Yesterday's MRI results came back: clear! NO TUMOR!! We will check again in three months.
We have an update on her Social Security case. I posted the letter I sent to our local representatives earlier this month, detailing the trouble I have had getting her Supplemental Security Income (SSI) case approved. SSI is federal payment to disabled persons, including permanently disabled children. Scarlett qualifies, and we really needed the supplemental income to help cover expenses while I am not working. After being denied twice, then being told it would be 6-8 months for our paperwork to be processed, I was done being Mrs. Nice Guy. I wrote the letter to bring our local representatives attention to the ridiculous hoops that families like ours were bring made to jump through.
And it worked! In less than a week, I had a call from Congressman Pete Stark's office, saying that they had received my letter and that our case would be handled by Senator Dianne Feinstein's office (since I wrote to both plus Senator Barbara Boxer, only one can take on a single case). Less than TWO WEEKS later, I received a confirmation that her SSI had been approved! I got the SSI confirmation before I even received the letter from Sen. Feinstein's office acknowledging their investigation. As of December 1, Scarlett officially qualifies for SSI and we will get a very helpful check each month (until we have two steady incomes, when we will no longer financially qualify).
I wanted to share the progress on the issue, as well as how we handled it. I feel very strongly that the "system" is set up to fail people who are not diligent and who push through the bureaucracy that blankets so many of these services. It should not take months of reapplying (where, each and every time, I had to fill out 20+ pages of medical information, submit documentation and answer a slew of borderline-offensive questions) for a family in medical crisis to get the help they need. I can only imagine the difficulty we would have encountered had we not spoken English, not been able to read the paperwork, or not had a reliable phone number to receive calls.
If you are ever faced with a situation where the government services are not doing what you need, I encourage you to reach out to your representatives (if you are in the US, of course). It's their job, first and foremost, and it is something that they will give time to because a happy constituent means a possible vote for them. This was not the first time I have written to them (they each got a pageful back when I got laid off, and most of them wrote back...though 20,000+ teachers and I still got laid off!). Contact information is easy to find on the House of Representatives website, and tips on how to write this type of letter can be found here.