Says Who??

Verstehen, through shared perspectives


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Senator, I am both offended and appalled by your statement that if I should “hop out of my truck and walk away” I am gaming the system– obviously not disabled.  I am 74 years old.  I suffer from degenerative disc disease, severe arthritis and stenosis in my back; cardiac disease; asthma; and diabetes.  The disc disease was diagnosed 45 years ago, and is often quite disabling.  But I worked full time up until two years ago, when I retired.  I still work as an adjunct professor when I am able.  I drive, shop, and attend church regularly.  I see my Pain Management physician on a regular basis.  I do daily physical therapy, and work out in a fitness center at least three times a week.  I CANNOT TOLERATE OPIOIDS OR NSAIDS, so it is necessary for me to keep as active as possible so that minimal treatment will at least take the edge off my pain.  In addition to the back and neck pain, I suffer peripheral neuropathy in my hands and feet.  Many nights I cry myself to sleep because of the pain — if I sleep at all.  Last year, for the first time, I obtained a handicapped placard for my car because my breathing problems, added to my back pain, make it difficult to deal with carrying anything at all and walk.  I don’t feel at all guilty about using a benefit my doctor thought I would have had for years already.  And I am not lazy – I would undoubtedly continue to teach even if I didn’t need the money for medications Medicare D won’t pay for, and to buy groceries.  Social security definitely does not cover rent, utilities, copays, groceries, car insurance and maintenance, medicare deductions and supplemental insurance.  In fact, after rent, utilities and insurances it is gone.  So while I know, as do others, that there is always someone gaming the system, that is a far sight from meaning that just because I do not look disabled (it is hard to keep a job that way) I could not be disabled.  Many, many legitimate disabilities don’t reveal themselves outwardly.  And chronic pain patients are NOT the cause of the opioid epidemic – but that’s another complaint that I won’t get into now.  For now, just know that you have lost my vote and I am deeply disappointed in you as a physician and so-called leader.


Author: profemjay

I am a retired Professor of Sociology with interests in the Sociology of Medicine, Political Sociology, the Sociology of Development, Social Action and the Sociology of Religion.

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