Workers Compensation in Pa. is a cruel joke on the injured employee.

                   I got hurt at work. Lifting a cabinet with a co-worker, he slipped and I lifted it the rest of the way. I felt a tweak in my back. 4 and 1/2 years and 6 surgeries later I am still a mess. My last surgery was in November, I had a 2 level fusion and 2 disks replaced. I still have a tremendous amount of pain in my back, whole right leg, right knee, right ankle, both hips, both butt cheeks and my left knee. I wear a brace that goes from my foot to my groin to keep me from falling.

I have been on Workers Compensation for 4 and 1/2 years. My check was weekly and there were times I didn’t get it for several weeks. To compound that I never recieved a letter stating the reason for the amount I was being paid. The day of my last surgery they filed a petition stating that I could return to work immediately. The day of a 7 and 1/2 hour surgery. My lawyer said the only thing he could do for them not sending a paycheck was file a petition and that might not work.

At one point my leg would give out and I would fall as many as 20 times a day. I have tears all through my right knee, but they said that had nothing to do with the original injury, although the original injury was causing me to fall. My lawyer got a stipulation covering the nerve damage in that leg. That was considered a victory.

I am at the stage of settling. I am not going to be able to work anymore. Disability is where I am headed, although I was shot down the first time, lawyers said it was because of my age. My age, not my injury. The lawyer told me it could take over a year to get a decision, that is a year with no income or health care. Very exciting. Now to the real screw job I am going to get.

I get to walk with a cane and a large brace, live in pain the rest of my life and probably have a shorter life because of it and all I get is 10 years of Workers Compensation pay. I can collect checks for 500 weeks, a grand total of $200,000. The settlement, I should say the joke, is $100,000. The judge and my lawyer said this is a good amount. A good amount for the hell I have been through and will continue to go through. I am going to get $80,000 after the lawyer takes 20%. That’s what I get for the rest of my life.

Workers Compensation laws are set up for businesses. They are not for the injured. The deck is stacked against the person from day 1. We do not have a chance. I am going to find a way to change these laws. Not one more person deserves to be treated like this. I lost a pension and a job I loved. I lost. I don’t want others to have to go through this. If there is anyone out there who is organized for change in Workers Compensation laws please contact me. I will do what I can to help change them.

My fusion and chronic pain continued.

             In November I had a 2 level fusion at L4-L5, L5-S1, and 2 disks replaced. I was in a backbrace for 3 months. Before the surgery I had pain in the back, hips, buttcheeks and the length of my legs. It was predominantly on the right side, but at times it moved to the left leg. I fell between 13 and 18 times a day, nerve damage caused a drop knee. I have all the same pain today and it is even worse than it was.

I have been in aqua therapy for 3 months and I still hurt horribly. I hate going to aqua therapy because it hurts so much. The therapists are good and try to help but I always leave in more pain then when I got there. It is not excersize pain it is aggravated pain, nerves, back, legs and muscle spasms. I was really hoping this surgery would help.

I recently got a leg brace to keep me from falling. It goes from foot to groin, it locks into place so my leg doesnt drop. I am having a difficult timel learning to walk with it. For 4 years I have compensated for pain and falling causing me to ambulate incorrectly. I have to push my knee back and push off of my toes to unlock it, I am getting better but I still lock it up quite a bit. But while wearing it I have not fallen, I have felt the leg giving out but the brace caught me.

Pain changes a person, it changes your moods and how you treat people. It changed how you feel about yourself, none of these changes are positive. At times I question if I can continue going on like this. It is a horrible way to live, I feel for anyone dealing with chronic pain. I hope onr day it doesnt hurt as bad.

How do you get an infected callous and then get half of your leg amputated.

                The man I am talking about is 80 years old. He complained of pain in his foot, near the big toe. There was an open sore, that was supposed to be an infected callous. There was a red streak going up his leg, which was an infection. He ended up in the hospital. This was on Easter.

                    Since Easter he has been home for maybe a month. We could not understand why the sore wasn’t healing. It just continued to get worse. That is when we found out he had a vascular disease and was borderline diabetic. The small blood vessels in his lower extremities were not pumping blood, slowing down the healing process. Mind you the toe was black and so was part of the foot.

This is when they originally started talking about removing the foot. They needed demarcation, the point when the cells stops dying, in order to determinne how much of the foot to remove. When they told the Doctor that they wanted a second opinion, the Dr. changed his mind giving him another option. They decided to replace the vein in his leg, when it was finished he had 100 staples running from his groin to his ankle.

After having the surgery done, the wound was progressively looking worse. There was even a smell, which was putrid, for lack of a better word. He didn’t see the surgeon for 2 or 3 weeks. He was at home for 10 days and progressively looking worse. They had a nurse coming everyday to care for the wound. Yesterday he looked horrible, the wound from the surgery was black in some areas. His family forced him to go to the hospital.

Today he was told they are going to remove his leg from the knee down on Friday, in 2 days. The Dr. said he did all he could. I an confused as to how it got this bad. Why were they waiting for cells to die before they removed part of the foot, but now are going to remove half the leg in 2 days. This progression was very confusing to me and I have lost faith in the Doctors in my area. I will travel 1, 000 miles before I let a doctor in my area touch me again and refuse to go to these hospitals.

I wish I had s better grasp on this. I said at least 10 days ago it was infected, my only medical knowledge is taking a Tylenol or putting on a bandaid. I think they should have caught this earlier, it could have saved his leg and pain. I think these doctors did a horrible job and the for-profit hospital he is in is a joke. They do nothing, keep you for weeks and then send you to a Rehab center that costs $2,000 a day. But I guess as long as they get paid it is ok.

Aqua therapy, the pain continues.

           I have been going to aqua therapy for about 2 months. Just for background, November 12, 2012 I had a 2 level fusion and 2 disks replaced. That was the culmination of 6 surgeries over about a 4 year period. I have nerve damage that causes pain in my right leg and also causes me to fall. In short, it sucks.

             6 days ago my right heel started to hurt, which is odd because I usually only feel the nerve pain. I stub my toe and I don’t even feel it. The tuetapist said ( pardon my spelling) I was experiencing plantar faciatis. I am having a harder time walking, everytime my heel hits the ground it hurts quite severely. So when I went to aqua therapy I told the therapist and we started some stretching excersizes to help it. She also told me to freeze a bottle of water and place it under my foot, rolling it back and forth. It is essentially a massage fir my foot. It does not hurt quite as bad, but it is still bothering me.

            As of yesterday I started getting some sharp shooting pains in my right calf. Therapist was not sure what it was, but did inform me to call my doctor. I am sure she is worried it is a blood clot, I had a similar pain about a 2 years ago. I had a dopplar done and it turned out there wasn’t a blood clot, just nerve pain. Better safe than sorry.

                 I am a little over 5 months removed from surgery. I DO NOT FEEL ANY BETTER. In fact I feel worse than before the surgery. My back hurts horribly, leg pain is always there, quite often severe and I am still falling. I can’t walk for more than 20 or 25 minutes, while I am at aqua therapy I am in pain the whole time. I am always tired, yet I have a difficult time sleeping. I know the doctor did his best, but I believe the doctor who did the first surgery screwed me up. But I will never be sure.

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Chronic pain and how it affects your life.

          4 and half years ago I hurt my back at work. I had herniated a disk a l4-l5-l5-s1. I was of course in terrible pain, was falling and had radiculapathy down my right leg. I had a lamenectomy and microdiscectomy. I felt better for about a week and all the pain returned. I had a spinal stimulatir trial, had it implanted and taken back out in a 6 week period. 10 weeks later I had a spinal decompression. About 6 months ago I had a 2 level fusion with 2 disks replaced. I have had the steroid shots in the spine and trigger point injections. I have done about 3 years of physical therapy and aqua therapy.

                 I have constant pain in my back that radiates into my butte cheeks and down the right leg. My hips feel like they are deteriorating. I get burning, throbbing, pins and needles and sharp pains all through my right leg. Sometimes it is in the left leg. I get muscle spasms quite frequently in my back and there is not a moment of the day that I am not in pain.

               I fall constantly and am unable to do any of the things a person my age should do. I can’t put on my own socks or shoes and have trouble with some parts of showering. Even wiping after a bm is difficult. I can’t stand for long periods, walk for long periods or even sit for long periods.

           The worst part is the depression. At times it is suffocating.  Between being in constant pain, not being able to function properly and the workers Comp insurance it gets very difficult to get up every day. Some days I cry, I am not sure I can continue living like this. It is these moments I know I need helpbut I lost my health insurance. I just hope that something good happens so this depression will let up.

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Another aqua therapy session.

                 Another day of aqua therapy and another day of pain. It us not getting any better and I am falling regularly. We are doing the same excersizes and I don’t see any improvement. I certainly don’t feel any improvement.

                  I saw my surgeon yesterday and he said it would take up to year to see how the recovery is actually doing. He also said that he didn’t understand why I was falling. When he did the surgery he said that the scar tissue was wrapped around the nerve and that he couldn’t touch it. He said the X-rays looked good. So there is no problem with the fused part.

                 Tomorrow I have my reevaluation. So far in a month they have not seen any improvement either. The last time I went to therapy I did it for 9 straight months and they saw no improvement. This is going on 5 years, 6 surgeries and I have not gotten any better. I have metal in my back and some of the bone removed, not to mention fake disks.

                    I realize that this has been all over the place, but I just needed to write something about this. It serves as a sort of therapy. No one around me understands how this feels or even what itvdoes to you mentally. It is very hard to break out of the doldrums when there is not any good news. I need something good to help me break out of this depression. Hopefully something breaks soon.


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Aqua Therapy day 9.

               All the same excersizes with even more pain. I don’t feel as if I am making any progress. It feels like a waste of time. I do everything tie therapists say and it hurts as I am doing it, it hurts even worse when I get out.

               My surgeon told me that this was going to hurt. He said I would not feel any relief from it. It was just to get the muscles moving and to keep the nerve from getting stuck in place. I don’t understand that, but it us what the therapist said could possibly happen. At the end of each session I go home and relax, sit down until it hurts and move until it hurts. It only seems to exascerbate the problem.

                  I realize it us going to be a long healing process, but I feel worse now than I did before the surgery. I am still falling between 5 and 15 times a day. The right leg just gives out and I hit the ground, I believe they call it a drop knee. That was supposed to stop happening. I an waiting on a new brace that will lock when I put my foot down and unlock when I bend the knee. It should eliminate the falling.

              No person should have to live like this. The pain at times is debilitating. It is constant pain in the back, the leg, right leg mostly, hips, butte cheeks, foot and it gets really bad in the toes sometimes. It severely limits what I am able to do, my family has to put on my shoes and socks. I am only 38 years old, this is not a life I am looking forward to.

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What a week.

              It was not the worst week ever, but it was still a lot. Some weeks are just like that, nothing goes according to plan. Everything is just a little more chaotic than normal. Then just to top it off, you get a little something to make it just a touch worse.

              Tuesday night I took my oldest daughter to the ER, she was coughing badly and having some trouble breathing. We get to the ER around 8 o’clock, there were about 6 people in there. The nurse registered us, got us into see the doctor where they took her vitals. They gave her cough medicine, motrin and a breathing treatment. By this time it was 845, they next took her in for an XRAY at 920. Then we did not see anyone or hear anything for over 2 hours. At 1130 my daughter was asking me to leave, she said she felt better. I asked them when she would be seen, within the next couple if hours. So we left.

                 Then Friday came along with just a little bit of stress in between. Both my wife and I get sick. Puking all day, feeling like I was hit by a truck. All day Friday being sick, the only thing I ate all day was pretzel sticks. I fell asleep at about 530 and woke up about 730 Saturday morning. Still feeling green I had to go about our day with the family. I ate very little and fell asleep early again. I did feel much better today.

             This is after a weekend of arguing with an ignorant parent, this parent pushing as far as they could. I am glad this week is behind me. It does not seem like much, but when you throw in a few therapy sessions making the pain worse on top of this other stuff it seemed much worse. Thank you to anyone who read this.

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Aqua Therapy day 6.

                If anyone tries to convince you that the more you go to therapy the better you feel, please dont believe them. I realize that I am recovering from a major sugery, I know it will be a long process. I am doing the same excersizes with a couple additions. I know the therapists are doing their best to help me.

               I am about 4 months removed from a 2 level fusion and 2 disk replacement surgery. It is a big surgery and in my area the therapists said they dont see many people who disk replacements, no less with a fusion. The doctor says that I am right where a person who has experienced chronic pain for several years should be. I feel as though the surgery was a failure, all of my symptoms are either worse or the same.

               I was told that this surgery would stop me from getting worse. I feel worse now. I understand back surgeries are fickle, some work, some dont. I have had 3 major surgeries and 3 minor ones in the last 4 years. After the fusion I do not think there is anything else they can do to that area of my back. The doctor said the scar tissue was wrapped around my nerve so bad he couldnt touch it. That is why I keep falling and also the nerve damage.

           Along with going to aqua therapy my doctor slowly took me off the nerve inhibitor. That probably has something to do with the pain. But the aqua therapy is making me hurt badly. I feel like I am falling apart , mentally and physically. I am not sure what to do. If I stop going to therapy how will that effect my workers comp case. I just cant live like this anymore.

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First day of Aqua Therapy.

               I had a 2 level fusion and 2 disk replacement in November. I wore a back brace until Feb. 15. I have been having muscle spasms, leg pain is severe and the back, butt cheeks and hips are really hurting. So 4 and half months later I am starting Aqua Therapy. They say it should be less painful than regular physical therapy.

             I started today at 830. The water is a wonderful 92° and it is an olympic sized pool. There are 3 therapists in the pool and 1 in the office. There is a lifeguard and her assistant. Because I fall alot they have me in wheelchair from the door to the changing room and then to the pool.

             Once in the pool you walk 2 laps back and forth forward, backward and sidestepping. After that you go to leg stretching excersizes, followed by some trunk excersizes and finished up with upper body/abdominal excersizes. It is low impact and because of my condition it is very minimal. Then the therapist normally will float you, followed by 1 lap each back and forth. In between you stand in front of a jet to get some relief.

                It was very painful. I struggled through most of it, there was maybe 1 or 2 excersizes that were relatively pain free. Even trying to float was bad, as soon as I laid back I started getting very severe muscle spasms. For the rest of the day I have been in very severe pain, at times bad enough to cry out. I didnt think it was going to be easy but this is ridiculus.

            When I went for the surgery it was have it or keep getting worse. I feel worse now. I am told I am where I should be for someone who has been experiencing chronic pain for some years. Well 1 day down a whole bunch more pain to ho.

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