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Disability Grant For Mom With Ankylosing Spondylitis To Fix Home And Car

by Patricia Gladden
(Lobelville, Tennessee, USA)

I am a 51-year-old disabled mother of two sons. We live in Lobelville, Tennessee.

My boys are disabled too. They both have Asperger syndrome, which is a form of autism.

Johnny, my oldest son is 22. He went to technical school to learn how to work on computers. He is almost finished.

Daniel, my youngest son, is 15. He will be going into the 10th grade in August.

Both my boys are so smart. They say that autistic kids are extremely intelligent.

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I have been married to John for 26 years. It will be 27 years in November. John is disabled as well.

We are separated right now because he is schizophrenic/bipolar and would not stay on his meds. He is living in a travel trailer at the front of our property per the judgment after the last breakdown.

He was hospitalized for a while and is now doing somewhat better. We love him and hope he gets better.

I was adopted when I was three and my parents have passed away now. My birth parents are still alive.

He lives in Texas and several of my natural brothers and sisters live there too. It is too far to visit, and I don't have a vehicle that could make it that far.

While my youngest brother Shaun was on vacation, he came from Texas to see me Friday July 26, 2013.

Some of my natural sisters live in Arkansas. My natural mother is in a nursing home in Memphis Tennessee.

I talk to Wendy, one of my sisters, who lives in Arkansas, more than my other brothers and sisters. She calls me more and I did talk to her on Facebook until my hands started bothering me so much.

I have a home health aid that cleans my house and helps take care of me. April works five hours a day, five days a week. I wish I had more time, but that is all that TennCare choices will allow.

April is more like a family member or a daughter than an employee. I thank God she is here for us.

Disability Issues

My disability is I have a crippling arthritis in my spine called ankylosing spondylitis.

I am in a hospital bed most of the time. It hurts to sit up for long periods of time, because my tailbone protrudes and it hurts really bad.

I have a gel foam cushion for my chair, but it doesn't help.

I have five herniated discs in my c-spine and three herniated discs in my lower spine. I have degenerative disc disease and osteoporosis.

I have to support my neck because I have trouble holding my head up for long periods of time.

I have high blood pressure, I am diabetic and I have severe neuropathy in my legs and feet.

It hurts so bad I cannot stand to wear shoes or socks on my feet. It hurts my legs and feet to touch anything when they are that bad. Now it is starting in my hands.

I take 22 different medications, and TennCare only pays for a portion of that.

Five of my teeth have broken off to the gums and I have lost some fillings and now my bridges won't stay in. I have had three different abscesses on my teeth.

I do not have dental insurance.

My primary care doctor gave me antibiotics for the infections at the time. When you don't have money or dental insurance you can't afford to go to a dentist.

In my case, I need a dental surgeon since my teeth broke off even with the gums.

I had one of those teeth pulled July 25, 2013 and now I owe more money.

I am supposed to go back in two weeks and have the rest of the roots taken out. I don't know how I'm going to afford to do that.

Both my sons are disabled with Asperger syndrome, a high functioning form of autism. They experience attention deficit, hyperactivity and some anger problems. Meds help.

My oldest son Johnny, who is 22, tested positive for ankylosing spondylitis. I just hope his does not become active.

My youngest son Daniel is 15. He tested negative for ankylosing spondylitis.

I give these boys a lot of credit. They help me a lot. I guess we take care of each other.

I love them so much and I am so proud of them, especially since they are disabled as well.

Financial Hardship

The income I have is just not enough for three people and all the bills and medications I have to pay for.

I have several credit cards we used to help pay for gas to get to doctors before I got my chair and I paid for medications.

I don't have the money to pay for them and I am way behind on them. They were turned over to collections.

I also have medical expenses from before I got my TennCare.

The collection companies call my house all the time. I have got to where I just don't answer the calls. I got tired of telling them I am sick and I just don't have the money.

My name is on one of my husband's dental credit cards. The balance is very high.

All of these things have caused my credit to be bad.

As a result, I cannot even get help through my utilities to get a loan for a heat pump central air conditioner and heater.

And my trailer is so old and falling apart, the heat pump would probably only cool and heat the outside. Please help!!!

Income Efforts

I am not able to work at all. All I receive is SSI and that is only $473.34 a month. My boys draw $361 each from their dad. I get food stamps.

When I first became disabled from my job, I collected short-term disability for three months and then long-term disability.

After a year, they told me they thought I was able to go back to work. I appealed this and my doctor wrote letters. I even went and was tested by their doctors.

They felt I could do something like be a cashier in a lunchroom. I appealed this again after I was approved for my SSI.

I told them that I was not able to sit up for long periods of time because my disease had progressed so far at that point.

They still denied and dropped my long-term disability.

I go to the Baptist Church in Linden twice a month to get food at the food bank.

I don't get help from friends and family because they don't have money either.

Specific Needs

I'm looking for any grants and benefits that can help me and me and my family with the following needs.

I really need a handicap-ready green home built on my property I would love for it to be built into the side of my hill. That would give us protection during a storm and save on the utilities.

Right now I have a singlewide 16x80 trailer. It is an older model and is water damaged.

The floor has come loose from the walls on the front side of the trailer. You can actually look down between the wall and the floor and see the ground outside under the trailer from the living room down to about the middle of the hallway.

I cannot even lock my front door because it is so off balance. Because of this I lost my homeowners insurance. They did not cover flood or water damage and I didn't have the money on SSI to fix it.

The bank that holds the mortgage ($400/month for the next 20 years) for my trailer and land took out insurance. In case anything happens that insurance will only pay off the loan. Anything I would lose I would not get back.

My central air conditioner does not work. Someone from my church gave me an old window unit that is worn out and doesn't have a front cover on it.

It is in the kitchen, which is open to the living room. It helped more last year.

I also have a small one in the living room and fans. It just barely takes the edge off. If it is 100 degrees outside, it is 90 inside.

In the winter we have little electric heaters and a gas cooking stove.

I also need a special cushion for my chair. It hurts my tailbone to sit for long and the plastic air donut does not help. Also the arms of the chair and the leg lifts are so hard it hurts me. Lamb's wool would help the arms of the chair.

Also I need a memory foam mattress for my hospital bed. I hurt 24/7. TennCare won't get it for me because I don't have sores on my bottom yet. And of course, I'm trying my best not to have sores. But I hurt so bad it would help my pain ease up some if I were comfortable.

I also need a handicap vehicle with a wheelchair lift for my Hoveround chair. I can't go anywhere unless I call public transportation. That has to be three days ahead and then it can turn into an all-day thing. I only call them for food bank days and when I have to go to the doctor.

We have a 1990 minivan but no chair lift. My van is in really bad shape. The tires are almost bare. My son wrecked it last year. It has front and side damage. He pulled out into the side of an 18-wheeler. We only had liability insurance so I can't afford to fix it.

The AC and heater don't work and the driver's side window only comes down about six inches and the passenger window doesn't come down at all.

The engine sounds rough. My son's friend said it might just need spark plugs for that but he needs to check it and hasn't had time.

My son only uses the van to go to town for food or supplies for us or my home health caregiver uses her car to go to the store. I am not able to drive because my medication makes me sleepy plus I can't get in and out of the van by myself.

I also need help paying for my medication that TennCare does not cover. It is very expensive when you don't have much money coming in.

It took me a couple of weeks to type this due to my hands and then some kind of glitch from the website and I lost everything. After that I just typed it on Windows WordPad.

It hurts me for the laptop to sit on me in the bed to type. I wish I could just tell it what to do like the dragon software they show on the television. (Well I found it on eBay for $35 and got it.)

Although I am blessed to have one that works thanks to a friend I do wish it was lighter and did not hurt for it to sit on me.

If I had a lighter laptop I would give this one to my youngest son to keep him from wanting to use mine when I am busy with it or fighting with my oldest son over his computer he got with his school money. Kids!!!

We also need a way to get our grass cut. It is a large area to be cut. Right now it needs to be bush hogged it is so out of hand. If we could ever get it cut we could keep it up with a riding lawnmower.

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Jan 07, 2015
by: Patricia Gladden

This is a correction some of the wording on my update one year later and throughout my story. It is not Tennessee care; it is Tenncare. Also it is Tenncare choices not Tennessee choices. Also I do receive SSI because my last job I did not work long enough to qualify for Social Security pay, only Disability SSI.

Jan 07, 2015
Thank you!
by: Patricia Gladden

Thank you very much for your help. I have been very sick and lost my caregiver. She is sick and off work for a while. I have a new one now. Anyhow it has gotten very difficult to type with my hands between the neuropathy and arthritis; it has become very hard on me. So I have not been online very much. I just recently saw your post. I still need grants for my needs in the above story. Again, thank you for your help so far!!!

Aug 27, 2014
Have you got the Workbook yet?
by: Donald


Because your story has been published, you are now eligible to receive the Workbook that shows you how to use your story. I will write to you directly to let you know how to get the Workbook.

Don Coggan

Aug 27, 2014
Update one year later
by: Patricia Gladden

I had surgery on my neck July 17, 2014 -- a four-level discectomy and fusions. I was born with my neck spinal canal too small. I guess when they tubed me, I bit my tongue with one the teeth that broke off. So after surgery my tongue was swollen very large and I had trouble talking. Also the majority of my tongue and the top of my head is numb I guess from them touching a nerve during surgery.

I saw a specialist and he and my primary care doctor said the teeth need to come out from an oral surgeon but unfortunately Tennessee Care doesn't pay for it. They are writing letters to Tennessee Care, but they said don't keep my hopes up.

Anyhow I will be glad when I come out of this brace. The neurosurgeon told me I had to wear it for six weeks. I went to see him four weeks after the surgery and I had x-rays at the hospital close to me. He told me he would call me after the hospital where I had them done sent them to him.

So I am still in the brace and one week to go if the x-rays are ok. Then I start therapy and heal for a little while then he will re-scan the rest of my back. I hope the disease I have does not make my neck bad again. Sometimes it feels like a losing battle. All I can do is pray about it.

The help I get from Tennessee Care choices is a home health aide and it is not April anymore; she has been sick. The new girl does not do much cleaning. Granted it is hot in here, but my home is going downhill. Help anybody. (She quit today and is moving back to where she came from!)

I do what I can. But I have trouble walking and holding myself up on the walker. Because of this help I had to sign a paper like a nursing home form that if anything happens to me the property will be sold and they will get paid for services rendered. I wish I had not done that. This property is all I have to give to my boys.

Please help me find a way to get grants or something to help build a handicap ready home with an office for Johnny to work on his computers and not in the living room. I don't know how to get grants for all I need and I sure don't have the money. I'm not on SSI disability. This disease is not going away. But I don't want to lose what I have through bills and home health.

I know you have a lot on your plate but please help me. I can't do a lot from a hospital bed. This arthritis has taken over my whole body.

Aug 21, 2013
by: Patricia Gladden

This is an update to my story...

About the mowing of the lawn, we do not have a riding lawnmower or weed-eater at all right now. Donations would be appreciated. Unfortunately a push mower would not work for our property because the ground is too uneven and bumpy. Also it is a large area to be cut.

The weeds are now growing over my ramp and making it difficult for me to get in and out of my door. I asked someone from the church if they would ask someone to help get my grass cut and the response was that we don't keep it up afterwards. Well I cannot keep it up when I don't even have the money to buy a lawnmower or a weed-eater.

I had been trying to save money for an air conditioner to help keep us cool and then my refrigerator went out and I had to get another refrigerator with that money. Now I'm broke again. Thank God for the Linden Repair Shop where you can get used refrigerators and appliances.

I had a sleep study and the oxygen level drops down to 82% because even when I'm awake I tend to breathe the too shallow. I guess it's because I hurt so bad all the time. Anyhow I still haven't heard anything from anyone to help. I'm praying everyday maybe the good Lord will answer our prayers. Or find someone to help me apply for some grants. I just don't know what to do.

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