This Veteran's Day, I received gut-wrenching news. I was turned down at the Federal Level for my SSDI. The Facts: I have what is called an ascending and descending dissection of my aorta. It is what killed John Ritter. To put it as simply as possible. Think of your aorta as a garden hose. That hose is actually layers of different type of hosing/tubing.A hose can have an inner thick rubber layer, a middle insulating layer and the outer weather protection. What happened to me, is one of two scenarios. Its a chicken/egg scenario. Either a section... could be just a few centimeters... will POOF out suddenly. It could have happened weeks before my catastrophic event. I probably wouldn't have even noticed it. Oftentimes it doesn't feel like much more than tweaking your back. That created a weak point, as the "hose" is stretched out and thin. This is called an aneurysm. The other scenario of which came first is the tear. We do know the tear did happen that night in 2009 and its forever altered my life. We know where it started. At my aortic arch. It is the point of the greatest pressure in the aorta, as it makes a BIG bend there. So either my aorta went POOF and started to tear, or it started to tear and went POOF along the way... THREE TIMES. Yes, the tear continued up and down the entire length of my aorta. It tore straight up BOTH of my carotid arteries. It continued down to the branches off to both my kidneys. The tear continues past my kidneys and stops just short of the femoral artery, in my right leg. The only place they were able to repair? A 6cm section at the aortic arch. It took 13 hours in surgery , to repair SIX CENTIMETERS. The rest can't be repaired. I have been told multiple times, by every kind of specialist... they can't open me back up. The damage is too "severe" and it will kill me, to open me up. A board of UCLA neuro/cardio surgeons, radiologist, gave me the medical opinion of "Sometimes shitty things happen to good people", because they didn't have anything else to tell me, besides, "I don't understand how you're still alive ?" and "I haven't ever seen anything like this.". Seriously. These were surgeons with 20+ years in their fields. The heads of their respective departments, at UCLA. The odds say, its only a 3% survival chance. The looks I get from EVERY physician I encounter, tells me mine were less than that. My common greeting from doctors is, "you shouldn't be here". What I've discovered, dealing with the medical community and government bureaucracy is, maybe they're right. I'm NOT supposed to be here. But I am. I'm not going away. I survived something I shouldn't have. I live with the reality that any second, moreso than 99% of the population, I could drop dead, typing this wor... Ha ha. Trust me, humor, even dark... is comfort at times. Because of this carnage in my chest, my blood pressure must be kept BELOW 110/70. 120/80, is considered Condition Yellow for me. 140/90... well. We don't want to go there. The reason for this, is pretty simple. Increased pressure, causes shearing on the tear, traversing the entire length of my aorta INCLUDING two aneurysms, along the way. As the dissection/tear, traverses in a spiral direction around the inside, shearing will cause further tearing of the aorta. The only outcome in that case, is death. I am one of those people that my system adjusts and builds tolerances to meds, rather quickly. In the 3 years since this incident, my meds have been adjusted no fewer than at least a dozen times. My lowest recorded BP, was 63/36. It can be that low and 3 hours later, easily be 115/78... up over that safety net. Its damned if I do and damned if I don't, basically. I suffer frequent spells of vertigo. Just standing up, can trigger it. Other times, it just comes. I've encountered syncope (fainting) more than a few times. I get frequent visual disturbances, that cause my vision either to blur and difficulty focusing, or the darkness will start in my peripheral vision and start closing in. Given ALL these circumstances and medical restrictions... a court appointed Job Analyst, found that I was unqualified to do ANY work. Besides, the fact... who is going to take on my liability? But the judge, who gave my medical records to an INTERN. Found that I should be able to do some type of menial labor. Oh really? What, exactly? Given my medical reality, does it look like I should be in the work force? Federal Guidelines (section 4.10) specifically states that ANY aneurysm, is automatic 100%disabled. I have TWO! How the Hell can the Federal Government continue to deny me the benefits, I served my country for, I paid into all these years? I was there when my country needed me. Where is my country, when I need them? I don't know how much fight I have left. I have tried my congressman and the VA. Both say, I have to go thru this district court appeal. WHY!!!??? Why can't anyone tell me, if the guidelines state to give it to me... why is it being withheld?