Friday, August 15, 2014
I was going to keep a diary. The first entry was on August 3, nearly two weeks ago. Since then I've been busy with a number of things, primarily attempting to fix my computer which kept crashing, in the midst of looking for work and sending out proposals to local lawyers and doctors. I also had intended to put in a full 8 hours a day on the Famous Psychic Line Which Cannot Be Named Due To Contractual Reasons, but as usual, my intention was thwarted by the daily occurrence of entropy in one form or another, requiring my time and attention.
On Tuesday it became clear that the sinkhole which opened up just 20 feet from the trailer, and which had been filled with "holy rubble" from Parkway Presbyterian Church's old sign when they got their new electronic one, subsequently topped by a mixture of dirt, crushed concrete and asphalt (which I was assured "won't wash away!"), was reasserting itself since the recent rains. I called Triangle Construction to obtain crushed concrete which I knew would NOT wash away, based on my experience using it to repair the driveway by Lothlorien House. They said they were out, and wouldn't have any more for at least a couple of weeks. And more storms were approaching! So I did the only thing I could do, which was to put a heavy tarp in the back of the El Camino and proceed to shovel about 2 tons of the concrete that I still had left over from the driveway into the truck and take it over to the sinkhole. Since the El Camino has a weight capacity of around 1000 pounds, this took me 5 trips.
The fact that I was physically able to do this is, of course, evidence that I am not "disabled" per se. However, I was completely exhausted and hurt like hell, barely able to get out of bed on Wednesday and Thursday. This is characteristic and one of the defining symptoms of CFIDS, that any physical exertion requires a couple of days for recovery. I am starting to feel more "normal" (or what passes for "normal") today. As usual, though, I once again woke up after just about 5 hours of sleep and tried with limited success to go back to sleep for a few hours. Were I to get up at that point, I would have been nauseated, in pain, shaky, light-headed and brain-fogged, which is what happens any time I do not get at least 9 hours of sleep.
When I got up a few hours later, I had a phone message from the very prestigious medical transcription company whose recruiter had approached me about joining their team. I had previously interviewed on the phone with her and also completed a series of very extensive and difficult tests and sent in my application, not expecting much. My accuracy was high but my speed was quite slow. Having quit my previous transcription job in April when it became painfully obvious that I could no longer type well enough to do it, I really was not looking for a transcriber position. But, because this company has a great reputation and they only hire the very best, I was flattered that they asked me, unsolicited. They had seen my resume' on a site where I had posted, looking for a medical editing, writing or records review opportunity. My ego along with my financial desperation got the best of me and I began to think excitedly, "Maybe I can do this!"
Upon learning more about the pay scale, the hours and productivity requirements and doing the math, however, I realized that at my speed I would be lucky to make approximately $6/hour before double (contractor) taxes and would have to put in far more hours than I could reasonably handle along with my other jobs. If I quit my other jobs and did the transcription at least full-time, I might be able to make around $9/hour, but that's not an option because I cannot type more than 6-7 hours per day, at best. And I am extremely reluctant to quit my psychic/ counseling and yoga teaching jobs, not only because I love them, but also because the transcription company requires at least 99.5% accuracy along with the minimum production volume, and thus has a high turnover rate. If I could not keep up, which realistically I have about a snowball's chance in hell of doing, then I would be left with nothing. So I returned the phone call, reluctantly declining their offer.
People thought I was crazy. I had to explain to my friends on Facebook why on earth I would turn down such a great opportunity: Because I can do math, and I can't live on $6/hour, work 8+ hours per day, and/or be on-call 24/7. It's just not physically possible. If the pay was higher and the hours shorter, maybe I could do it. Maybe. That's why I am still open to the idea of transcribing part-time for a local doctor, where I could set my own hours, and make more money by eliminating the middleman. I would prefer, however, to do the medical records review (higher pay, more analysis and less typing), but have not heard back yet from any of the lawyers to whom I sent proposals last week.
And once again, as usual, another friend wanted to know, "Well then why don't you just get on Disability?" I explained that I don't qualify because according to what I was told when my SSDI was turned down in 1995, in the State of Florida you're not "disabled" if you can still talk on the phone from home - which is what I am doing now, on the psychic and counseling lines. And I was much sicker back then. Besides, having transcribed quite a few SSDI reports, I am all too aware of how the system works and just how "disabled" you have to be, in order to qualify. I've seen many patients sicker than myself fail to meet the criteria.
I don't want to be "disabled" anyway. I want to be productive. I want to make money, preferably doing something that I enjoy and am good at, although perhaps that is asking too much.
The Psychic Line has been picking up a bit the last few days, thankfully. And I still remain optimistic that California Psychics may hire me as well. This is, after all, the job that Social Security told me I ought to be doing, and maybe they were right.