I've about decided not to continue with my appeal. I think the fact that I can't get a hold of my medical records is God's way of telling me I need to get my money some other way. And just in case I didn't get it, a lawyer friend of my landlord's also said that it would be better for my physical and mental health if I went back to work.
I'm going to try to get set up with DARS (Department of Aging and Rehabililatative Services) and see if they can help me. I have to admit that I'm still a little worried about having to compete for a job with some kid half my age (college grads are having trouble finding jobs now), but DARS is there to advocate for me. I just hope it doesn't take too long. (I need to call them today and try to get an appointment.)
I'm also going to start withdrawing $100/month in cash from my SSI to save and not tell Social Security. (I hope no one on my friends list works for them... oops! lol) I really want to start saving immediately for a house, and even though it'll take me years, I'm willing to do it. I just don't know if I really want to stay in Dallas. I know I don't have to decide immediately, but I like to plan ahead (it's a control thing, I'll admit). Hopefully by the time comes that I can make the decision I'll have enough experience in whatever career I'm in that it won't be hard to find a job elsewhere. (I really want to do secretarial work -- that's what I trained for and what I'm good at.)
Despite being housebound for so long (I rarely go out except to go shopping or to the doctor... or to meet my friend), I'm still very much a people person. My main concern is that, with my speech impediment, I'll be stuck in a back office somewhere and won't be able to interact with many people. Another thing, I hope I'll be able to get a job among able-bodied people. That's one thing I will insist on (and I imagine the people at DARS won't have a problem with it). Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers that I'll be able to find something.