Severe Workplace Back Injury Requiring Multiple Surgeries

This story is about my father, a man whose struggles and hope has given me the back bone to continue my minor struggles in life by looking at his grief.

Almost 9 years ago, my father Tom was injured on the job and since has undergone two back operations, both of which gave him a 50% chance of ever walking again and the inability to ever has children again, countless visits to the doctors, and a need for pain relief so strong his stomach and liver may eventually pay the consequences. Chronic sciatica keeps him from his life and the constant back pain and many scars remind him every day.

Our family fell apart soon after his second operation, my mother leaving him and him left with the feeling of incompetence, feeling less of a man. He lost all of his muscle in his legs. My father, a once strong man, was left barely able to walk, hunched over in a grotesque manner. Countless nights I awoke to hear cries coming from my father's bedroom as he lay in bed with pain. At the age of 12, I had to take over all of the family chores, cooking and cleaning, and taking on a part time job to help pay our bills. I also lost much of my time with my father, who was unable to leave the couch for almost days at a time.

His struggles continue to this day. Just yesterday, The Institute for Injured Workers informed him (on the day of his final appeal) that they felt they would not be able to win his case, and left him in another state of depression. Countless lawyers, stacks of papers, bills and tears, and still he was left helpless.

I have been with my father through this whole ordeal and have watched him fall again and again. I have had enough. Never have I ever seen anyone work so hard, given as much as he has, and gotten nothing in return. My father deserves better, like so many others. He lost his ability to work, enjoy life, live a day without pain, his family, dreams but never his strength. All he wanted was his compensation and maybe a chance to go back to school so he can once again find a job to pay the bills.

I awoke at 5:00 this morning to the sound of my father sobbing. A grown man crying because he has given his all and is left helpless. I carry those sounds with me now, and always will. My heart goes out to those in the same position. I know how a few people's lack of compassion can ruin an entire family's life. All that is left is pain and it will never go away.

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