My story has become tiresome—even to myself

Main campus Johns Hopkins outpatient center entrance

Main campus Johns Hopkins outpatient center entrance

I’ve managed to get by over the last two months plus since coming hat in hand to you kind folks, but now I’m back again. To recap quickly, in June 2014 I was diagnosed at Johns Hopkins’ neurology department in Baltimore with the Secondary Progressive form of Multiple Sclerosis. I can walk short distances using two canes before exhaustion overtakes me, then I need to sit a while to recuperate before continuing on. The diagnosing MS specialist said my history of symptoms gave him the belief that I probably had it for 10 to 15 years already. I agree with that. My mobility problems and the use of my right hand to perform tasks have deteriorated a great deal over the past seven or eight years, but the first signs of strange muscle events happening to me began in at least early 1999. I was blaming what I came to learn was multi-level disk degeneration until I went for a brain MRI last May, when the radiologist asked me if I had MS. To be potentially diagnosed with MS was the reason a neurologist at Hopkins had sent me for the brain MRI.

Although I’ve been going through the application process for months to receive SSI, two weeks ago I got a packet of forms to supplement the application with paperwork I submitted already,

sample questions
and it took me until Wednesday evening before I had it all filled out, and managed to fax it to the Social Security Administration office in Harrisburg.

fax info box

SSA Harrisburg

Harrisburg Social Security Administration offices

I’ve been getting food from a local church-run food bank, and I have enjoyed the generosity of some longtime friends recently, which has enabled me to remain caught up with bills and have a few incidentals, but I need to pay some bills each month, and I have a neurology appointment at Hopkins in Baltimore Monday. I believe I have at least nearly enough gasoline in my car to drive to Hopkins and back, but I need to pay for valet parking once I get there, as I must request a wheelchair with a transport aide to be brought to my car so I can get to the the neurology office in the Hopkins Outpatient Center.

Driving from West Philly to Hopkins in Baltimore has come to be an extreme challenge physically, and I plan to drive there off the main highways to allow myself to rest easier along the way. This has the added advantage of allowing me to avoid paying tolls. I expect to change my official residence to Pennsylvania soon, and hope to be able to start having follow-up neurology appointments in a well-regarded MS clinic in Philly, so this may be the final time I go to Hopkins for doctor appointments.

In addition to the money to pay for valet parking and several dollars of gas to attend my appointment Monday, I’ll need an additional $142 to pay my monthly car insurance and phone bill by the end of the week. This will keep me current on bills until the first of the month. I continue to keep my fingers crossed that my application for SSI will be approved any day, and that I won’t have a need to  keep coming back to my kind friends for additional help. I know people are struggling even if they have decent paychecks coming in reliably.

The most direct method to make a donation to me is to send it to my Gmail address using PayPal. I can give you my Gmail address through a private message on Facebook or Twitter. One can also donate via PayPal from the link on my Authr page. I used to have a Go Fund Me page, too, but they seem to have deleted it due to inactivity.

If anyone wants to see more background on my predicament, I will direct you to previous blog posts over the past year. The living circumstances have changed, but the history holds true otherwise. My long bio is here. My first shorter ask here. More book information with the opportunity to purchase the ceramic sculpture Karen Sparks made for the cover here. Information on buying four-color prints of Karen’s artwork here. Background information on storyteller dolls and related premiums here. More recent blog asks here, here, and here.

Continued thanks to everyone who has contributed to me so far. It’s a humbling experience to ask and to receive as I have. And huge gratitude in advance to anyone helping me out for the first time.

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