Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Dr. Orthochick: Disability

Me: Do you work?

Patient: I'm on disability

Me: For what?

Patient: Social anxiety. But I don't need to take medications for it.

Me: Uh, OK

Patient: If I'm going someplace where I don't know anyone, I get really nervous.

Me: I see.

Patient: But I also think I have a touch of bipolar. Sometimes I can be really happy and really sad in the same day

...and if you would excuse me, I'm off to file my disability application, which is approximately 20 years overdue.

(I told that one to another resident, and he told me he had a patient the other week on disability for chronic back pain who was up on her roof shingling when she fell off and broke her femur. He heard her talking to her sister and she said "my disability coordinator is not going to like this one.")

Final story: one of my buddies who's a primary care physician in Texas told me this one:

Patient: I'm just here for my yearly physical so I can keep on getting disability

PCP: You're 22 and you don't take medications. Why are you on disability?

Patient: I'm gay

PCP: So?

Patient: Well, when I tell people I'm gay, I get made fun of. So I can't work.


  1. I understand your frustrations with these types of people. But it's like drug seeker stories -- they're the exceptions, not the rule.

    There certainly are people who abuse the system (like these clowns) and they make it that much harder for the rest of us. No wonder there's such a delay in processing SSDI paperwork.

    Let's fire them out of a cannon towards the sun.

  2. We have a lot of people who get undue disability in South Africa - usually when a person needs long term OT/PT/social follow up in order to regain stability but they are unavailable in the patient's area.
    But I have never experienced hilarious ones like this. Incredible.

  3. I don't know if they're the exceptions, but they do ruin things for the truly disabled. I always ask patients why a person is disabled and frequently get answers similar to the ones above.

    My next door neighbor is disabled due to fibromyalgia. She runs up and down the steps, drives, and has her own business which requires her to carry heavy items. But she also gets disability payments and food stamps. She smokes a pack a day and pays $160/month for cable TV. I don't think the government should subsidize her when she is clearly able to work. She makes a mockery of the truly disabled.

  4. I have been told I should try to get disability because of severe mental illness....but I haven't tried it yet and maybe it is because of the huge stigma out there......Hum........?

    Yes, I have tried working....I guess McD's during the lunch rush hour wasn't the best idea....and yes, I do have a college degree.

  5. I didn't know being gay was a disability.

    Half the people on disability are irresponsible, lazy, good for nothings.

  6. I saw paperwork that someone was filing for disability for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Nothing else, just those two. They also lied on their application and said my doctor treated them for xx on specific dates recently, no records for the past 7 years.

  7. A sibling of mine has been on disability and it was truly surprising how difficult it was to get SSDI. I wonder how these other people get it.
    My sibling's disease has now been resolved and is back to work and will be going off disability. I say this to illustrate that not all people on it represent the stories above.

  8. I think disability depends too much on whoever is approving it in the area. I know there have been stories about towns where a high percentage of people are on disability. From a docs standpoint, I find it frustrating to do the continual paperwork especially when I don't support the patient getting disability.

  9. I've been on disability for over 17 years and am one of the people who truly will never really be able to contemplate working. I live with a severe mental illness and fibromyalgia. I want to thank all of you who do work for making it possible for me to not have to worry about how I'll have a roof over my head and food to eat. I really am very thankful! Also, my 21 year old son will be pretty happy to know he doesn't have to work because he's gay! Why did we never think of that? (Yes, kidding!)

  10. To those with fibromyalgia - if you are overweight, lose it. And keep moving above all else. I have/had severe fibromyalgia for a number of years - what made it better was losing weight, eliminating gluten and other grains, and walking or riding my bike every day. You can take control of your life and your health. Don't fall prey to 'pain clinic' BS that puts you on meds and makes you feel like you're a victim. I am not criticizing or diminishing the pain associated with fibromyalgia - but a sedentary lifestyle and bad food choices makes it much much worse. If you have the ability to use a hot tub that also helps. And keep that anxiety level down! Smile!
    p.s. I have a sibling with a chronic, life-long severe mental illness who is on disability - it just pisses me off no end when I see those not truly disabled on the dole.