Friday, July 14, 2017


Not my picture, not my feet. Not my husband's feet either. He never wears sandals.
Linger is such a lovely word. It has a nice ring, ding, sing kind of sound. And it often means a stolen moment of luxury. You linger to delay leaving a friend, a lover, or a beautiful place.

Even when lingering is used in a negative sense--as with an illness, suspicion, or odor-- it softens the problem ever so slightly. A lingering illness hasn't become chronic. A lingering suspicion hasn't been confirmed. A lingering odor isn't overpowering.

But what a difference a prefix can make. add mal- Latin for evil, and everything changes. To  malinger is to earn the maledictions reserved for malevolent, malicious, malcontents.

 A malingerer fakes illness or injury to avoid work. What could be worse in a society that defines us by our productivity?

Why the vocabulary lesson? It's connected with two forms my lawyer wants my doctor to fill out. These forms will be used in my social security disability claim for rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.

He won't actually fill them out. I know this from experience. The nurse will do it and the doctor will sign them. How will the nurse get the answers? In the past, she has called me.
Maleficent never malingers.

So I have this excellent plan. I will type up my answers so she can copy them. I have records requests to drop off too, so I'll get all the paperwork lined up, drive to three offices in a logical order, then maybe end up at the aquarium.

It sounds efficient, and exhausting. And my rheumatologist's office is closed on Fridays. So I have postponed this errand every day for longer than I care to find out. Of course procrastination makes everything worse. So I'm sitting here, after noon, doing my first worthwhile tasks of the day--trying to write medical answers and two blog posts.

The questions are about the length and severity of my illnesses and my ability to work in spite of them. Both forms ask, as a yes or no question, "Is your patient a malingerer?" Unlike many of the questions, which have lines for explanation, yes and no are the only choices.

Do I look like this? 

So what is my answer?

Today I felt like a malingerer when my husband left for work and I just rolled over in bed.

More so after breakfast, when I couldn't even knit the few lines I planned to accomplish this morning before writing. Instead I took all pain-related drugs I could find and went back to sleep for a few hours.

(I really felt like a malingerer when I found out later that the reason my son didn't answer the door or the phone--which I chose to ignore--was because he locked himself out and was knocking and calling me to let him back in. Oops.)

There are also questions about how far I can walk; how much I can lift, sit, stand; what percentage of each day can be spend turning, reaching, or grasping. I have made my best guesses which will become my doctor's official best guesses.
I would have to fake more than health to teach trig.

What I know without a doubt is that I am not pretending to be sick.

I do pretend to function normally. I pretended to function well enough and long enough to teach sick for more than a decade. But now I  can only hold myself together for an hour or two at a time. I haven't yet figured out how to earn a living without functioning normally.

Musical, mathematical, and literary  geniuses come up with amazing products from bed or their bathtubs. I am no genius. There are large chunks of a bad novel written in my head, but putting it on paper has gone slowly and I still need to figure out how the plot is going to work.

If I become a famous writer, would Bryan Cranston play me in the movie or Scarlett Johansson?

The forms are finally finished. They weren't good for my self esteem. It's a problem when the goal is to prove I'm not good for much of anything. But honestly, I wouldn't hire me. Now I want to go back to bed, but will do a few dishes first to feel less useless.

I could run forms around, but by the time I shower and get dressed it will be too late. Maybe I can visit the other two offices tomorrow and visit the rheumatologist  Monday. I can't do much about my "malingering", but I can stop procrastinating.


Sadly, no one can make a living knitting. Machines have been so much faster for the past 400 years or more. Also, I can only knit a few hours a day, again punctuated by many breaks, but I have made good progress on the commission for my friend and started on the border.

I finished the little mermaid tail, but sent it off without a picture. I've decided to make three more by Christmas, so there will be more chances.

Next week I am traveling to a Shakespeare festival in Cedar City Utah. Our time there will consist of watching two plays and resting a lot. I will bring the alpaca throw for quiet, thinking minutes and a very easy Christmas present blanket for knitting to carry around. I'll show what I produce and let you know if I survive next week.


  1. You might not feel strong but we all feel of your strength. You have such a talent to write and express yourself. Your body feel weak and tired but your mind is strong and active. My sister, who suffered from many of the things you do, applied for SSD three times before it was granted. To quote a good man "Never, Never, Never give up!"

  2. Thank you so much, Ann. My body feels best when I can distract my mind. I am so thankful that writing can keep me in touch with people like you.