Congratulations! You’re Disabled!

I anxiously approached my hearing for my disability determination. It was to take place in downtown Rochester, a full hour’s commute from my home. At 8:00 a.m. No one cared that my circadian rhythm was that of a night owl.

I questioned how I should dress for this hearing: my former, dry-clean only wardrobe was out of the question. None of those clothes fit me anymore. I chose to dress very modestly.

After all, it was a more accurate reflection of my currently modest means. Should I wear cosmetics, I wondered? Doing so always has served to mask the severity of my symptoms, including my debilitating fatigue.

I questioned if it might be in my interest to use a cane, as external validation for my MS diagnosis. I decided not to use a cane, since it would not honestly have matched my physical abilities the day of my hearing.

I actually met my attorney, for the very first time, the day of my hearing. He and I had just one brief phone conversation, just a few days prior.

I was informed that the administrative judge would be appearing via teleconference, rather than in person. I answered her questuons honestly, politely, and succinctly.

I stressed how very much I wished that it were possible for me to still be working full-time. My attorney astutely made reference to my becoming short of breath as I attempted to answer the judge’s many questions.

To my utter delight (and inner dismay) the judge made a determination to award full disability at the close of my appeal. My arduous journey had finally come to a successful ending.

My very capable, but somewhat socially awkward attorney declared, “Congratulations, you’re disabled.”

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