08/2017 I was at work and a metal stair collapsed under me. Fortunately I was able to stop myself from falling all the way through the stairs, I really don't want to think how much worse it could have been. I was sent later that day to a walkin medical center through workman's comp with cuts and gouges on my right arm and increasing lower back pain. Their doctors gave me a prescription for 550mg alieve tablets and some real weak muscle relaxants. I told them I had a prior back injury (L5 spinal fusion) close to 30 some years ago right in the area where I was hurting now. They seemed more interested with the cuts on my arm then my back and only wrote me out for 2 days from work because of the open wounds.
It took 3 weeks before the insurance company approved an MRI. When the first Dr saw the MRI he told me I would be needing surgery(this is when I was finally given a prescription for a weak painkiller (tramadol)). Workman's comp immediately stopped me from seeing him and transferred me to a different series of doctors. They had me doing physical therapy for 3 months even though it was giving me more pain. My job wasn't honouring the Workman's Comp Doctor's request for light duty...in fact they added to my workload 3 times(actually taking work from a coworker and adding it to my load). I hired a Lawyer, he had to twice write letters to the WC Insurance company to Honour your Doctors request. Finally I got tired of it and wrote my boss a 2 page letter of bullet points pointing things out (and I guess they realized it wouldn't look good if this went to trial) and they made a decent change to my work assignment (I really think they were trying to get me to quit and I know better then that.)
The results from the MRI were:Posterior ridging and underlying bulge compressing th thecal sac without focal herniation, Lateral spurring asymmetric to the left with impingement of both L5 nerve roots, greater on the left. Bulge with bilateral foraminal components asymmetrically impinging the L4 nerve roots to the right at L4-5 Mild facet degeneration. Asymmetric bulge to the right at L3-4 with mass effect on the right L4 nerve root. Bulge and central herniation at T12-L1 Disc Bulges at T11-12 and L2-3. Grade a anterior spondylolisthesis on L4 and L5 and L5 on S1 on a degenerative basis.
WC sent me to a pain management doctor who had tried a surgical injected cortisone shot which I guess I reacted to and for 5 days I was nauseous and stayed close to the toilet. Felt some pain relief for a day and then was gone. So they scheduled me for discotamy/discogram to figure where exactly the pain was originating from. That was the most painful procedure I have been through because they put you in twilight till they find the spot and wake you up to see how you respond to the pain. Well the WC Doctor told me my spinal fusion from 30 years ago (I was in the military and fell down a flight of stairs. I never received any sort of payout..they just used it to get me out of the military and my father's health insurance paid for the fusion I was 19) was all that was holding my back together, that the disc was crushed.
WC finally after much deliberating approved the surgery, had it done in 02/2018 and have gone through 3 months of physical therapy and a month of Occupational therapy. The WC Doctor told me my back is a mess and I am probably going to be 100% disabled. I live in constant pain. (Years of martial arts help me keep the pain a little more in check, or at least when you look at me it isn't obvious until i try to sit, sit for more than 15 minutes (I squirm because I am in pain)) Heavy pain sitting and getting up from sitting, constant back pain, I can walk, but standing still for more than 15 minutes starts to hurt a lot. I used to be above average strong, well a month ago my combination printer scanner while under warranty crapped out, they sent me a replacement. The box weighs 21lbs shipping weight. Carrying it from the door to my computer no biggie. Taking the old one out to my truck not a big deal. When I went to the place to ship the old one back I ended up being forced to park almost 2 blocks away...well 21 pounds became a big deal. At my last job, myself and a coworker weekly had to carry a 210lb cart down 2 flights of stairs... now 21lbs is too much.
The WC Doctor told me I would be on Tramadol for life. When I contacted my case worker that I needed approval for a prescription refill she got nasty with me on the phone that "We didn't pay for surgery for you to be on painkillers you need to get off them". I told her that their Doctor told me I would be on them for life and she (supposedly is an RN) is not the decision maker and do I need to call my lawyer because you are withholding my pain meds?" Prescriptions have been getting filled. I am guessing she must have been keeping up with the Dr's reports because when I spoke to her 2 weeks ago I could hear the tone difference in her voice "So your still in a lot of pain?"
Friday 07/13/18, I go for my Functional Capacity Evaluation, and 07/17/18 is my final appointment with the WC Doctor.
I have my suspicions I am probably 100% disabled. The anxiety of it all is pretty high because of this whole "unknown".
My lawyer told me their doctors determine how much of the injury is "prior injury" Which doctor determines that, the one that operated on me or the ones doing the FCE? I never received any sort of payout for the injury.
If I am found 100% disabled, I understand I have to apply for SSDI, but what about immediate money coming in? Apply for unemployment/temp disability?
Thanks in Advance!