Disability, Retirement and Acupuncture


Had another acupuncture treatment for my hands today.   A three hour round trip for a 45 minute visit.  The doctor asked why, if I’m retired, she sees so much tension still in my body.  I told her today that it was probably the 1.5 hour trip into town.

So, the acupuncture felt good at the time and my hands are still feeling less stiff and less painful since the treatment.  The good feelings faded very quickly last time.  It’s now been a few hours, and I still feel pretty good.   I wonder how long before I get lasting results.  Acupuncture is not a cure, or to alleviate symptoms for a time?  I’d like to get months of relief between treatments.  Save me a lot of money and driving.

I might mention here that I have MS and Dupetryns (problem that causes your being unable to straighten your fingers).  I was told by the experts that it isn’t painful.   Not sure I believe that, but I’ve got no proof otherwise.  Arthritis of either kind has been ruled out and I haven’t done anything to hurt my hands.  So either it’s the non-painful Dupetryns, or it’s the MS.  I’ve had hand pain to varying degrees for 20 years.  Both of these are very slow moving conditions.  But if it’s the MS, why don’t my pain meds help?

Speaking of medical conditions.  I requested my appeal for disability.  The online form asked numerous questions about how my disability worsened since I made my initial claim.  Except my condition hasn’t worsened, it’s improved!  Now that I get more sleep and have less stress, my condition is 80% better.  It also wanted to know if I’d seen any other doctors, so I added the acupuncture.  Now I’ll have to wait as they obtain information from this doctor, who won’t have much to add to my claim of cognitive difficulties.  Although I did have a couple of treatments for stress last year, that may help.

Somehow, I don’t think finding out I have hand pain is going to strengthen my case.  But, maybe it will?  Physical impairment is so much easier to prove than a mental one.  It’s so much easier to believe you if you are stuck in a wheelchair,  or walk with a red tipped cane.  I don’t carry a cane for my head, or walk around with it bandaged.  Maybe I should.

At the end of the application, there is a small space to add information I want them to consider.  I specifically asked them to contact my last employer to see if they would make a statement or provide some records.  It only makes sense (to me anyway) that if you are trying to rule whether I am or am not capable of doing my “regular work as Executive Legal Secretary” you should at least discuss my last year’s employment record.  Not that I want all my mistakes known, but going to my last employer would tell them what they actually need to know: that I cannot be trusted in an executive secretarial capacity, there is too much responsibility.

I suppose the appeal could end up with them saying I can’t do secretarial work any more, but I could get a minimum wage job somewhere.  No where do they ask how well I learn new things.  Up until a year ago I would have said I had no trouble at all with change.  When our firm switched not one, but three computer programs, I thought I would handle it like every other update.  We were warned, however, that Word had been totally revamped.  Which didn’t mean much to someone who hadn’t seen the new software yet.

I discovered it meant that things you used to find under File were now under Set Up, and about a thousand other minute changes you are all now familiar with.  It felt as if my computer was possessed of an evil spirit that wanted to see me fail.  I’d follow my notes only to end up at the wrong place time after time.  I constantly requested additional help, where others in the office struggled far less.  It took me the longest of anyone to get a handle on the programs.  I felt an acute sense of failure and a major blow to my ego.

When I finally had a handle on the new programs, needless to say I was behind, and we were suddenly opening new file after new file, and my workload increased.  The topper for me was two new secretaries were hired.  New, unpleasant, and unhappy secretaries.  I had to work closely with them and found they were deeply distrusted me.  Any comment I made was sufficient evidence to them that I was a poor secretary, and therefore a lousy person.  When I made a mistake, they made every effort to hold that up as proof of my incompetence.  (Not that I wasn’t exactly competent, but it seemed unfair of them to judge me.)  I even wonder if it was a racist thing, since I was a different shade than these secretaries.

I may not have been a neurosurgeon, but I was a damn good secretary for nearly 30 years.  Last year really beat my ego down, and feeling that retiring was the end of my productive life.  When I peek back now, I wonder how I was able to function at all, and it struck me, How do we function under such conditions?  Women especially.  We can operate on 1 hour of sleep, keeping track of children’s appointments, spouse’s appointments, and your boss’s appointments, and still have time to volunteer at the kid’s school.  At least I could.  I could whip up dinner in a flash, fresh, not frozen.  I had the energy and the creativity to keep up.  Now I have trouble remembering to even make one appointment after getting 11 hours of sleep.  I have the energy of a sloth.

4 thoughts on “Disability, Retirement and Acupuncture

  1. My grandmother couldn’t straighten her hands either and it was from an autoimmune disease called scleroderma. I have MS and as we see autoimmnue diseases are supposedly inherited. Has scleroderma been mentioned at all?

    1. No one’s ever mentioned scleroderma. I know it has similarities though. I saw an expert in Dupetryn’s and he was pretty emphatic. I think this is inherited, but may be autoimmune as well, I’d have to double check.

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