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  1. Joe Anonymous says:

    He denied me which of course will make me unhappy. I’ve been approved and denied previously by other judges. Judge Jordan cherry picked information from my medical file and made wrong assumptions about what the medical info meant. I have chronic pain from scoliosis requiring a major reconstructive surgery at 13 years old. I had a second surgery to remove the 14″ rod and hooks and a third to fuse my last couple unfused vertebra, both to relieve pain. I had to leave a six figure career with full benefits and monthly bonuses (even during the recession). Tried working at home part-time and made too much money to get SSDI, which was fine. I’d much rather work. There’s no way on this planet I would give up my career to “hope” I “might” win SSDI, knowing SSDI can take many years to get, meaning my savings would probably be drained and I’d have to draw from my retirement, which all happened The pain flared up as I lost my COBRA, then I lost pain management coverage and had to join Kaiser 2019. They finally broke my year long flare-up and I started to get back to where I could work.

    Then, as they said they would do, they made me choose between benzodiazepines (for anxiety attacks and sleep) or my pain medication. I choose my pain medication, which they cut 60%, causing my functionality I had recently regained to plummet. Those changes were for them to supposedly comply with 2016 Opioid Prescribing Guidelines, nothing to do with my condition getting better. When I read the guidelines and learned Kaiser could still provide my care as it was historically, and confronted them about it, they changed their story as to why they cut my meds, saying it wasn’t because of guidelines contradiction what 4 Dr.’s over 2 years had bluntly told me. The last few appointments with my pain Dr., as I asked more “why” questions for changes in my care she constantly contradicted herself from previous appointments. She then began a narrative that my pain was both physical and mental, but she “felt” most of the pain was mental from anxiety and depression (which she wouldn’t accept any culpability as being a catalyst for those feelings by reducing my care and functionality). Kaiser won’t complete any SSDI paperwork, they’ll only forward records. My GP left Kaiser around the time of my hearing. My new GP agreed to write scripts for my pain meds however, he “felt” I “might” have Opioid Induced Hyperalgesia (OIH) and he was going to slowly taper my pain meds to zero. “Hopefully” in a year, my body would supposedly make it’s own pain meds to handle my pain. OIH is a debated topic. The symptoms his listed as justification were symptoms I had before I ever took my first opioid. A test can be done to see if a person has genetic markers of Chronic Pain Syndrome (CPS) but Kaiser wouldn’t order it.

    There are 5-6 brain scans that can show pain centers of the brain’s activities. Kaiser will not order them. My reduction of pain care, draining my savings, continuing to drain my IRA, not being able to work, not being able to move & downsize (because I have no income), not being able to have a relationship, constant denials of SSDI, arguing with Kaiser have destroyed my mental and emotional capacity. I’ve talked with my loved ones and have completed the legal paperwork so I’m prepared to take my life if I can’t get pain or financial relief and I’m continued to be gaslighted. My other insurance choice is a much smaller company with less facilities. I get financial assistance from Kaiser where I don’t pay for visits, procedures or meds if I use Kaiser facilities. So, I can’t really afford to change insurance. Judge Jordan said I was not depressed, anxious or suicidal because I hadn’t been hospitalized for it or attempted suicide. This read as as a personal challenge from him to me.

    I’m smart and sincere enough that there won’t be an “attempt”, possibly leaving me as a vegetable, there will only be “success”.

    Judge Jordan agreed with his occupationalist, who said there were 250,000 jobs (all in fast food) that I could work, that would allow me to work for 30-90 minutes, then lay flat with my legs raised for 2-4 hours waiting for the pain to go down. Or, there are 50,000 jobs (as “cuff folders”) if I had more restrictions. These job were total across country, and the stats didn’t say how many jobs were open. As if a person with pain can relocate or drive long distances to get jobs. . . that an employer would NEVER hire them for when there are other people who don’t need breaks and there would be less liability for the employer to not hire someone in pain with difficulty moving. If a “cuff folder” is a person who prepares a pant leg cuff for a seamstress to then sew the cuff, 1) I can’t believe there are 50,000 of those actual jobs during a recession and with most clothing made in China 2) I can’t see an employer paying a separate person to do that task, handling the product once, then moving it to be handled again, requiring more floor space, chance of inventory loss and increased payroll expense. All of this is moot because no employer has been willing to hire me when 1) I can’t tell them for sure if I can work until I wake up each day 2) I can’t tell then when I can get to work 3) I can’t tell them how long I can work but it’s only 30-90 minutes max 4) after that little time I need 2-4 hours of laying flat, usually on heat or ice to get the pain to reduce because I no longer have enough pain meds to keep the pain at bay as it increase throughout the day, every day 5) I can’t commit making meetings or meeting deadlines 6) my competition doesn’t have these issues so employers still ignore the law against discriminating against the disabled. Those are just the physical things, not the mental struggles after having this pain grow for 20 years, losing everything I’ve worked for, not get enough help from medical professionals and being gaslight or politely called a liar. I would NEVER hire me.

    I can’t take care of myself to where I only shower 1-2 times a week now. I have to get help to clean the house or get groceries. I’m barely able to keep up with paying bills, really because most are automatically deducted. I need rides for trips over 20-30 minutes. Judge Jordan asked me if I’d done a certain activity in the last 12 months. I said no and he pointed to my medical records saying I did the activity. . . 8 months prior. When your stuck in your house, mostly laying flat with your legs up and trying to manage your full-time job of health, especially during a pandemic when you leave the house even less, you lose track of time. I honestly thought it was 12 months or more. 8 months (3/4 of a year) versus 12 months (1 year) isn’t that big of a gap especially when everything is riding on getting disability so you’re nervous talking to the judge. My attorney believes he used that question to decide I must be a liar and my Kaiser Dr.’s must be truthful.
    Then, the judge cherry picked small items and took them out-of-context. For example, he said I had friends over, entertained them and cooked for them (which he took from me talking with my counselor). He used that to justify his assumption that I don’t lack the functionality I say I do. My friends had a small apartment, with a small kitchen and love to cook. They know I can’t cook and always eat frozen meals. They know I can’t get out of the house much and people don’t often come over. My counselor constantly gave me homework of getting out of the house and being socially active. The accurate story is, my friends offered to come over and cook, then watch movies, talk or play a board game if I was up to it. They arrive with the food and supplies. They loved using my kitchen and dishes. They cleaned up. They made leftovers for me that I could freeze. While they were here, they knew I had to move, stretch and lay down as needed and I did. Upon reading my Kiaser health records, after being denied, I found several errors and flat-out lies. That didn’t help. Until I had to change insurance and was basically stuck with Kaiser, for the last 10 of 20 years of pain, my Dr.’s asked why I wasn’t disabled already, couldn’t believe I was working and would gladly support my disability but I wanted to work as long as I possibly could and save up money in case the day came I couldn’t work any more. Now at Kaiser, they’ve said my history no longer matters and unless a patient has cancer or palliative care, they are going to limit patients to the 50 MME, 2016 Guidelines no matter what the patient is experiencing.

    The AMA, CDC and FDA have all released statements telling Dr.’s, insurance companies and pharmacies NOT to do what Kaiser is doing. I pretty sure I saw an article saying a Kaiser exec from CA was involved in the behind-closed-doors process of creating the 2016 Guidelines. After the guidelines had major pushback from the medical community and patients, the CDC still published them and noted they didn’t have sufficient studies to determine the long-term efficacy of opioid therapy and had to rely on a “panel of experts”. After Congress learned the CDC didn’t follow the FACA process, they made the CDC disclose the individuals who wrote the guidelines and all other previous meeting materials. The “experts” had no pain patients, and I think maybe one pain Dr., otherwise the group was made of known anti-opioid proponents, including Andrew Kolodny, the founder of PROP. Unlike their name Physicians for Responsible for Opioid Prescribing, Kolodny has gone on record saying ALL opioids should be banned, even for cancer patients. . . while he pushes other variants of opioid meds, claiming they aren’t addictive and provide relief, again without studies. He made over $500k as an “expert” witness in big pharma cases. He’s a psychiatrist, not a pain management Dr. who’s only worked in detox facilities, not pain clinics where opioids are used effectively as a modality when others have failed. He started in NY, NY politics and successfully marketed himself as the “national pain and opioid expert” when he’s not qualified. My attorney keeps telling me I can’t discuss this political impact to my care because any mention of opioids will make ANY judge immediately assume you’re an addict and a liar. Factually, when I had more meds I could work and at least break even, until I could downsize, now, reduced meds have directly reduced my function. This national issue needs discussed an fixed ASAP. We’ve already lost too many pain patients to suicide because their quality of care was reduced. Even if I had the resources available, I will not become a financial, emotional, mental or physical burden to my loved ones.

    My attorney feels appealing would only result in a changed decision if the judge made a legal error, which his opinion would not be that. It would also take longer than filing a new claim. So, I’m giving up my option for money I desperately needed, while I continue draining my IRA’s, for which I’ll probably owe 40% penalties I’ll never be able to pay. I’ve now filed a new claim, hoping my decision not to appeal will not be used against me, interpreted as me agreeing with the denial. I have a different judge but I still don’t have Dr. support so my attorney thinks I have almost zero chance of winning and he’s only staying with my because he believes in my case because we’ve worked together since 2014. He feels other attorneys would not take me on or would drop me. I’ve since learned, the work credits needed to qualify for SSDI have expiration dates! Usually they expire 5 years after a person last worked. So my credits are going to expiring and I can no longer apply for disability. I’m out-of-my mind with anxiety and depression. I wish every day I could get Covid or get hit by a truck and have a quick death. If I don’t win this case, I’m not going to continue to live in pain, while not having a life, just to wait and “hope” for a new cure while I go bankrupt and end up on the street. I’d rather die with my dignity on my terms. If I could get disability, to know I won’t be on the street and I can still healthcare, I’d try my best to endure the pain, waiting for the political pendulum to swing back to something more reasonable, or for a new modality to be created. I hope this helps others learn from my school of hard knocks. My best to you!

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