Hi all! I am a first time visitor to this site and to these forums. I apologize if my understanding about my issues or how the forums work is less then stellar. Where do I begin?
Well, I injured my back lifting weights when I was 15. After 6 months of the injury I finally had an MRI done. I was shown and told that I had 3 Bulging discs in my lower lumber. Worst disc was my L5-S1. I was told that being so young there was a good chance of my body healing on its own. Well, that was never the case...for the most part.
For about 12 years I was dealing with semi chronic back pain. It was much worse the year after the injury, but got some what manageable as time went on. I was never the same, or no where near what my health was before the injury. Fast forward to last year...
I guess I can say I threw out my back last winter? I couldn't stand up, was in immense pain and had what I would say was the feeling my spine was but a thin bone connected to a cracked set of hips. Being that, It felt like if I tried to move or stand up my back was gonna snap in two. From that point on, my back got worse.
I knew and told every single person around me that there was a very good chance I would need surgery. So, being the person I am. I prepared my store (I was a retail store manager) for the probability of me being out for what I thought would be only a few months while I had surgery. I lined everything up for a successful and speedy return as to cement my position while I was away. Being that I didn't want *MY* store to suffer because I was suffering...
So, in the end of september I started seeing a pain specialist. We started off with PT, then pain medication..when those had no effect and my health seemed to get worse we had an MRI which showed that I had a Degenerative disc with an HIZ (High Impact Zone/tear) in my L5-S1. After the diagnosis we tried a Facet Block, when that had no effect I underwent a Discogram. It was the worst pain I've ever felt in my entire life. After the discogram we had a CT scan taken. Which showed the tear in my L5-S1. At that point I was referred to a Spine surgeon and told that most likely I would be looking at a fusion, but I would have to wait till I spoke with the surgeon to be sure.
I meet with the surgeon, and by this time I've been out of work since Dec 20th. My Short term disability had been in effect now for 1 month, and I am allotted 3 months of STD. That's where everything went down hill, and fast. The surgeon said that I would be a candidate for spinal fusion and said I could also get a second opinion. Being the quick acting person that I am, I said "I trust you, let's get this done so I can go back to my normal life" He said, O.k. if that is what you want we will schedule the surgery. It should take only 2-4 weeks to have it done.
Then the stress kicks in. It takes 2 months to get the surgery scheduled, being the Doctors office has neglected to process my paper work promptly three times I was in jeaporday of either losing my job,losing STD and losing Insurance. I actually had my STD suspended for two months while my company and company's insurance was waiting to hear back from my doctors office on the paperwork they needed for processing my claim. Then a month into my wait I get a call saying my surgery will have to be postponed by one week. I'm thinking, I'm gonna be past my STD by the time I even have the surgery, so when in the heck will I even be able to return to work?
Fast forward a bit, I find out because I've been gone from work for so long I've lost my position as store manager. Wow. I still haven't even had surgery. What on earth am I going to do about money? I worked harder then most people in my field to go out of my way to help others and be the best at my job. I stood out from my peers and was proud of it, and I have no job even though I excelled at what I did and was recognized for my achievements.
Fast forward to the day before my scheduled surgery April 2nd. I get a call from the doctors office saying they still haven't heard back from my Insurance as to whether or not they will authorize the surgery. I call the insurance company and find out that my doctors office waited till March 24th to send in said paper work, where I was told that that was not suitable enough time for review of those documents. That there was a high chance it won't be approved by the 3rd of april, my surgery date.
I called the doctors office and they tell me it's a courtesy for them to even send in that paper work and that most offices make the patients do that. Well, that's all fine and dandy. But that kind of information would've been useful 2 months ago when I first agreed to the appointment.
April 3rd day of surgery I get a call saying that they've not heard from the insurance company as to whether or not it will be approved and that my surgery is cancelled and will need to be rescheduled. But I could not be told whether or not I would again have to wait another two months or longer to get in for surgery?
I am absolutely dumbfounded, destraut, furious and above all else in severe pain. I have had my life in the hands of people who literally do not have my best interests at heart or my health. I called another practice and go in on Monday for a consultation with another surgeon.
What I would love to know from this community is simply, what do I need to know? I assumed that since this was there job and what they do every day they go to work, that these problems would not occur and that since I've never had surgery in my life and since I have no idea what to do to prepare as far as paper work, phone calls needed to be made, financial arrangements and every other issue underneath the sun I feel like my life is over. I really truly am depressed.
Financially what do I do? I'm looking at selling things, but that still is not a source of income. I'm paying insurance premiums out of pocket while I have no STD. When does that run out? Between getting surgery scheduled and who knows how long recovery will take it will be close to a year if not longer till I can work anywhere. What do people in these situations do to survive? Please, I'm begging for guidance.
I am truly sorry that this is sooo long, and I'm pouring out everything. But I truly thought this is how it works. No sense in stressing or over reacting because these are professionals and this must be what everyone goes through and then it all just works out. So I never questioned anything, I said Yes and O.k. and That's fine! What do I get for my complete and utter compliance? Stress, loss, let downs, confusion and all else still severe pain. Please if there are any links you can suggest I will read them front to back. Any help, I swear I truly appreciate!