Air Force Veteran Disabled By Shoulder Injury Seeks Help For Pain And Debt Relief
by Patrick Griego
(Albuquerque, NM, USA )
My name is Patrick Griego. I served in the United States Air Force from 1982-1988, doing both active duty and reserve.
I am 46 years old, have been married 22 years and have 3 children.
While I served active duty, I sustained an injury to my left shoulder during a training maneuver.
At the time I was young and able to handle the pain, but I must state, "If any member of Active Duty servicemen or women have ANY injury, please have it documented with a Doctor related to the Military. All injuries you have should be recorded for your protection."
The Injury to my shoulder was painful, but I got it when I was 19 years old. Although it did hamper me throughout my adult life, it wasn't until I turned about 40 that it came up and simply ruined my life as I know it.
The only time I don't have incredible pain is when I am sleeping.
My disability occurred during a training maneuver shortly after I entered the Air Force. I fell on my left shoulder, due to an extremely heavy backpack, and I caused significant damage to my rotator cuff.
I followed the correct procedure and went to the Military Doctor. They did advise surgery at the time, but it just didn't happen for some reason.
From my early 20s till about 40 years old I did have pain and discomfort in my left shoulder, but I just tolerated it.
After I turned 40, the pain had become unbearable. I am now 46, almost 47 years old, and I can tell anyone reading this... my everyday life is absolute agony! I live with pain that is destroying my very existence.
I have been diagnosed with Advanced Rotator Cuff Disease, which means I have NO cartilage in my left shoulder due to my injury, and my entire left shoulder and left arm is becoming useless by the day.
I am dependent on medication to ease the incredible pain I endure, and my quality of life has basically been dismantled.
I currently work for County Government as a Property Tax Appraiser. It took me about 10 years to go through classes to get a "State Certified License" with the State of New Mexico.
I was a supervisor of an entire area of the City of Albuquerque and I was doing a good job.
One day about 5 months ago I was called in the office and told I was going to be replaced with a younger and less qualified person.
I was given NO reason for the decision and even till this day management will not give me a reason for the change.
I had to take my fight to the EEOC. They accepted the reasons I gave them and filed a Lawsuit against Bernalillo County on my behalf.
To this day I am ridiculed and ignored by management, and have basically been blackballed.
I was and still am the most qualified person in the Department with my State Certification and my 10+ years of experience.
But because of my disability (I must assume), I am basically a non-entity here now.
I must take pain medication daily and cannot function as a normal human being anymore.
My two sons are in high school football, and I can't even play or practice with them. It breaks my heart that I can't do anything with my kids like that anymore.
I currently am employed through the County Government, and I earn about $29,000 a year.
I do receive 20% VA disability, but I believe it should be more.
I am hoping for financial help that will help my family get past the obstacles we have encountered through the years, bills that have gone unpaid and many other hardships that we have encountered that we need help with.
Thank you for any help you can point us to.