Or, not yet anyway…
Part of the challenge of dealing with COPD is a lack of oxygen. Lack of oxygen leads to exhaustion. Lack of oxygen leads to gaps in thinking. The only solution is plenty of rest, and planning ahead to avoid over-extending myself when the failure of my body to process oxygen as originally designed leaves me physically and mentally exhausted.
Oxygen deprivation / mental exhaustion is treated by rest.
Mental exhaustion driven by COPD is not a permanent condition, consistently predictable at every hour of the day.
It’s the good days / bad days juxtaposition that is causing the most agita within the insurance community.
Part of the challenge of dealing with my employer for the fight for survival benefits that I have paid into and worked to earn over this past 42 years is the fact that I don’t have 42 years worth of employers arbitrating my benefits earned over 42 years of payments, but rather I am dealing with the last employer to be holding the “hot potato” that is my earned benefit package. The hardest challenge to fight has been the fact that the insurance company / my current employer have strongly implied that I am nothing more than a trained monkey, and need to be kept busy through the reward of hard work, and don’t deserve benefits because I am not “incapacitated”. Or, not incapacitated ENOUGH.
My employer’s insurance agency seems to feel that incapacity = not being able to enjoy life, drive a car, travel or otherwise leave my bed / couch / chair or house.
Apparently, being able to plan ahead to deal with physical and mental weakness = fakery. Fraud.
So, it’s been very challenging to get dribs and drabs of paperwork describing what happens next after they agree that I am disabled / incapacitated. So far, I have received 32 pages of paperwork describing how they calculated the $32k in benefits paid out to me. I call this regurgitation of crap “disability math” or “new math”:
There’s lots more pages of paperwork they are sending over, too, but that pile of gobbledygook doesn’t have a single dollar attached to it, and contains nothing but page after page of threats about fraud, constant audits, and what disasters will befall me in the event that I am able to work and fail to report back to them that I am ready and able to hold down a job.
In particular, I find it ominous that it’s taken me 18+ months of fighting their denials to get the past-due benefits owed to me, and yet the paperwork received contains a threat of future denial of benefits and some sort of claw back due to fraud. As if anyone in their right mind would WANT to give up a decent paying job and independence to be nagged to death and challenged about personal health choices at every turn:
I am not aware of anyone in this world reversing COPD and finding a cure. (If they are out there, please speak up. I want my life back).
I am not aware of any cure associated with avoiding disability-related depression by working at finding joy in life, or traveling, or driving a car (on my good days). Such activities clearly have no way of becoming something that is able to cure COPD. Apparently, though, my efforts to remain upbeat despite my challenges is causing my employer’s insurance company to believe otherwise.
Having dealt with denials of pre-existing conditions for my entire work life when it comes to paying out benefits that I’ve paid into, I am well versed in the lengths insurance companies will go to for profiteering over paying out its obligations.
But, having been put on Federal Disability – a pretty high standard and tough hurdle to cross – plus, having been a menace to others when trying to keep up a “normal” work schedule – I find it absolutely aggravating / depressing / maddening to continue to receive reams and reams of paperwork that talk about what disability means, and how it changes over time to not be as debilitating as originally thought.
If I didn’t have a mental health issue before starting this journey, I think I would reasonably acquire one over time after reading pages and pages of this crap.
All of this baggage, however, then brings up my final issue… the belief that I can think myself well. The soul-destroying thought that something within me is driving me to self-sabotage by ruining my life via a “convenient” disease / birth defect. That little voice in the back of your head which sows seeds of doubt and has your brain on a whirlwind of unproductive “shoulda / woulda / coulda” thoughts about how I’m at fault for not being well. Not being good enough.
I’ve already been through this with my brother’s brain cancer, and I know he was a good enough person with no self-defeating thoughts to give himself brain cancer and thus end his life way too young. But, I saw what the “happy thoughts” belief system did to bring him grief, and to make his efforts to live and stay in this world the hardest battle he ever fought. Big Bro was an athlete, in superb physical condition. If anyone could have found a cure through happy thoughts, prayer warriors and positive thinking, it would have been him.
Folks, I am not a Christian Scientist, and I don’t believe that the world revolves around any belief system contained between my two ears. I have a birth defect which was / is a physical problem that fluctuates between good days and bad days, and which worsens over time. This is a condition which has worsened despite multiple surgeries and related medications to keep me functional enough to pass for normal.
At what point will the insurance company accept that I’m as good as I’m going to get, am still declining a little bit more each day, month and year, and just leave me the breathing room to be thankful I’m not dead yet???
Would they rather pay out benefits to people who I killed because I thought I could believe in myself hard enough to deny the reality and repercussions for continuing to live in denial of my worsening health??? Three+ car accidents is enough of a real life example that it’s time to accept one’s limits when dealing with oxygen deprivation and exhaustion while trying to keep up and pass for normal.
No answers here, but this gives you an idea of the garbage that’s still in the back of my brain as I try and figure out how to keep as healthy and independent as I can DESPITE finally making some progress on this benefits issue with the powers-that-be.