the end of the appeal

in late september, the local social security office called me to say that the agency in charge of my disability appeal had contacted them about some missing paperwork. specifically, they were missing the basic “request for reconsideration” form. by this point, they had been working on my appeal for over four months. i told social security to mail it to me, because i didn’t want to lug ramona all the way out to their office. sometimes strapping her into her car seat is just more than i can really face.

when i got the form, i was really confused by it. it said something about “if you’re submitting this form more than ten days after receiving your denial, please explain why” & it gave me the option of either requesting a hearing with a DDS officer or “waiving my right” to a hearing.

ack! i had no idea what to write. it had been way more than ten days since my denial, but i thought this form had been turned in months before. & i didn’t want to specifically request a hearing, but i didn’t want to nix the hearing if it could help my case. i wanted an option like, “a DDS officer will contact you about a hearing if more information is needed”. ugh.

after panicking a bit, i filled everything out to the best of my abilities & mailed it back. then i just sat & rotted for a few weeks. then i got another letter from social security in the mail. i didn’t really want to open it. i expected it to be the date of my hearing & i just didn’t want to think about having to sit down with someone from DDS & have to be all, “so, let’s talk about all my problems.” i have a friend who is on disability & she makes her partner open all of her mail from social security, even the stuff about COLA increases or end-of-year income paperwork. but jared was at school so i had to open it myself.

& it said, basically, “hey, you’re still disabled, so peace out. let us know if you think we reached this decision in error.”

& just like that, the living nightmare that had been plaguing my every waking moment for the last eight months was over!

you’d think i’d feel super-relieved. & i did. but i also still feel traumatized by having to go through this appeals process. i am so relieved that it didn’t go any further than it did & it’s over & i can just put it behind me, but i lost pretty much all of 2014 to panic over this. it really negatively affected both my mental & physical health. i won’t be due for another review for a few years, but i’m worried that i’ll go into another panic spiral whenever the next one happens.

i posted the news on facebook & it got more likes than anything i’ve posted on facebook since ramona’s birth announcement. so that was kind of weird. but also, you know, gratifying to realize that so many people had been pulling for me.

so that’s that & i’ve been trying to get my life back on track ever since i got the news. you know, now that i can breathe more freely & do things other than curl up into a ball & bite my fingernails down to nubs all evening.

over the weekend, i thought i was finally catching the cold ramona has been nursing for the last month. she’s not even two yet, & so we have not been successful in instilling good sneezing/coughing etiquette in her yet. she has a gift for climbing into my lap, gazing lovingly into my eyes, & then sneezing directly into my mouth. i felt a bit under the weather over the weekend & expected to wake up this morning officially sick, but i actually felt 100% better. for like an hour, until i was felled by terrible cramps. i started having a vaso vagal response (graying vision, dizziness, general inability to function in any capacity). i laid in bed & suffered while jared took ramona to the grocery store. by the time they got home, i was fully recovered yet again & able to take ramona to story time at the library & later got so into cleaning the house that i actually dusted the ceiling fan.

so, people who sew: have you heard about cotton + steel 2? it’s coming out in january & it includes a re-release of melody miller’s viewfinder print in three different colorways. i am OVER THE MOON about this. i am actually contemplating maybe buying an entire bolt of each of them. i LOVE that print! i have been known to spend hours googling projects that have been sewn with it. i wonder if it will be released in any alternate substrates? maybe someone reading this knows? i am already plotting what i want to make with it.

i bought the infamous amy butler weekender bag pattern a couple of weeks ago. i haven’t started it yet because…i honestly don’t know where to start. all those interfacings & what-not…it’s really confusing. but i’m thinking of doing a trial bag (kind of like the bag version of a wearable muslin) in some somerville study bookshelf print fabric i have in my stash, & once i’ve figured out what i’m doing, make another in the viewfinder fabric. plus a skirt, & a dress, & it would make great curtains, &…basically my life is going to be non-stop viewfinder fabric everything in 2015.

ramona is rolling around on the floor crying because she wants me to give her a head rub so i guess i should go do some momming.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

2 thoughts on “the end of the appeal

  1. I think a little letter in the mail is kinda anticlimactic. I could see it taking some time to have it sink in. I hope you feel better soon. Hopefully this is the last shit you’ll have to deal with for a while.

    Last year, LJ got a cold so bad that it literally backed up into her eyes (ewwww). And, of course, she kept rubbing them, and then smushing her fingers into my face. I can’t even tell you how bad a case of pink-eye she gave me. I had to switch to daily disposable contacts because I’m still having dry-eye issues. Kids are fucking gross, man.

    1. it was pretty anti-climactic. i think it’s starting to sink in a bit. every time i start feeling down, i remember that the appeal is something i don’t need to worry about & i feel a little better.

      thankfully, ramona is a remarkably healthy kid & doesn’t get sick too often. but she still finds ways to be gross. at the risk of TMI, the other day she stuck her hand down her diaper & then became so upset because she had pooped & she had poop on her hand. she was running around crying & saying, “poop hand! poop hand!” & we were racing around trying to get a diaper change set up without letting her touch us or anything else.

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