Just got back from a cruise. Spent the trip to Mobile and back reclined in the van. The cruise people were great with wheeling me and my wheelchair onto the boat and off again. Even though it is the smallest boat in the Carnival fleet, getting around the boat with my cane really wore me out. I usually was in bed right after dinner. So ultimately, while I missed all those shows and shore excursions, I really enjoyed a view different from that of my recliner.
On the way home from the cruise on Monday, I received word that my dad had a stroke. He's been in ICU ever since. Went down yesterday to visit him for a few minutes, but was too worn out to stay more than a little bit. Hope to see him again tomorrow or Friday. His communication is really messed up. He's mis-identifying family members, having problems with numbers, can't read, and so forth. There is evidence of further bleeding in the brain as well. So if you can keep him and the family in prayer, I'd appreciate it.
I also just heard back from AT&T on the appeal of the cancellation of my long-term disability benefits. After two years on LTD, they canceled my claim back in August saying that I was able to work. Totally ignored the Social Security Administration and six doctors that have all said I can't. Their rationale for denying my appeal is that there is only my word for most of my symptoms. Ignoring all the doctors that have actually seen me and evaluated me, they listened to their hired folks to basically suggest that I wasn't "better", but that my condition isn't disabling to begin with. Ignores the fact that the LTD plan doesn't allow them to do that, but when you are the big guy in the room and the only recourse is to sue some of the deepest pockets around, they do whatever they want. Ultimately, AT&T paid one group to prove to Social Security that I cannot work, successfully did so, and once I paid them back a couple of years worth of previously paid benefits, they have this other group paid to say that in fact I *can* work so that they don't have to pay me any more. It's a scam, and my lawyer wants to sue their pants off (although he put it in stronger terms).
The biggest problem is that the ERISA laws that govern these things are stacked against the disabled in favor of the employer. They can cancel a claim for whatever reason they want (in my case shopping around until they found a claims manager that could look at all the same evidence and disagree with all the prior findings), your only recourse is to appeal the decision to the same people that denied you to begin with, and if they still deny your claim (as they do 80% of the time), you can sue them....but not for any punitive damages, only for the back payments that they should have paid you to begin with. In other words, there is no down side for them. In very, very rare cases, you may get some attorney fees out of it, but if that is granted, they can appeal it so that it costs you as much as you would get back in another suit. And even if the court forces them to reinstate your benefits, they can then use the ability of a plaintiff to assist in their own case as proof that they can work and turn around and deny your claim because you have proven that you can do something. In their twisted logic, the very fact that you can prove you are disabled shows that you aren't. It is maddening and immoral that in the worst of economic times, corporations can shore up their weak profits at the expense of loyal but disabled employees that paid for those benefits for years and now, when they need them, have them denied by those that worship at the alter of corporate profits. I'm all for rewarding entrepreneurship and innovation, and am generally pro-corporation and anti-union, but when the cards are stacked so obviously against the people that need the most help, something needs to be done.
Anyway, between recovering from the "relaxing" cruise and the stress of dealing with the family issues and the corporate crooks, I'm pretty wiped out. If you don't see a lot of activity from me, that is why.