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What Should I Expect?

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  • I wanted to say thank you to everyone here, your commments, suggestions, sharing your own pain/injury/recovery stories is more help to me than I ever thought I'd receive from anyone way back when all of this trouble started for me (6/11/09).

    I hope those of you awaiting surgery or some other procedure get the relief that you want, need and deserve. Those of you who have had surgery have a full speedy recovery and those of you who are here merely to support us never experience that which we are enduring.

    Growing up, my grandmother used to say all of the time, "Bend at the knees, save your back" and "You don't want Arthur to get a hold of you". I didn't appreciate this back then. . . Boy do I appreciate it now as Arthur is doing everything but paying the bills (Arthritis that is). And the 'Best if used by' date on my back has expired a long time ago.

    Be Well All

    Decompression and L4-S1 fusion with instrumentaion
    Surgery on October 23, 2009 Laminectomy, Forminotomy, Discectomy and a Fusion of the L4-L5 & L5-S1
  • Best if used by - LOL!! Love it :)

    I guess my situation is a bit different - all I know is that as soon as I got an attorney all payments stopped. Before that I could call and tell them I needed to cover some bills, sign some paper that said I knew I was taking an advance on a future settlement.

    Then they started to mess with me - offering to cash me out when the tests started to point towards back surgery. The adjuster said,'You work at a really nice place, I'm sure that (if you have back surgery) they'll take care of you'. Sounded fishy to me. And, what happens if I can't work - work won't help me then!

    Anyway it's all been locked up tight ever since. I've been paying for everything that my health insurance doesn't cover - Lost wages, deductables and co-pays. Maybe someday things will get better - I'm not holding my breath.
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  • Hi again All,

    Seems I forgot to mention the nightmare hospital visit I had back in July during the earliest stages of my back pain and way before they finally approved my surgery.

    My pain was so excruciating that no Pain-killer Cocktail helped (still doesn't really). My dad came over and saw how much pain I was in so he decided to take me to the ER. We got to a local hospital here called Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center (A hospital that was purchased by Johns Hopkins Hospital). I was seen in the Triage and then "Fast-tracked" because of my high pain level and the fact that it had my blood pressure through the roof. We got to the hospital around 12pm, at 12:30pm we were waiting to be called by a specialist. We waited and we waited, we grew beards, shaved them, and waited some more. I started getting worse so my dad asked the 'Fast-track' nurse how long it would be before I was seen and he was informed that there were only 2 'Fast-track' doctors on duty, 1 for adults, 1 for children.

    Needless to say, there were no children in the waiting room, only about 50 adults. at about 4:45pm, my dad advised them that I was in terrible pain and they needed to do something to help me. He was advised to take me back to the Triage to be re-evaluated since I was getting worse. My dad did so and although I was sent to the Triage, I was never seen. We sat in the waiting area for another hour and 15 minutes until finally a male employee came and told my dad that he'd be "better off taking your son to another hospital to be seen as there's no telling when he'll see a doctor here".

    My dad who is also handicapped had to walk about a half mile to get our vehicle as there were no nearby disabled parking spaces. While waiting for him, the male employee wheeled me (in the wheelchair I was in) out of the hospital and onto a bus stop where all of the junkies, drunks and prostitutes were and went back into the hospital. This is where my dad picked me up from, I was out of it but not so much that I didn't know where I was.

    Needless to say, the hospital sent me a bill for $300.,. I complained about it to my insurance company since I wasn't treated and they adjusted the bill. Now they recently sent me a new bill for $50 stating that it's my responsibility to pay it because I was seen in the Triage. All they did was take my weight, blood pressure and ask what my pain level was.

    They later stated to me that their unwritten policy is that the average emergency room waiting time is 10 hours. I refuse to pay this bill as they rendered me no medical aid whatsoever. Am I being naiive? Should I pay? What do you think?

    Decompression and L4-S1 fusion with instrumentaion
    Surgery on October 23, 2009 Laminectomy, Forminotomy, Discectomy and a Fusion of the L4-L5 & L5-S1
  • Talk about a horror story!!

    I don't know on the paying - I've been sent to collections over misunderstandings on bills - not fun!
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    Nate:

    Does your employer offer Long Term Disability? Many LTD policies will pay you a benefit less any actual, or estimated WC, benefits.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
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  • What you have to understand about my employer SpineAz is that it's a national company with local management ethics. I guess what I mean by that is imagine you have a size 12 foot but you keep trying to put a size 9 shoe on it. You might be able to get your foot into it(I doubt it), even walk around, but over time, everyone is going to know that you have a serious flaw.

    The company I work for has the best of intentions in the employee handbooks, SOP's, and company meetings and policies. But the human side of things is seriously flawed and therefore things that should work and flow smoothly seldom do.

    I've been hurt before but never even considered filing a WC claim, this injury of course made the decision for me. I've seen times where individuals would be out with serious injuries and be forced to come in and work on light duty when they obviously weren't able to perform. Heck, they tried to do that to me earlier this year.

    So something like LTD, nah, they don't have nor do they offer it.

    I hope I didn't say too much in the way of answering your question SpineAz. I just know that if and when I'm ever able to return to work, I'll be diligently seeking alternative employment, maybe even returning to school. . .

    Whew, that felt good getting that out.

    Take care all!!
  • Hello - Just to add my two pence worth - My GP says that so long as you are using the pain meds for the correct reason (ie to fight pain) you shouldn't develop an addiction. She said that addiction tends to happen ostly when you keep taking them when the pain has started to ease.
    Having said that I know that when I was suffering the nerve pain pre op the drugs didn't really work for me but I took them anyway. I was scared in case it would have been even worse without them. I was taking the max dose of Tramadol each day for a month or so. When I stopped taking them I did have physical withdrawal symptoms but no mental ones. So I guess I was physically addicted but not mentally.
    Hope you are out of pain soon.
  • Thanks for the info Nel, I'm was taking Tramadol for my pain along with Hydrocodone pre-op. It didn't help me. I was switched to Tizanidine with Percocet, then Dilaudid (max strength). Many muscle relaxers, Skelaxin, Relafin (if that's not the same thing), Flexoril, Clarisoprodol; with no relief. I am now on Demerol, post-op and I'm still in pain. I still have a positive outlook and faith. I understand that I may never be the way I was before. I just want some semblance of normalcy, to be able to sleep through the night without pain, less spasms (which are excruciating by the way) and to be able to spend time with my wife (Quality Time if you get my meaning).

    I hope you get well Nel.
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    Yep, I was just hoping you had LTD. I worked for a company that seems to have a similar management style and structure. They put out the best HR manuals and benefits information but even though I didn't go out on WC they dropped me like a hot potato (after ranking me 5/5 each year). Luckily I have STD and LTD. I actually worked in insurance and the beginning of my career in STD and LTD claims (most recently in Account Management). So once I had all my spine problems I made sure I only took jobs that offered STD and LTD. I hope to return to work eventually and will have to make sure they have STD and LTD before I can consider taking a job. Sad that those benefits are more important than salary in some cases.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • How long have you been away from work SpineAZ? I've been out for over 7 months and there is no light at the end of the tunnel for me as I use to work in the Communications Field, teaching a class as well as Cable Installs where I had to lift and carry a 100 lb. ladder as well as various tools and equipments also of weights varying from a few ounces to over 60 lbs.,.

    Now that I'm in PT for the second time, I was advised by my therapist that I need to rethink my career choice as the odds are against me being able to go back to lifting, carrying, climbing and remaining suspended from high heights, attics, crawl spaces and sub-basements.

    Knowing how I am, if I can do a job to the best of my ability, I just don't want to do it at all. The other side of my predicament is that I've noticed that the right side of my lower back and hip are now swollen following 2 days of Physical Therapy. I still have a defined limp, stairs are a huge issue and what bothers me the most is that we bought a new bedroom set prior to me getting hurt and it was lovely; since my injury and subsequent surgery, I can't sleep in the bed, it's so very uncomfortable for me that I toss and turn all night. When I finally can get to sleep and then try to get up in the morning, the pain in my right hip & lower back are so extreme that I know if I'm not holding onto something that I'm going down HARD.

    It's very frustrating because I'm used to being very active, now. . . well, I'm sure you know how I'm feeling. I feel like there are some serious nerve issues going awry in my lower back, hip and to a lesser degree, my right leg, kind of like something has been overtightened and now there are serious muscle spasms.

    I never had a muscle spasm before but I'd here people complain about how severe they were. . . now I know!

    I don't know... I hope you are up and around soon, please keep me updated as to your status.

    Any I hope everyone who is undergoing spinal pain has a speedy recovery soon.
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