Ahhh, sweet, sweet reincarnation.
So to start off where have I been?
When I was turned down for disability insurance back in February, things were pretty shitty. It was difficult facing the reality of what it would take to have to prove my disability and feeling (rightly or wrongly) that I was not being believed. It was daunting to figure out where to go from there. It was overwhelming to know how crappy I felt on a daily basis and know that I was unable to contribute to the financial well being of my family, but knowing that we could only tread water for so long.
So Awesome and I went to see a personal injury lawyer to try to appeal my claim. I cannot tell you just how uncomfortable that was and how awful I felt that day. I cried in all sorts of unseemly ways and poor Awesome once again stepped in as my rock. The lawyer agreed to take on my case on three conditions. One was to take down the blog, another was to remove my Facebook profile.
The blog, apparently, showed that I was too functional and lucid for the insurance company’s liking- particularly if I would be sick for longer than the initial 2 year period and had to prove that I was unable to work in any industry or job. Despite the fact that I can sleep the days away which might in itself disqualify me from gainful employment, I have learned to deal with this my whole life. Things suck, but I’ve always had to plough through and not go crazy when I’m tired. It’s my way. The Facebook profile needed to be taken down because anything on there could be used and twisted to the insurance company’s benefit- from “Likes” to comments. If I’m able to browse, I’m able to do some sort of job. Apparently they are good at finding even the most secure of profiles, which doesn’t seem to far fetched. Despite that I believe very strongly that nothing on either could be used to prove anything but the extent of my fatigue, I understood where he was coming from.
So I bawled about the state of my life and, feeling cornered and basically optionless, I took down both. I felt cut off from contact with such a huge part of my support network. Having most of my friends still in Toronto while I was rarely driving out of town, they were ways of staying in the loop on people’s lives, keeping people updated on what was happening with me without the exhausting individual conversations and correspondence and feeling connected in general to the social world when I sometimes barely left the house.
I tried to convince myself that I was doing it because I had nothing to lose. The lawyer only got paid if the claim was successful and told me my only job was to try and get better. We lost nothing if we lost the appeal. Except for condition number three. “Don’t let them photograph you grocery shopping or taking out the garbage.” Uhm, come again? Yes, that meant of course that they would likely have me followed by a private investigator. On one hand it made perfect sense and seemed even reasonable. If I were potentially having to dole out that much money for up to 30 years (I can’t even imagine that I’ll be off for more than a year), I’d want to do everything I could to ensure it wasn’t a hoax too. I get it. On the other hand, it meant I lived with the constant paranoia of being watched. Our main floor is all windows, all close to the street. Would they be watching me in my house? If we were low on food and the energy struck, did that mean I couldn’t even pick up a couple of things for fear they would think the bags I was carrying would demonstrate that I was physically capable? My feet were at that point in constant pain, did I have to walk to make it clear that I was uncomfortable when I did manage to go out to show I wasn’t lying? It sounds crazy, but with everything I had read and was told, didn’t seem far fetched at the time. My worry was not that I was being dishonest, it was that they would try to parade my 4 o’clock trip out to obliterate the fact that I’d slept until 2:30 that day.
This fortunately or not was happening just the week before we were to go on a long ago planned trip to Florida to stay with my in laws. There were supplies to be packed, clothes to be laundered, basic housework to be done so that the house wasn’t a petri-dish by the time we got back. When I wasn’t sleeping or half unconscious on the couch in a daze, I had to be getting ready. The entire time I was going about my week though I was constantly looking for the car following me or the person hiding to take photos of me. I was paranoid that even though I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it through the journey to Florida, that the sheer act of making it through the airport with kids and carry-on would somehow be immortalized and used to show that I was somehow fine enough pick up a regular job again.
We did have a wonderful trip. My in-laws aside from being lovely people who raised a wonderful son are generous, fun and kind-hearted. The kiddies were set up on inflatable beds in their room while awesome and I got to enjoy a bit more sleep in the mornings. Awesome and the folk-in-laws would often take the kids for a morning adventure while I slept even more. The beautiful, white sand beach was steps away and the complex had two pools. Even though the weather was downright chilly a few of the days, we fit in all sorts of adventures including an orange grove festival, scavenger hunt, sunset drumming circle, Yaya’s 5th birthday extravaganza and yes, Awesome and I went on our annual outlet mall shopping expedition. I was never far from a seat the entire time and didn’t do any heavy lifting but as the week went on the darnedest thing happened. I started to feel human again. Whether it was the ocean air, the barefoot “grounding” my sleep doc recommended, the sunshine or just being away with some of my favorite people in life, the last day there I was able to spend 2 1/2 hours in the pool guarding the kids while they learned to (
barely avoid drowning) swim independently and still have enough energy to pack, head to the airport and do airplane kid duty when Awesome was seated across the plane from us.
When I got back, I decided in short order that the paranoia was not worth it. I wasn’t sleeping worrying about my good days being anything other than a good thing. It was March break the week after we got back and I would have to function for the girl and I wanted her to know that it was happy, special time to me. Awesome and I, with the support of my wonderful folks, decided to call off the lawyer having done an economic cost-benefit analysis and knowing it could be a very long time before we saw any financial benefit from the insurance company even if it were successful.
I was feeling quite optimistic about possibly returning to work or at least easing back in after my miraculous improvement in Florida but after a week and a half I was pretty out of it and generally exhausted again. Premature planning, maybe, but still nice to even get a glimpse of a normal life again. The 8 ft snow fort on the neighbours’ front lawn has melted away and my mothers crocuses are starting to peek through the soil- here’s to hoping that the spring brings health anew. I know it’s not as simple as all that because it the big crash started in the summer, but here’s to hoping that it helps!
In the meantime, I’ve been taking my time in restarting the blog. I bought the domain name and set up the site a few weeks ago but haven’t felt the urge to write until now. Because I had to delete the old site entirely, I’m not able to load up all 42 previous entries, but was hoping to pick a few to create a background archive. If you think of any of my old entries you think I should include in that, let me know in the comments below.
In love and gratitude,