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where to get help?

jade10025jjade10025 Posts: 42
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:45 AM in Health Insurance Issues
i was not hurt on the job or as a result of my job.
I was not hurt by a specific car accident.
i was not in an accident of any kind.
i wont be outta work for a year, but ive been out over a month and have no money, insurance is about to go to cobra, i need to go back in august for money purposes, but i dont know if ill be ready. plus, i am on serious narcotics and cannot drive. im willing to take the bus if i could figure out the routes, but thats another topic.
my parents have paid my rent and my bills this month. they cannot continue doing this. plus medical bills are gonna arrive soon, and considering my insurance is not great, they will not be small.

any suggestions of programs or state help i can apply for?


  • I'm confused here. You just had three levels fused a few weeks ago? Grade 2/3 spondylolisthesis is very serious, but the fusion will have stabilized that, although it was not corrected.

    The surgery you had was very serious and will take come time to heal, and you can't rush it. Actually you can try, but you will likely end up hurting the fusion of those joints.

    I know it's a lot to ask, and hard to do, but is there any way you can move back with your parents until you've healed? I appreciate they are helping you with your rent/utilities, but you will soon need to come up with some COBRA money, which at this point I think is more important than rent. If at all possible, you do not want your insurance to lapse. I know that COBRA is expensive, but you don't want to run into problems with your spine and have your future insurance deny you for a pre-existing condition. As long as you keep insurance, this will not happen.

    As for your medical bills, call each creditor up and tell them how it is: You just had spine surgery, you lost your job, will be losing your apartment, and you don't have the means to pay their bill. Often they will come to some type of arrangement that will decrease your balance or give you extra time to pay it off.

    I'm sure it's overwhelming to deal with; I'm quite a bit older than you and I had to do much the same myself. But you need to do everything possible to heal your spine, even if that means taking what you think is a step backward. It could be the step that makes all the difference to your health.

    Best wishes to you!
  • I couldn't agree more with Babybubbles! I almost get the feeling that this job you had was fairly physical? She is right in that you might want to see if there is anyway you can move home during your recovery. COBRA is expensive in itself, top that with rent, food, utilities, gas...yuck! Financially it might work out a bit if you can move in with them.

    Also, have you run "going back to work" by your surgeon? Does your job have 'light duty' should you return in a month or so? A 3 level never mind even 1 level fusion is nothing to play with! I hope things can be worked out for you. Support *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • my dr said i should be able to go back if i take it easy. I am a massage therapist. we have hydrolic tales that raise and lower so i wont have to bend, and i was unable to stand or bend before the surgery and i learned ways to cope, like sitting on a stool. she said i could go back now if i wanted, but i'm not ready. she actually did pull the vertebrae back, so it is mostly corrected. its the best alignment my spine has seen since I was a kid.

    I am living with my parents, so the food, utilities, etc is covered, but i have 8 months on my lease for my apartment and i want to go back as soon as possible, if possible.

    but if i could get unemployment, or temporary disability or something to help with this last month and some of next month it would be so helpful.

    Honestly, i don't want to go back to massage, but i have over 10000 in credit card debt, mostly from dr and physical therapy and other treatments i couldn't afford,and no one could figure out what to do with me cause i was "fine" with chronic pain, plus this up coming bill. I may declare bankruptcy, but i dunno how much good that'll do anymore.

    anything to not be sole dependent on my parents would be helpful.

    I think i will look for a less physical job in the near future, but i have random education and not too many skills outside the medical field, plus severe ADD. and there is a hiring freeze for most entry level jobs

    I work for a small company now and there is no sick pay, or disability.
  • Wow, sorry didn't see you were so young! I think before I would declare bankruptcy, I would wait to see if I was able to indeed return to work. If you can't, and there isn't any short or long term disability, then instead of 'quitting' let them lay you off - then in most states, you could get Unemployment Insurance payments. That method of departure of course will be up to you, and then between you and your employer.

    As long as you are still holding your head above water, I would be reluctant to make such drastic plans (bankruptcy). Since your training is mostly in the medical field, have you looked online to see if there are other areas that are 'nicer' on your body that you can train for in short time and work?

    Yes it is frustrating to return home when you need help, but that is what family and tight friends are there for...for each other, okay? Just don't close any doors yet, and have a look around and see what else is out there. Please keep us posted. *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Holy cow... I was a massage therapist myself, and I can't imagine doing it with my lumbar spine in the condition it is, along with everything else. I am actually shocked that your doctor would tell you to return to such a job! Most therapists who have worked for a while have a lot of hand/arm/spine issues. It's a tough job to do.

    I think you're right, you do need to find something less physical. And you don't want to be on narcotics when you work on clients, you may accidentally hurt them or yourself.

    Usually in the case of spondy they will not correct the slip, just fuse it in place. That's because most patients are older and have a lot of arthritic degeneration (spondylosis) and the changes to the facets is too great. In your case, at your age, it makes sense they corrected it as much as possible given that (it sounds like) you probably don't have any/much arthritis.

    I don't know what to say about your debt problems, especially if you're not working and may not be working for a while. I hope you can find a way to relax, heal, and confront your money problems. Once you're working again you might want to make a visit to a financial counselor to get a plan together to get out of debt.

    Good luck.
  • bankruptcy is my last option, though it is now a possibility, as it never was before. I'm waiting to see what will happen. Since i am quite a bit younger than most fusion patients, i dunno what time line to expect. everyone heals differently, but most statistics are on people much older than me. I believe being young is why it took so long for someone to take me serious when i went in with my complaints. I am extremely fortunate that my parents can and will help me so much. The surgery was emergency, too, so I had a week notice to get my life in order and get it done. apparently it was degenerating too fast and my surgeon didn't want to take chances of waiting. So i wasn't prepared for all this. Though even with month notice, i don't know how anyone could really prepare for this, besides saving money.
  • I wouldn't think you could go back to any sort of work a month after multilevel fusion ??? Isn't that usually something requiring several months of recovery?
  • Jade,

    Glad to see that you know bankruptcy is for sure a last ditch thing to do! Now lets flip the coin a little bit. Your youth is hopefully going to make healing even more on your side than say me almost twice your age. That is a good thing for sure! :)

    You just want to make darn sure you heal up REALLY good before you go to any job! If you're still hurting, that adds stress to your back. If your on meds, may make you less defensive and careful of your back, etc.. You don't want to fubar the adjacent levels by overworking. Remember with any fusion(s) the physical loading/working of your spine is forever changed. Some folks get fused and go on and on like the Energizer Bunny, but others just have issue after issue come up. I'm gonna pray you are an "Energizer Bunny" Jade. :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    I am guessing you aren't working at a job where the employer offers Short Term Disability or Long Term Disability.

    If not, the only states that have state mandated and state administered STD are CA, NJ, NY, PR, HI, RI

    The next time you are job hunting keep STD and LTD in mind. Having worked in the industry, after I learned about STD and LTD years ago I only took jobs with employers that offered full medical, STD and LTD. (At some employers you have to pay all or part of the STD/LTD premium but it's worth it)
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • Don't want to be a downer but I haven't been fused and I can't even imagine trying to be a massage therapist. I am shocked your doctor would even suggest you could go back to doing it at all. It takes a lot of hard work to dig in there and massage someone even with a great table you'll still be bending. Too me it would be putting a great strain on your back. Also the standing for long periods of time would be difficult. I am so sorry you're in this situation it really stinks. I know you don't want to move back in with your parents but it might save your bacon. If you talked to your apt manager and explain your medical situation maybe they would be willing to break your lease? Have you thought about subletting? Let us know how things are going!(I am not a medical professional just speaking from my personal experiences and going through recovery.)

    Hang in there!!
  • I don't know if you are in the U.S. & if you may be in a big city - I'm in a city of about 400,000 & where I live - on this side of town, we don't have the greatest bus service - however - my Dr. told me to apply to the City Bus Service for the opportunity ( well, the right actually) to use their handicap bus/van service - I had a huge fusion & just cannot drive, I can't turn around well enough & I'm still taking enough medicine that probably I should not drive - anyway - it's part of the U.S. government diability act - because I cannot get to the regular bus stop safely - I could never get across that busy intersection - I call the phone # not more than 7 days before I need transportation & tell them where I need to go & what time, they tell me if they can do it or not, only once was I not able to get the time that I needed - then there is a 30 minute window where you have to be ready to walk out the door - the van picks you up right in front of your house & it's only $2.50 anywhere you want to go. It doesn't have to be for a Dr. appt. For people who go the same place all the time - like a job - there is something called subscription service & they can only tie up so much of a % of their rides tied up - it has worked out so great for me - I have always been able to schedule things for the bus / van to pick me up at home & then my husband can pick me up after he gets off work - you might want to inquire if your city has bus service - it's a very valuable service, they would probably have this.
    Good luck, you sound like you are in quite a bad spot - hoping things get better for you , Susie
  • the disability bus is something i need to look into. our bus system is horrible in my small city. I have been working for a week now and i was ok till last night. i dunno what is up, but my left leg had numbness and weakness an severe pain in the hip. My family said it was normal, but it freaked me out. Especially considering the amount of pain meds im on. im about to get up today and see how it does. im supposed to be to work in a couple hours. i wish it were a weekday so i could call my dr.
    Is there a type of lawyer that may be able to help me? Ifi have to move back home, then ill just deal with it. i am also looking for a different type of job, but i have few skills and experience in other fields.

    ive gotta figure out something.
  • It's time to consider retraining for another job maybe.

    Move home for a while, take some courses.

    Even if your doctor took you out of work, that would be SSDI's answer.
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    If your employer offers Short Term Disablity (STD)and/or Long Term Disability (LTD) you should apply for those. Not all employers offer this so you'd have to call your HR/Benefits.

    If you live in CA, NY, NJ, HI, PR or RI there is state disability that employees pay into via a tax. In all other states there is no state mandated disability.

    If you have no income and no resources, you can see if you are eligible for SSI (check out the requirements at www.ssa.gov). If you have a long work history and expect to be out for a year or more you may be eligible for SSDI (also available on www.ssa.gov).

    My advice to everyone who can is to only accept a job where they offer solid medical insurance, disability insurance, and life insurance benefits.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • it is a curse of the massage business. health insurance is a luxury. thankfully i have been paying for private insurance for some time now, or who knows where id be. Short term disability or sick leave is so rare in my field i never even thought to look for it before accepting a job. we do not have it at my place.

    I am looking for a new job. massaging isnt too bad, but i work from 3pm-10pm, though i get a break in between each massage and a limit of 4 hrs of massaging. but i only get paid for those 4 hrs. that is another curse. most jobs are payed per massage, not per hr.

    I really dont know what to do or where to look. I have few sklls that can go on a resume.

    And I still cant drive, so my family has to take me and pick me up still. At least im bringing in some money. Its getting awful stressful working so much so late for so little though.
  • I think Massage Therapists are great. I wanted to become a MT but was already a Nurse so instead only took a mini massage course for my job working as an RN. I know they use RMT's for babies also don't know if that would be an option for you. I know getting into your own business may be difficult with just recovering from fusion surgery.

    I haven't had surgery but was your age in College, just wanted to wish you the best for your future you're still so early out of your surgery. I wish you could have more time for your recovery. Anyways just wanted to wish you the best for your healing so you can get back to your job. Prayer for your healing. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    If you develop the ability to sit for a while you would probably be well qualified for some call center type jobs, entry level insurance assistant positions, etc. The larger the employer the better the insurance. I have always worked for large insurance companies and as a result have had great medical insurance and great STD/LTD/Life insurance.

    If you have a high school diploma there are often a lot of jobs available at entry level but even those offer good benefits. And if you think you want to remain in something similar you might be good at a hospital as a medical assistant (may require more training), admissions representative, floor clerk, etc. I've done some hospital floor clerk work and the advantage is you often get to move around as needed (where call center jobs can be a bit more regimented). Of something at a Social Service organization that offers good benefits but may be entry level such as clerk, case assistant, etc.

    You just have to make the employer believe that "Massage Therapy was a good choice for a while but now I'm looking for something with more of a future and beginning as a _____ at your company may be the beginning of a brighter future for me" (and you never mention the back is what led you to lead Massage Therapy as a career.

    Every state has some form of Vocational Rehabilitation department that helps people with disabilities with job training, counseling, and placement. I'm not sure you'd qualify as often now they work with "severe impairments" only due to lack of funding.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • If you're considering a career change. At many community centers they have a RMT teaching new Moms and Fathers to do baby massage. I hope you'll be able to do your job but you're still early in your healing. There's always something available. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • that most of what I wrote here has to do with at least NYS and possibly other US states... not sure about anywhere else.

    Most of this is assuming that you are NOT able to work at this time... regardless of whether you want to or not. It may also depend on whether your doctor thinks you really should not/cannot work for now.

    Do you live in a state where they have public assistance for singles? (I'm assuming here that you are single, no children... otherwise the info is the same-called Family Assistance instead, but more likely to be available) In NYS it is called SafetyNet. Other states had similar programs for disabled persons... short term assistance which usually medical coverage. Not sure how many kept them though.

    In some instances they used to pay your insurance premium if it made sense to do so/was cheaper than providing Medical Assistance/Medicaid,etc. (this is if you qualify of course and could be different in your state)

    Gettingt Training could be a problem because if you Can go back to work soon, you would not normally qualify for SSI/SSD or most of the training programs available for the out of work.
    OTOH, because you may not be able to work right now... you will not qualify for UIB and/or training through the Dept. of Labor. Is there a JOB Center or One Stop Employment Center nearby? While it might be a hard sell, you might be able to get approval for training through them... again, it's the able to work/disability issue that will tie up a lot of this type of thing.. but it's always worth a call at least.

    I think your best bet would be to speak with your doctor to see if he/she really thinks you can go back to your job in such a short time... or were they saying so because it is such an immergent need for you. SSD generally means you have been out of work 6 months and will more than likely not return to work within 2 years... you would also need to have qualifying quarters.... time you've worked, paying SS taxes.

    You might want to talk to your landlord about your lease... if you aren't able to go back due to $$, will they let you out of the lease without too much in penalties? Staying home with your folks means you would at least be saving yourself from stressing out about that expense.

    Depending on where your interests lie and of course, where you live, you might qualify for some type of courses at the local community college once you are able to either attend or able to take classes online, for a low fee (sometimes free except for the cost of class materials... again, it depends on where you live).

    With your creditors- call in first to find out who you would speak with/write to discuss your current situation. While it is more than likely that they will jump all over you, it can't hurt to talk to them and try to come up with a payment plan somewhere down the line- sort of like, paying 10 or 20$ a month to show effort.

    Sorry this is so long, hopefully there is something that will click with you and help you get started on a way to deal with all of this. If none of it applies, please say so and I'll edit this book ;)

    Take care, hopefully you'll be ready to work soon and things will work out well for you!
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