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Old 08-17-2008, 02:05 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Posts: 155
chicubs HB User
memory test and mental health examination???

This is the first time I have posted on this site. I usually post of the pain management board. But I have a few questions that I believe that you people could help with me with better.

I have been diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome. Or RSD, it is also called; Complex Regional Pain. It has been over two and half years since I was diagnosed. It has also been that long since I worked.

I applied for Social Security around March of 2008. In June I received a letter stating they wanted more information from me and I had to fill out some more forms. Then on August 12th I received another letter telling me that they wanted me to see one of their doctors on September 9th. The reason for this appointment is to have a memory test and Mental health examination.

The test and the examination will be done by a psychiatrist. I am confused as to why they would not want me to see one of their doctors for physical examination.

Do you think that will may come later? Also has anybody else needed to have a memory test and Mental health examination?

What can I expect will happen when I take this memory test and the mental health examination? Also does anybody know what their next step may be before they make their final decision?

I appreciate any help anybody can give me. It is so nice to have this site to come to and ask questions. It does make the process a little bit less stressful knowing that other people are also going through what I am!

May Your Day Be Healthy and Happy

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Old 08-17-2008, 07:44 AM   #2
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Re: memory test and mental health examination???

hi chris,so sorry you have this crap too. i ended up with my RSD after a spinal cord surgery damaged alot of things,including my sympathetic. i went thru the mental exam too. what they really do is just kind of ask you questions as to how this is impacting your life. i was totally honest with the man i spoke to(he was really a nice guy and i wasn't sure if this was just for show or not,but he did approve me,he must have been genuine) and just told him what i used to be able to do and what now had been just taken from me and how this really affected my already present depression. they just ask you at the very beginning to try and remeber like three or four things he mentions? then later,he will ask you to try and remeber what those things were. i am not too sure just what this does or not,but i couldn;t remeber a couple things he told me at the beginning when he asked me. he did confirm my depression,and also Dxed me with recurrent severe depression as well. i do think his exam is what allowed me to get awarded benefits this time around,since i was denied at first. but i was not sent for this exam the very first time around either only the second,in the recon phase.

the best possible thing you can do,espescially considering they did change the RSD guidelines for approval a few years ago for the better? is just document as much of your RSD symptoms and how this has impacted you in the best possible ways. have you ever been Dxed with depression are you on any anti depression meds at this time? just be totally and completely honest with the person doing the eval. you already KNOW what just having to deal with this churning burning hell has done to you and your life(also how it has made you feel),now you let him know ya know?

one thing i made certain to do after i kept getting alot of the same stuff to fill out over again from SSD is i started to make copies of EVERYTHING that i filled out or letters i wrote to SSD so i could have them for reference. saved me alot of hassle believe me. while it will be a bit nerve wracking going into your appt(that nasty fear of the unknown crap),just try and be yourself and just very brutally honest with what you are dealing with. i am sure you will do fine. let me know how things go hon. good luck,Marcia
3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

Old 08-17-2008, 10:54 PM   #3
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Location: Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
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chicubs HB User
Re: memory test and mental health examination???

Marcia, thank you so much for replying to my post. You will not believe how you have calmed me down. You are right in saying it is the "unknown" and what to expect that scares me.
I even was saying "yes" out loud when you mentioned about the churning burning. That darn burning never seems to end does it?
Two years ago I applied for SS but was denied. This time around though I have gone further than before. If I remember correctly I was denied almost right away. So I guess that I am happy that they are sending me to see their doctor. Also the difference now is that RSD has spread so badly. There are days that I just cannot even walk. And I try to keep moving. I am taking beginning Yoga four evenings a week to help with strength and flexibility. But still there are days that I am in too much pain and my legs are just too weak to work. It can down right be scary when they get so weak. I am even afraid that I may fall because they won't carry me anymore. And I am not a real heavy person either.
I will make sure to tell this doctor just how much RSD has changed me. I was teaching and training student teachers in child care at our technical college for 22 years and now there is no way I would be able to return to work. I have not worked for two and half years. Golfing use to be a passion of mine and now I can't even golf. I also have carpal tunnel in both of my wrists but I refuse to have surgery because of the risk of the RSD spreading.
Sometimes I just cry when I think how much my life has changed. And it's not just mine life but my husbands as well. I get depressed just thinking about the burden I must be for him. Although he tells me differently every time I may bring that up. I have not been DXED for depression. But I do take cymbalta which is antidepressant. I take it because my doctor told me that it would help with the nerve pain. But I Will make sure to tell the doctor how I feel like burden sometimes. I know I will be crying during this part of the examination. I don't want him or her to think that I am trying to cry. I hope they believe me when I tell them how scary this is for us. I guess I can only be truthful. Don't they say that the truth will set you free?!?!
I thank you again for all your advice. I have already been making copies every document concerning my RSD. That file is getting quite large!! I also hope that I get a nice person like you had. I hope they understand and are not just condescending to me.
Did you know that day how the doctor felt about your evaluation and memory test? I mean does he/she tell you that they feel that you should be approved or not? When you get a chance I would love to hear back from you or anybody else that has the answers to my questions.
Take care and;
May today be a Healthy and Happy one for you ,

Old 08-18-2008, 06:53 AM   #4
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: hammond
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auntduci37 HB User
Re: memory test and mental health examination???

my exam was very pressured, the pdoc didnt allow enough time to let me answer. unless that was her intention.

they make you count like backwards from 100 by 7's..etc..
nothing to be nervous about. just answer the best you can.

depression affects your memory, just like anxiety does.

so that alone will make ya sweat.but mine mostly wanted history, yes and no answers which you cant always give.

name past 5 presidents, finish sentences like "a bird in the hand"
or "people in glass houses"

funny my memory was bad but now i can recall this interview like it was
just not something you can study for, nor i wouldnt want to. need to be honest.
youll be fine.

anyone that is going for pain, usually they are depressed too...

but after my exam i received a letter shortly of the decision.
like a week or 2

Old 08-18-2008, 07:35 AM   #5
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Re: memory test and mental health examination???

everything that you posted here is what you need to impress upon the doc you see. i used to be an emt/firefighter,but not anymore. that was the hardest part of my life i was forced to have to give up. it was very very hard to turn in my resignation to the FD. this doc just really needs to know 'you" and how badly your sitruation has affected you and everyone around you too. i feel so damn needy so much of the time,with my family having to take me to places,like many doc appts,that i used to be able to simply all do by myself. you DO feel like a bother and burden sometimes,and that just takes away from you and your sense of independance and your 'worth'.

to my knowledge,the only way you can find out about how that interview went is to actually have checked that box on that form you signed and sent back to them when you were informed of this interview? it asks whether or not you want a copy of this upcomming interview sent to your primary doc or not? i checked yes since my primary always gives me anything from my file that i ask for,i knew i could obtain that from him since ssd wont just send you out a copy. i had no idea really just how my appt actually "went' from the doc i spoke to. it was only after i read my report that i knew he actually "got it' about just how bad things were for me. i KNOW that helped,alot.

i also told my interview guy just how much worse my depression and my body had become simply becasue i was not even able to do the things i used to do when i felt bad or a bit depressed,stressed or just needed to clear my head of all the crap everyday? i used to love to work in my gardens everyday just to get alot of crap inside my head out,ya know? or just try and work thru some sort of problem or issue i was having that day? walking used to do that for me too. can't really do either anymore so alot of the crap just stays stuck in my head with no real way to release it anymore as well. now things seem to just build til i blow kind of thing? and it worsens my depression. it sucks.

just really let this person know EXACTLY how and in what ways this has affected you and your "normal' life. the person you used to be and what you have now been forced to suck up and simply "live with" and accept as the new "normal". i know my life changed dramatically from what it was and who i was to now. just tell that doc what you stated here and then elaborate on the really bad stuff that has affected you the most,and what it has resulted in for you to have to deal with. i do think you will do just fine. hopefully he or she will see what you feel. please let me know how things are going. good luck hon,Marcia
3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

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