Disability Grant For Neuropathy Disabled Michael To Get Electric Wheelchair
by Michael Downs
(Newport Beach, CA, USA)
Hello, my name is Michael Downs. I come from a loving family. My parents have been married since 1957!!
I have a sister named Michele. Her husband David is a pastor at Calvary Chapel. I had an older sister, Kelly, who unfortunately died four years ago from kidney failure.
Michael Downs and Family in Better Times
I grew up playing all sports but my big love was football. I played for 16 seasons, until age 22. I played in college too. The reason I mention that is to let you know that I was all about being healthy and working out.
I followed in my dad's footsteps and graduated from The University of Southern California School of Dentistry in 1990. I immediately went to work for my dad.
I was lucky enough to coach football at Newport Harbor High School after graduating; this was possible because I started working for my dad with literally zero patients!! So for the first five years in the fall I was able to take off of work at 2pm every day to go coach.
In 1994 we were 14-0 and won a C.I.F. championship! After coaching for five seasons, I became too busy at work to continue. I miss it terribly.
I soon met my soon to be wife at a dog charity event in L.A. She was the entertainment, she sat up on stage and played her guitar and sang for the nearly 400 guests.
I heard her voice before I saw her and told myself that I just HAD to meet her. Within a year we were married.
Even though we were very different, they say opposites attract and they're right!!! We enjoyed many years of a fun marriage. We owned five dogs and two horses and spent all of our free time camping.
After about 15 years unfortunately we started having money problems. And we all know that money problems in a marriage are difficult to get through. But because of my disability I was unable to work enough to keep up with the bills and sadly it ended up in divorce.
It's been five years now and I'm still heartbroken.
She was unable to have children so we never had kids, which still makes me very sad. Who wants to grow old without kids in your life?
My primary disability is severe diabetic neuropathy. It has caused my feet, lower legs and hands to become totally numb and very painful.
Pain medicine doesn't work against severe neuropathy so I have to learn to live with it. At times it gets me really depressed.
The neuropathy has spread to my right knee and right hip, as well as the femoral nerve. It's causing a lot of aching type pain in my groin running around the front of my leg near my pelvis.
No matter how many doctors I see and no matter how well I control my sugar (I have Type 2 diabetes) it just seems to get worse.
Having severe neuropathy is not only very painful but it's a constant reminder that I'm very sick and most likely won't be able to grow old. It can be very depressing.
I have knee problems (my medial collateral ligaments) that also cause a lot of pain and make walking over 400 yards extremely difficult.
Also, both shoulders have serious problems. My right shoulder has a torn rotator cuff and torn tendons and my left shoulder has a torn labrum and torn muscles. Both shoulders are very painful and can often ache all day.
Also, I just had a large tumor removed from the center of my chest. They had to crack my ribcage open in order to remove it. Thank God it was benign.
In addition, I was born with only one kidney and my urine has been tested several times and it always has high protein in it, which is a sign of kidney disease.
I live every day in pain from the neuropathy in my feet especially and a lot of constant pain in my knees, hip, right groin and both shoulders. It takes its toll on me mentally.
And it prevents me from working. I couldn't practice dentistry even if I wanted to because my fingers and hands are too numb.
I'm unable to live alone. Because the neuropathy in my feet causes me to trip and fall often, I find it extremely difficult to go up and down stairs. I have to go very slow and take just one stair at a time. Even then I've fallen a few times!!!
I have a wheelchair but am unable to use it on my own due to the pain in my shoulders. I desperately need an electric wheelchair.Financial Hardship
Because of the way everything happened, I put my office up for sale way too late.
And because I was unable to work I couldn't pay my rent in my building where I had paid faithfully for 15 years. I had three days to pay or they were going to lock me out.
Thank God I have a good family and close friends because we went up to my office on the 7th floor and since I had always been so kind to the guards they allowed me to use the big elevators on the weekend… when they were supposed to be closed!
We moved everything including x-ray machines and very heavy chairs plus EVERYTHING else out before they were able to lock me out. We put all of it in storage with the hope I could somehow find a cure for neuropathy and get back to work, but there simply is no cure.
I had to apply for state health insurance and disability. I was awarded both. Unfortunately the Doctors who accept cal optima insurance are pretty much the bottom of the barrel. I was awarded $1035 a month in disability.
I'm in such debt that the money is spent the same day I receive it. I have to live every month with no money.
I desperately need an electric wheelchair. And I need a small truck fitted with a lift so I can carry my chair with me and be able to have some kind of life without having to rely on my 80-year-old parents.Income Efforts
I've tried to take surveys online to make extra money but most of those are scams.
In addition to my $1035 a month in disability, I receive $87 a month in food stamps.
If my parents weren't alive I would, without a doubt, be homeless. I was told that if I earn any substantial amount of money I will lose both my benefits and my health insurance. So I feel stuck.
Going back to a regular job for me would be impossible because I don't know how bad my pain will be from day to day. I have to spend many of my days in bed due to the pain.
I'm trying to apply for a grant to obtain an electric wheelchair and a small truck with a lift retrofitted to lift my electric wheelchair up and down. This is the first time I have ever tried to apply for a grant of any kind.Specific Needs
What I desperately need in order to have any kind of life is both the electric wheelchair as well as a small, inexpensive truck, like the little Chevy Colorado retrofitted with a lift in the bed to be able to carry my chair around with me.
I pray that I can be awarded these grants. Without them I will basically be a prisoner in my own home. God Bless and always, Stand Tall, Michael DownsBusiness Idea
I have an idea that I would love to try and obtain a patent for. I figure it would take up to $10K in order to fabricate a prototype and apply for all of the necessary paperwork etc.
It's a really good idea... it's basically a upper denture that people with no teeth can purchase at a pharmacy for less than 50 dollars that will mold to their mouth just like a football mouthpiece molds to your teeth.
There are millions of people all over the world who can't afford dentures. This product would allow those individuals to purchase the product so they can smile again and regain some dignity.