I was injured on the job last October (2014) while working within the scope of my duties. The incident was a stupid fluke, but resulted in significant damage to my shoulder. At the time of the injury I was working in extreme rural Alaska. I reported the injury within 3 days and there was a village clinic, but they couldn't even give me basic medications. At first I believed it would get better and gutted it through the next two weeks. After two weeks I realized that it was getting continually worse, the arm was popping out of socket, and I my immediate supervisor would not let me leave for medical care. She stated that there were several site visits scheduled and these took precedence. Due to the nature of my occupation I could be charged with abandonment if I left without permission and I could not risk losing my license.
After another month I was finally allowed to leave and sought medical care with the VA. My provider sent me for imaging and it was determined that I needed a SLAP and Bankart repairs, they suggested a doctor and I went to see him. The next was a flurry of activity and I had the surgery within 2 weeks. When the surgery was over the doctor told me to be careful, because it had been a very complex operation and there wasn't much left to repair if I were to damage it during recovery. I followed the doctor's orders and recommendations. After 6 weeks I began physical therapy, mostly ROM for the first four weeks. While the ROM improved somewhat, the intensity of the pain kept increasing. I went to see the doctor after a few weeks and complained about the pain and he said it was normal and to tell the PT to ease up a bit. I went through another month and a half and the pain did not abate. I went to the doctor again and he told me I was working it too hard again.
After a few very painful days, I had run out of painkillers, I finally went to see another doctor and he ordered new imagery. After looking at the images he said the last doctor had not removed the old bone spurs after realigning the bones in my shoulder and that these were tearing the soft tissues in the shoulder and said that I needed another surgery. During this wait the WC folks wanted me to be seen by their Independent Medical Examiner, what a joke. The guy was a bought and paid for WC doctor. His findings were that the injury was a result of past traumas. I have had shoulder problems a couple of times in the past, hell I'm 50 years old. Who hasn't had a shoulder issue at that age? I did hurt it on the job for Lowes, but it got better after a couple of months. I went to the VA and they suggested acupuncture and it worked. No one ever suggested surgery and they didn't even do PT except the ROM intake, it was just massage and acupuncture.
A couple of weeks after seeing the WC quack he sent out a letter and WC cut me off, totally and completely claiming it was a pre-existing condition and not their responsibility. This happened one week before I was scheduled to have corrective surgery. I freaked out, I've done chronic pain with no end in sight after a back injury. I had to fight over a year to get that surgery and knew I couldn't go on without help. I retained a highly-recommended attorney in hopes that he could force the issue. Unfortunately he told me it would take at least a year to litigate.
That was more time than I had in me and I started putting Plan B into motion. Pain can make you crazy and illogical and I had already been in crazyville for 7 months and now I had no job, no money, no corrective surgery, and no hope. I committed suicide two days after getting the news about my benefits being cancelled. I say committed suicide because I had no intention of living... it was just a fluke of luck that someone found me before I had finished bleeding out and I was rushed to the hospital for surgery.
I survived, and now have a paralyzed hand to go with the botched shoulder. Fortunately it looks as thought the VA will pick up the bill for shoulder and now I have counseling and psychiatric medications, oh joy. However, it seems that everyone has forgotten what the true trigger was, the chronic pain and hopelessness.
I need advice.