54 Year Old Disabled Dottie Seeks Relief Of Medical Expense Debt
by Dottie Comet
(Oceanside, California, USA)
How I Want to Feel Again
My name is Dottie. I'm a 54-year-old divorced female with 3 boys ranging in age from 16 to 24.
I'm originally from Washington, D.C. and was moved to California for the I-105 (Century Freeway) project back in 1980.
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I thought this would be easy to sit and write about my disabilities, but it is a challenge.
I am normally a very happy go-lucky gal, but I have to say that what I have been through has been a "nightmare." I'm ready for the good dream, so I thought I would give writing a shot.
Less than a year after being moved to California, a ceiling tile collapsed (no not chicken little) above my desk.
To get right to the point, leaving the details for a book, I was finally diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS).
The surgeries included removing scar tissue from the main nerve/arterial bundle, having a nerve moved at my elbow, and having a portion of my first rib removed.
I thought I would never learn to live with the residuals of the surgeries, but I kept my inner strength and moved on with my disability into another career.
In 2002, a hospital bed came flying down the main corridor. Who gets hit? You got it -- me. I didn't even see it coming (probably a good thing).
I cried, but kept working in spite of aggravating the TOS and tweaking my lower back.
I worked as long as I could but couldn't take the pain anymore and went out on disability in 2004.
I pulled myself up by my bootstraps, and in 2006 returned to work at the hospital. I was happy to be working again, since working is a big word in my vocabulary. I worked as a Phlebotomist and was proud of what I did.
In July of 2008, I drew blood from a very sick patient in the Recovery Room. I needed to get it to the Lab quickly, so I went to the Operating Room (OR) in order to tube the blood to the Lab.
One step around the main desk in the OR, and I went flying. I landed on my knees, twisted my back and tried to catch the rest of myself with my hand. The shiny OR floor was WET.
When I asked the guy where the WET Floor Sign was, he replied that he "had to wash his hands." I wouldn't necessarily say that "as luck should have it," but the injury was to my back.
I kept working until I couldn't stand the pain anymore, and went on disability in March 2009. I had back surgery in September 2009, another surgery to remove a blood clot in October 2009 and was back in the hospital in December 2009 for fluid pressing on something that was making it hard to walk.
I had 4 screws, 2 plates and a peek cage put in my back at L5/S1. A doctor that saw me 2 times said that I was "Permanent and Stationary," and I continue to go downhill.
He gave me a 22 percent disability rating in spite of my deteriorating symptoms. There are times that I can't even get out of bed because of the pain.
Work Comp is denying medications, denying other medical opinions and agrees my disability is 22 percent, as I continue to slip away.
I'm not "allowed" to be depressed, so my claim for psyche issues was denied. I can't even get my lawyer to call me back. I'm at my wit's end and have tried my best to be positive.
My kids have never seen me suffer like this and can't even look at me. I try not to cry but it's hard. They want their "strong," happy-go-lucky mom back. And believe me, I want to be my old self.
I know in my heart that all things happen for a reason, and that eventually some good will come of all of this. I hope it's soon.
I truly intend to write a book. I can't seem to keep a laptop on my lap just yet though. I'm hopeful for a positive outcome from writing this story. I'm rather shocked that I could keep it this brief.
I look forward to the day that I can grab hold of the strength I know I have and be healthy enough to return to some type of rewarding work.
I'm making an attempt to apply for some type of grant since my pay went from $23.50 per hour to barely $1400 per month. I would get the medical attention that I need which is being denied by Work Comp.
I pray that someday I will be the one reading the stories and not writing one. My thoughts and prayers go out to anyone in the same boat (or worse) that I'm in.