Disability Benefits Will Help Accident Disabled Mom Bridge Financial Gap
by MarySue Ambroz
(New Prague, Minnesota, USA)
I am currently 52 years old. I have been married for 27 plus years. We have three children: two sons and a daughter. My daughter is the middle child.
My three children have been blessed by God to be very good athletes and hard workers.
My oldest son Matt played Division 1 hockey for the University of Nebraska in Omaha and is currently playing pro hockey in the ECHL for the Stockton Thunder.
My daughter played four years of Division 1 hockey for the University of Minnesota-Duluth. In her sophomore season they were national champions and got to go to the White House and meet the President.
She graduated this past spring and took this year to go play women's professional club hockey in the Czech Republic.
My youngest son was drafted in the 2011 NHL Draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets and currently is playing his sophomore season of Division 1 hockey at the University of Minnesota.
I was born and raised on a family farm in a small rural community of Veseli. I have always loved sports and had set my goal to be the first woman to play basketball in the NBA.
We all have dreams.
We were taught a great work ethic on the farm. I was up every day by 5:30 AM to do chores before school. I was allowed to play my sports but farm work came first.
I was on my way to a Division 1 Scholarship when my life took a few tragic turns. When I was 14 and my older brother was 15, he was killed in a tragic car accident.
I was in the car and received a concussion and a broken collarbone. Unfortunately my brother that died had been sexually abusing me since I was 12.
To get over the tragedy I worked even harder between farm work and basketball. The Division 1 offers were coming my way.
Unfortunately in May of my junior year of high school I was in a severe tractor accident.
It was a Sunday morning and I went out to disc a field with our old Farmall M tractor. I was doing this early Sunday morning so I would have it done to play ball that afternoon.
Unfortunately things went awry. I fell off the tractor and under the disc, which then proceeded to drag me for at least a half mile on gravel before the disc finally got over my body.
When I sat up I could not find my left leg. Fortunately for me it was lying over my left shoulder and was still attached, but severely damaged. With that accident, my basketball scholarship disappeared.
I was told I would never play again and most likely would be in a wheelchair by the age of 40. (In fact people still do not believe I even survived the accident.)
Being young and full of dreams and secrets, I set out to work even harder to prove to everybody I was not going to give up my dreams easily.
Unfortunately working so hard put so much stress on my leg that the rod they had placed in my femur bone to hold it in place started to protrude out and had to be removed.
This did not stop me. I worked even harder. I never did reach my dream of the NBA but I did play a couple of years at a Division 2 school until there became too many injuries to the rest of my body for overuse and compensating for the accident.
I must say though in my own way I proved many people wrong and do not regret all the work I did to try and reach my dream.
I consider myself lucky. I married an awesome guy and have three awesome children.
But mentally and physically, I have been going downhill quickly. The stubborn person that I am I was refusing to apply for disability.
And I worked very hard labor type jobs until November 3 2011 when at work as I was drilling into a piece of steel I severely hurt my elbow.
By this time I was already on a Fentanyl patch for chronic pain. I had survived major stomach surgeries due to the tractor accident, as well as a surgery to have a disk put into my neck.
I finally broke down and applied for full disability.
In the last five years we have gone through some real financial struggles.
At the age of 55, my husband was let go of the welding job that he started right after high school (34 years). It had been the only job he ever had.
We both tried our hardest to work but he was not qualified in many other areas and I was already working extra jobs.
We lost our house to foreclosure and two vehicles to repossession.
I was working installing and building carwash equipment for only $12 an hour so we just lost everything. We had to move to a small apartment above Main Street.
Being a Christian woman I kept the faith and worked nonstop to try to save everything but it has not happened. The toll this has taken physically and mentally is unbelievably tough.
The disability issues I am dealing with are numerous. I was diagnosed with severe ADHD and depression. I have constant panic attacks.
I have been physically, sexually and verbally abused to add to my physical issues.
Due to the tractor accident I got a stomach obstruction, which led to surgeries.
The first surgery they did was to move the obstruction in my intestines and took out part of my stomach as well as clipped the Vagus nerve going to the stomach.
(They have since found out that a vagotomy such as I had is more damaging than ever planned. They no longer do this type of procedure due to the long-term effects nutritionally.)
Unfortunately within a year of the first surgery my pylorus stopped working and bile was constantly filling into my stomach causing severe ulcers.
This led to a second surgery in which they removed the pylorus and the major part of the stomach with acid. My stomach now empties both into the small bowel and duodenum.
Because of the major structural damage to the left quad muscle and femur bone, I have suffered severe spinal, hip, neck and leg pain.
I have degenerative disc disease, which after a hit and run accident caused a neck surgery to fuse the C5 and C6 discs in my neck to restore movement in my left arm.
My left leg strength is down to under 70%. Because of my nutritional absorption issues (it takes over four hours for one egg to get through to my small bowel), my body's self-healing functions have severely declined.
I need somebody to help me out of bed multiple times weekly because my lower back locks up. Even though I have all the issues I have worked full-time all these years until November 2011 when the elbow injury took place.
Mentally, all this has taken a toll on me. I currently take Valium, antidepressant and panic attack medication and have several suicidal thoughts weekly.
I am working with doctors at the Mayo clinic in Rochester to help do what they can in all areas to give me some type of quality in my life.
Because of the multiple abuses I have endured and the chronic pain, I see a counselor two times a week.
My whole mental outlook has always benefitted from the adrenalin rush I got from working hard (workaholic).
I also take Adderall for my ADHD.
I have no hobbies that are not labor intensive and life really has been challenging. When I have a good day I get so excited I lose track of time and way overdo it and then I'm down and out for days.
I do suffer from dissociation and end up places and lose track of time very easily without knowledge of even existing.
I currently get $171 a week for unemployment but had to wait an extra six weeks to get all the paperwork through.
We went a year and a half with no medical insurance and had to pay out of pocket for my medical treatment. Just the medications were $500 a month.
My husband finally got a full time job that pays just over $11 an hour, but at least now we have some medical coverage.
The vehicles we have are very old and have over 200,000 miles on them.
The last couple of months we have been paying over $300 a month on just late fees and overdraft charges. We are currently behind at least two months on all our bills.
With the home foreclosure we had to file bankruptcy on our second mortgage as well.
We are really hurting.
I have filled out hundreds of applications but because of my physical limitations have not had any luck. My unemployment is due to run out next week and then what?
I have done everything to obtain extra income but my physical and mental condition hurts in those areas.
I have gone to the food shelf a few times.
Unfortunately I do not come from a very wealthy family and neither does my husband so help from family is not going to happen.
My mom died suddenly this summer at the age of 72 and my dad is in poor financial straits as well.
I filled out the paperwork for SSI but am waiting to hear something and have been told it is a long process.
I have a lawyer who worked with me on my workers comp case that will take my SSI case if I am denied.
What I need is a grant or benefits of some type to catch up on and help bridge the gap until/if I get social security disability.
I would love to help retired people by doing handiwork for them on my good days. I can fix anything and build anything and feel home repairmen charge so much just to come to the house. I want to help people and work around my pain issues to do so.