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.

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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