The Cone of Shame and a Social Security Miracle

Jake in recovery.

Jake in recovery.

Jake has a new hip! As you may know, my baby has hip dysplasia. It's common with large breed dogs and is mostly genetic. We replaced his right hip in 2013 and were finally able to get the other one done last week. He's confined to the crate for 2 weeks until he gets x-rays, then very limited activity for the next four weeks. By 12 weeks, he should be completely healed up.

It's going to be a long 12 weeks caring for this giant dog. Right now, when we take him outside to toilet, we have to support his back end with a sling. Jake weighs 130 lbs. and I have a balance disorder, so it's a challenge. So far, I've been impressed with my ability to handle him without falling down. He seems to know the predicament we're in because he moves slowly and gently (most of the time).

I'm excited for him. He's been in constant pain his whole life and now he has two amazing hips. I can't wait to see him run.

By some miracle, I received my SSI award on the first try! I did have help. The insurance company that is paying my Long-term Disability claim contracts with a company that helps facilitate the application process. They did a great job, because I barely had to do anything. No hearing. No appeal. None of the red tape and hoops to jump through that seems to be most people's experience. They either work magic, or the SSI people read through my file and thought, "this guy is messed up, no questions." It's a relief to have that taken care of so quickly.

Receiving the SSI award does more than give me money each month (I'm apparently not going to get rich from SSI, sad to say). It also makes it easier for me to apply for other services such as a handicap parking placard. Instead of having to go to the doctor to get a note (and pay my copay for the pleasure), I can simply show my SSI award as proof that I am disabled.

I have mixed emotions about this whole situation. Like I said, it's a relief to know that I've got some guaranteed money coming in each month. It also feels like I'm "officially" disabled, which isn't so much of a relief. Some people will now consider me a "taker" and not a "maker." I feel that way a little, even though I know it's not true. The stigma around receiving government support is thick and gooey and it's hard to shed. If life were really fair, I'd be so rich from being a teacher and administrator in the public school system for 15 years that money wouldn't be an issue, so I take comfort in that.


Image Credit: Adam Brown

Image Credit: Adam Brown

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