The past week has been full of legal matters for me. Anxiety filled, physically ill, stressful court appearances!
Last week, after 18 months and 2 denials from Social Security, I finally appeared before a judge for my disability appeal hearing. For anyone with anxiety problems- I suggest taking an extra pill before going to one of these! The judge had me in tears and a panic attack or two! The hearing lasted twice as long as I had been told it would, but in the end, not even the end really- he cut short a lot of what was supposed to take place- I was approved! Come to find out the reason I had been denied twice and the hearing was taking so long, was that my medical records from the neurologist I have seen for over 25 years, had been misplaced! They lost half my file and couldn't see evidence that I truly had epilepsy! He finally found them and realized there was no need to go any further, and approved me on the spot.
The government now officially recognizes that I am disabled. I'm really not sure yet how I feel about this. I'm glad one one hand, I will be able to have an income and help support my family... without the nightmare of of battling finding a job and having to quit due to my health problems and going thru job after job. But on the other hand, I have been such a workaholic for my entire life! The idea that this is real, and I won't be returning to the workforce, is a bit depressing. People may say I'm using the system, but those people haven't seen how bad my health situation really has gotten. People may say they are now supporting me with their tax dollars, I won't be getting medicare (altho I am eligible, I prefer to keep the insurance I have thru Troy's employer), I won't be getting food stamps, just disability income. And I worked my ass off for a long time and paid my taxes. As a single mother I worked 2 jobs and rarely saw my daughter because I wanted her to see what a strong, independent woman was! I earned this. My health has suffered from my love of working, and now it's my turn. I hate the idea of Troy having to support me and care for me the rest of my life~ altho I know he will because he loves me so.
For now I will only see the good of this situation and continue to do what I can when I can, and know that I am financially contributing to my familys well being, not just being the house wife and caring for the home when I feel well. My first priority is to catch up on all my medical bills that I have been unable to pay and all our other bills we have gotten behind on... They are back dating my payments to when I originally filed, so that will be a nice lump sum of cash to catch up on everything! Gonna be nice to not be in debt anymore!
Last week I also had to meet with the DA. I had been issued a subpoena to testify in a trial, which really had me freaked out! Me, in a court room, ummm... NO! So I went in and met with the prosecutor and went over the things I would be asked, she made me feel a little better about it all. And there was still a chance the guy would take a plea the following day. Nope! No plea! Just my luck. So yesterday they sent an investigator out to give me a ride, due to the fact that I no longer drive. He was very nice, helped keep me calm... until we got to the courtroom, and I had to wait. I DID take an extra anxiety pill before this challenging day! But it didn't help... if it did, I would hate to see what I would have been like without it! Almost an hour of waiting in the hall before being escorted in to take the stand.
Now understand, I am not a fan of courtrooms. Last time I had to be in one was almost eight years ago... and I didn't walk out on my own! I just had to remind myself- this was not about me, this was someone else. I was doing what I needed to, to help a child who has no voice. I was doing what needed to be done to make sure this man is held accountable for the death of his child.
I walk in, raise my right hand, promise not to lie... as I get up on the stand I see two people sitting behind the defense table- his wife and an older woman. Behind the prosecutors? a few BACA members. I get up on the stand and am told the microphone is having some issues so please keep my voice up...
The prosecutor asked her questions, just like we had discussed, then the defense guy got up... GRR! I really wish I could have answered questions with more than a yes or no! I had an entire jury staring at me, and I think they could see how badly I wanted to answer a couple things differently than I did. But I did quite well maintaining my temper... I had to, right?
Anyway, once I got out of there, my "escort" stood outside his vehicle with me so I could smoke and release some of that anxiety, and I felt so much better! I came home and realized... I just did something important. No matter the outcome, which I have some serious opinions about, I still did the right thing.
This Tuesday marks that eight year mark when I walked into that courtroom... a day that changed my life forever, in so many ways! At the time it was the worst possible thing that ever could have happened to me, but today I am grateful for it. I came out of that experience a much better person!