Just what am I suppose to do. (Venting)

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2042
   Posted 5/5/2011 1:39 AM (GMT -6)   
I had a court hearing Weds afternoon to update the court on the status of my SSI disability application due to my owing some child support. (The kid is 21 now and I owe about a year's worth that accumulated a few months here and there over the course of 17 years)

For the past couple of years I had been dealing with the county's family law judge who had held that position for more than a decade. He was a very good judge who treated everyone with respect and was very fair. He was willing to do anything he could to help you so long as you worked with him and treated him with respect. Sadly he retired a few months ago and the judge that replaced him was one that came over from the criminal court and is his exact opposite.

Anyway at the hearing this judge all but called me a liar and came within an inch of issuing a court order for me to go back to work. The only thing that stopped her was a letter from a doctor saying that I was unable to work and outlining my health problems. She (the judge) looked very unhappy when she found this letter in my court records.

In today's hearing I was actually told things like: "Since you are able to care for a child you should be able to work." "Since you were denied by SSI apparently your condition is not that bad and you should be able to find a job within your physical limitations."

I asked her and the lawyer who was representing the state's attorney general's office just what kind of job I could hold being a 41 year old with a high school education who can't stand, sit, walk, for more than 15-20 minutes without having my pain levels go from moderate (with medication) to severe. I asked them what employer would hire someone who is on long term narcotic pain medications as every employer I have ever had would put you on a leave of absence if you started taking these types of drugs because they knew their insurance would not cover any claim should anything happen. Of course I never got an answer.

During the hearing I was also berated for not having surgery to "correct" my back problems and was all but told I was wrong for putting it off until such a time as I could be sure that we had support in place to care for my 5 year old which would not happen until after my wife graduates even though I explained that due to having diabetes that my healing time would be longer than normal and that it also put me at greater risk for complications. I also explained that several doctors had put me at a 50/50 chance of surgery helping and a 25% chance of it making things worse, including being partially or totally paralyzed from the waist down and that with those odds I am not in any hurry to take a chance of going from bad to very, very bad.

Finally, somehow, in all of this it was basically pointed out to me that it is my fault that my SSI was denied, that SSI lost my appeal and that since I have had not had surgery and am still able to do most things, even though it is with difficulty, that I can not find an attorney willing to take my case unless I pay them upfront because they do not think I could win at this time due to not having tried the surgical route. I have been told it would be different if the surgeons would say there was a very good chance the surgery would not help, but as many of you know good luck with that one as those who do back surgeries all think they can "cure" you under the knife.

Post Edited (Jim1969) : 5/5/2011 1:23:34 AM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 3193
   Posted 5/5/2011 1:58 AM (GMT -6)   
Your post makes my blood boil.  I didn't remember you have diabetes, too, on top of everything else. 
You said it perfectly - if you had a "guarantee" that surgery would make things significantly better - it might be a different scenario.  You don't have that reassurance...you also run the risk of some level of paralysis.  And, you are right, the diabetes could make things take 20x longer to heal.  AND you have a 5 year old to care for. 

What is wrong w/ our system???? 
I'm so sorry the "good" judge retired.  That's more than frustrating.  Then, you have a letter from your doctor saying you CAN'T work, for goodness sakes. 
I wish I had more answers.  But I just can say I feel your frustrations.  What's the next step?  What more can be done?  I feel for you, Jim; and I'm sorry you are dealing w/ all of this.
Dx: Disabled due to many, many health/pain issues
Meds: Heart meds, Effexor, various Pain Meds (I've literally been on them all)...and on the list goes; intrathecal pain pump candidate

Personal: Christian wife and mom; I have six sons...and two "surprise" blessings - identical twin daughters (born 9/2010)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2042
   Posted 5/5/2011 2:22 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Tina.

I am not expecting answers. I am just venting.

This really just goes along with all the other things those of us with CP and/or "invisible" disabilities face practically every day.

It also goes to show how out of touch with reality those with "cushy" jobs (lawyers, doctors, judges, politicians) really are.
2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.

Betsey Ross
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 1056
   Posted 5/5/2011 4:37 AM (GMT -6)   

I am sorry that you have to go thru this. Our system is so messed up. Why do some judges have to be like that?

try to be strong I know that it is hard but you do have it in you.

Soft Hugs
crushed lower knee and vertical fx of yibia/external fixator placed/plates and screws and tried to place big pieces of cartiledge under knee cap/tremendous pain in affected legcontinously without improving/allergic to metal in left leg/leg isnt straight/need metal removed in July/wait 6 months for healing/then toatal knee replacement/straighten out leg/more phsyxical therapy/take opana er

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 314
   Posted 5/5/2011 5:26 AM (GMT -6)   
I find it extremely hard to believe a judge or even God could write a letter and force you to go back to work. We have rights in this country, civil rights, and human rights. It seems to me a criminal court judge would have bad judgement in this situation anyways.

I hope all goes well for you, cant your lawyer get your case transferred to another judge that happens all the time? Or do you live in a smaller area with less judges?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2042
   Posted 5/5/2011 5:53 AM (GMT -6)   
Don't have a lawyer and can't really afford one either.

The really pathetic part is that since this is considered a civil matter you don't exactly have the same rights you would if it was a criminal one, as in while you have the right to an attorney the court does not have to appoint you one if you can't afford one.

As far as judges go there are only 4 permanently assigned to our county. One is family law, one is traffic, one is adult criminal and the last one is juvenile court.

There are 2 other judges that come on an as needed basis to handle criminal cases if need be that "float" between 4 counties.

Tell you anything about the area I live in...LOL

The current criminal judge is brand new. Just appointed to fill the seat of the one who moved over to replace the family court judge that retired. The traffic court judge has been in that position since becoming a judge 20 years ago. As far as the juvenile judge goes there is a complication in that I am loosely related to him through marriage. He is my step mom's nephew.
2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2042
   Posted 5/5/2011 6:32 AM (GMT -6)   
One thing that I hope no one gets the impression of is that I am or ever have been against paying child support. I am and always have been a firm believer in that if the non custodial parent is able to work they should work and help with the financial obligations of raising a kid....along with being a part of your child's life.

I have always paid my support when I had a job and have made efforts to pay extra when I have gotten behind. I made my 1st payment one week after my oldest son's mother and I broke up and I moved out. This was after making sure all the bills were paid and there was 2 weeks worth of food in the house along with diapers and anything else my son might need.

I do have issues with how the child support system treats non custodial parents and with many of their procedures, but not with the obligation itself.

I always have had intentions of paying off the back owed support if ever comes the day I once again have some kind of income, but given the way I have been treated and seen others treated it is tempting to pack up and move somewhere they can't find me and let them eat it.

I don't know how other states treat non custodial parents, but here in Illinois the Attorney General's office treats them like public enemy number one if they owe more than $1.
2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2042
   Posted 5/5/2011 6:41 AM (GMT -6)   
BTW: If anyone knows of a job that a 41 year old male who has problems walking, sitting, lifting and is on narcotic pain medication can do let me know. Keep in mind I only have a high school education.

My work experience includes all aspects of working in a retail store from stocker to management, truck driving, working with developmentally disabled adults in a home environment, and doing farm work such as baling hay, walking beans, detassiling corn. I am also trained in basic auto maintenance such as doing oil changes, flush and fills (radiators) and installing tires.
2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 329
   Posted 5/5/2011 8:58 AM (GMT -6)   

Where are you located? The work I do is call center work and it pays decent and you can sit, stand, walk in circles and move around (on your 4 ft leash of course) as needed.

They usually have a variety of shifts and hours worked available and some will even let you work from home (my company lets me work out of my house)

Send me an email if you want to know more. If I did not work in the field I do I would not be working so maybe it can help you.


Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16787
   Posted 5/5/2011 12:23 PM (GMT -6)   
Jim, boy that judge is not going to win any popularity contests thats for sure. At least not with the general public, not sure what his cohorts at the courthouse will think of him and his antics.

Here in Texas family courts are a mess. So much of it depends on who the judge is the bottom line. One thing I learned working in the legal field, it is not what you know, but who you know. I have seen some cases where the ex would have the other parent in court as often as the law allowed trying to get increases in child support, ungrounded because there was no increase in his/her income. So it was wash, waste of time and money for everyone.
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 78
   Posted 5/5/2011 3:32 PM (GMT -6)   
Awh, Jim, I'm so sorry to hear this, I'm certain SOMETHING will work out for you though, you're a good person! It stinks that these judges and stuff have absolutely no compassion for cp victims....but trust me, she'll get hers, what comes around goes around (if you know what I mean).
I will be praying for you to find something that will be easy on you physically yet pay you rewardingly. I trust there is a silver lining to this dark cloud, you just gotta look for it, it's there!
How bout being a school bus driver? Around here where I live they also have something called Septran where you drive SUV's to pick up kids al over....and I know someone personally who does that and he can go and do stuff and stop and get out and walk around in between pick ups and stuff. (You're not required to tell your employer what kind of medications you take are you?) I hear they pay good and you don't have to be driving for too long and the hours are nice.....I don't know.....it just popped into my mind.
Blondie37_Fibromyalgia_terrible back of neck/shoulder area pain_degenerative discs_chronic pain for 15 years_new to pain management_can't take ibuprofin due to taking too many_have taken and tried everything from antidepressants to morphine to lyrica to muscle relaxers to xanax to valium to celebrex, etc.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 314
   Posted 5/5/2011 4:21 PM (GMT -6)   
I dont believe legally your required by law to inform your employer of what medications you take whether its narcotic pain medicine or aspirin for your heart. now I may be wrong but to me that sounds pretty well like a invasion of privacy and many other civil rights if that is required. Does anyone else here agree with me in that assessment?

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 25
   Posted 5/5/2011 6:36 PM (GMT -6)   
Many employers drug test today. I do know people who are on pain management who after they are hired, but before they go for their drug test will present thier employer with a list of perscription drugs they take. You can get a print out from any pharmacy. Aftet that you would have a good discrimination case if you were let go if you could otherwise do the work,
However, I know that there are jobs that can fit the needs of many disabled people. I suggest you go to a VOCATIONAL COUNSELOR, or OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST who can access you regarding your work limitations. I know many states provide those services at their state employment office. Also if one of those professionals really limits the work they feel you can do it may sit better with the judge

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2010
Total Posts : 2265
   Posted 5/5/2011 9:39 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Jim. I'm sorry that the judge treated you like crap. It really burns me up that so many uppity upps treat chronic pain patients as if they're less than they are. I wish you luck on getting approved for the SSD or SSI. I can't remember which one you're trying to get.

Good luck. You take care. I hope you're having a low pain night.

love and hugs
Dx: osteoarthritis, bursitis in left hip, Osteoarthrits in right hip, compression fracture in thoracic spine due to falling on frozen ground March 2001 , ddd, spinal stenosis, bone spurs, osteoarthritis in spine, osteoarthritis in both knees
Meds: Fentanyl patch, oxycodone, otc: BenGay, Tylenol Arthritis on occasion

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9664
   Posted 5/6/2011 9:55 AM (GMT -6)   
Jim, sure hope things go better for you...you deserve to have things go better...
But it does suck not to have a good legal system, they should have to go
before a review committee every year...Appeal all the way, it's your right...
get more doctors notes...maybe a neurologists might give you one...
There has to be someone who can help you...
well wishes and Prayers...
* So many dx's I could write a book* "It would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2042
   Posted 5/7/2011 2:05 AM (GMT -6)   
Sometimes I wonder if part of my problem with convincing people that I am not in good shape is that I really don't look the part.

I am 6 foot tall, 225 lbs, big boned, carry my excess weight fairly well (meaning I don't have a huge belly hanging over my belt) and even with my pain I make an effort to stand and walk tall, thanks to 4 years of high school ROTC and a natural pride/defiance that says this is who I am, take it or leave it.

This thought is not really new to me, and more than once I have considered trying to "look the part" more. Stoop a little, bring out the cane, walk with a little less confidence, etc, but every time I really start considering it a big part of me screams NO!!!!. That is not me. It would be living a lie, and the worst part about it is that I would be telling that lie to myself, which is something I just can't do.

I have nothing against using a cane and if the day comes, as it very well might, that I need one I will pull the one out of the closet that I got when I was 17 and suffered a major muscle injury to my back.
2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.
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