych care, no access to afforadable meds, and Jessica will be right back on the dole unable to work. Find me a job that is flexible enough to allow me a sick day or two if I fall into a depressive hole or god forbid, the Epstein-Barr flares up, with benefits that covers my psychiatric care without labelling it a "pre-existing condition" and I will BE THERE, working my ASS off. Happily. Because this whole proccess with the damned SSA people is a full time job anyway.

3.) "Try To Rest As Much As You Can", Eat More Seaweed and Other Bizarre Advice:

In the meantime, I've been exhorted to rest alot and drink alot of water and-- yes, really-- eat some seaweed along with more vegetables, rice and fruit. Don't get stressed out, keep things calm, so the virus will go into remission. Additionally, my thyroid has been found to be out of whack so I will have to begin a regimen of dessicated thyroid extract to attempt to balance it. In case you didn't know ( and why would you?) said extract comes from pig glands. Yes, seriously. (I could be radically normal and take the synthetic hormone like Synthroid and the like, but the last time they tried that, I had a fun little trip to Crazytown and frankly, I'd like to avoid it again). So I get the real stuff, along with my seaweed flakes, my Kyogreen ( green barely, spirolinea, and some other shit that tastes like grass clippings), no sweets (!!!), and a love affair with my pillow as often as we can hook up.

When I finally find a homeopath I'm sure he'll be adding to the fun by making me take other, interesting little vials of vile tasting things. It all worked the last time I had EBV, so I go with what I know. But I gotta tell ya, even I admit it's apparent weirdness.

4.) Paying Off My Debt to Society, One Collection Agency At a Time:

In the midst of all this crap of being ill and sleeping alot and trying to get up and around enought to keep things going PLUS fighting with the goverment about whether or not I make too much money somehow, I am trying desperately to pay off some debt. I want to get my credit back into the "At Least It's Not Laughable " Zone, and the only way I can do that is to put my efforts to shelling out what I owe. I have managed to obtain part-time work next week in a floral shop that needs help with Valentine's Day orders. ( Happily, it pays cash under the table!) It's temporary, but it should pay enough to at least help my car be street legal with proper tags again, and MAYBE, just maybe pay off the bank to get my checking account back. (I don't want to say it too loudly, lest it piss off the gods or something). Working like that for a week - because florists around Valentine's are crazy wack busy- will likely put me in bed for a good two or three days after, but to me it would be worth it.
I have also applied for a job that I have been crossing my fingers for so hard the knuckles are going white. It's to be a creative assistant to the Head of Children's Programs at a local Episcopal Church. I almost fell over when I saw it: the chance to use my art skills and my Religion degree all in one place! AND the hours are only 8-10 a week, which in my lame-assed state, I could readily handle. AND it pays $15 an hour. AND the hours are flexible, except on Sundays, when I'm expected to be there from 9-11am. It would be perfect for me- enough money to live on and help pay off debt and still not too much with the EBV problem. Don't know much about them Episcopalians, but hey, I'm open. Dance around, speak in tounges, sacrifice a chicken-- I don't care. Nobody ever called me a conservative, KWIM?

I WANT IT. Send prayers and vibes and blood sacrifices my way, won't ya?


So that's all the news. It's sort of like the snake eating its own tail at this point: I'm sick. I need a job. I need SSD not to yank away the assistance while I'm trying to work and get on my feet. Because I'm sick and I can only work so much. Which in their book still might be too much, so I hope they don't take away my checks. But I need a job. Except I'm sick.....and on and on it goes.

I am holding on to hope this time, though. Nope, it's going to work out this time. Going to figure it out, no matter what happens. Life takes twists and turns but somehow you can end up in the right place. The world turns and the crap phases end and the new beginnings of good come around. That's what I'm working for and counting on.

So, so be it!