well, yes, it does seem like a completely ass backwards approach to solving the problem, however, i was all out of options, so i was desperate to try anything.
i removed the crypt::ssleay module and reinstalled it, but forwhatever reason it was still looking for the 0.9.8 file. i even reinstalled perl to no avail. so in another ass backwards move, i just created a link called libssl.so.0.9.8 and pointed it to libssl.so.0.9.7.
on top of that, there must have been some kind of issue with openssl 0.9.8 becuase now everything works the way that it should.