Part IV ended with “…Longest walk of my life that day.”
Friends have insisted I apply for Social Security Disability and I have resisted doing that. That’s for really sick people. Mine comes and goes. I can sit at my computer and type, as I am right this minute. And, yet. And yet. Out of curiosity, I checked out the website and the diseases that qualify. COPD is right there.
If I read the qualifications correctly, as well as my tests from two years ago when I still had insurance, I was within one point of full disability on my breath tests. Two years ago. And, I know it’s gotten worse. And, it is going to get worse until I’m on oxygen, if I am lucky. I will go through multiple bouts with pneumonia – been there, done that – not fun. Not the least bit fun. I am reliably informed it takes two years to go through the disability claim process. That is what made me finally surrender and apply because I have a sneaking suspicion that if I am not already qualified, I will certainly be in two years.
All this is not to solicit sympathy, pity or compassion. It is coming to grips with what is. Yesterday, I discovered a treasure trove of a blog site. Written by Bill Hamilton about dealing with COPD. It can be found here. Near as I can tell, Bill started this back in June 2012 and it is remarkable in so many ways, not the least of which is his honesty and good humored straight up details of his days. He’s one of us WordPress bloggers. He is much further along than I am, but I’m slowly moving towards him.
On a scale of 0-800 (800 being a healthy normal person, I presume), I am currently testing at 150-160; sometimes I get as high as 180. Two years ago, I could get as high as 220 – on a really good day. Now, this 150 is due to having had a fluish thing making the rounds and I’m on my third week of the damn thing, a cold/cough thing. Last week, I emailed Dr. Smith to say, hey, what do you think? He prescribed me an antibiotic based on my symptoms and said, “If it gets worse, do not hesitate to go to the E.R.”
I questioned what the E.R. could do – I’ve done that and they give you a nebulizer treatment or two and send you home. I have that same ability here at home, thank you very much, Dr. Smith, who prescribed it for me a year or two ago. Dr. Smith wrote back, “What I meant to say, Huntie, was if the nebulizer isn’t working, go to the E.R. immediately. People with lung disease can worsen very quickly. Keep me posted on your condition.”
Dr. Smith and I have had a running email correspondence for two years, despite my being without insurance. That’s is how good, kind and decent a man Dr. Smith is. And he’s retiring December 31. Breathe, HuntMode, breathe.