Friday, February 13, 2009


That is the condition Martha is in, at least for now.

She was released from the hospital this afternoon. They sprang her at a little before 3:00, and she has been sleeping on and off since we got home. That's thanks to the pain medication they dumped into her. She got lots of good drugs, including being connected to a Fentanyl PCA pump for a day and a half. Not to mention the Ativan, the Zofran, and the steroids she was given during her stay. And she had an episode of chest pressure last night - this was a reflux response to the oral steroids, but it didn't stop the doc on call to order cardiac labs and an ECG. All negative, but this is one of the other things that happens to her on an intermittent basis. Another thing I'm powerless to help her with....

This hasn't happened in years. The last time she had a migraine like this was not too long before we got married in 2003. That bought her a 4 day stay at the Elliot, and they tried some things then that were a lot less effective than the straight-ahead manage-the-pain-with-narcotics strategy they used this time around. I am glad she's sleeping, though; at least when she wakes up tomorrow morning she might actually be close to pain free. But she has to continue the steroids for the next 5 days, plus she got prescriptions for anti-emetics and more pain medication if she needs it.

I actually need to bite the bullet and clean out my car tomorrow. I looked in the back storage area (Honda CR-V's don't really have a trunk because they're a mini-SUV) and it is full of stuff that I haven't done anything with since before I was injured. So now I should deal with it, and that includes washing my sleeping bag.

Today I had a rather interesting conversation with my attorney. Earlier this week I received a letter from the insurance company handling my worker's compensation claim. Attached was a form they've asked me to fill out and send back extending the "pay without prejudice" period I am in now. The period is 180 days and by sending back the form it automatically extends the period to 365 days. However, there are some significant disadvantages to signing and sending the form back. The biggest is that by my signing off of this I pretty much waive all of my rights in the event that something goes wrong from now until when I am cleared to return to work. Additionally, this gives the insurance company the green light to pretty much stop my benefits with minimal notice. Neither of these is good, as least as far as I'm concerned.

The other thing is that this is "time sensitive" and they want it back as soon as possible. As I see it, this is BS. I still have about 8 weeks to play with, and normally forms like this don't go out until 3-4 weeks prior to the end of the period. Besides, I am not legally required to send this back. Obviously I'm taking a bit of a risk here, but we are talking about an insurance company and the lengths to which they'll go to not pay a claim. And if my benefits were stopped, I would have the right to take legal action against the insurer, regardless of the status of this form. I'm certain of those things.

When we had finished the conversation, I decided that I'm going to wait before doing anything with this form. From what my attorney told me, the worst they will likely do is schedule me to have an independent medical evaluation performed. I would be required to participate, but I have no problem doing so because I am still dealing with problems from the wound.

Once all is said and done, I don't think any of this will come to pass. I believe I will be cleared for work before the dates even come up. But all I can do is wait and see what happens. At least for now....


TOTWTYTR said...

IMEs are generally anything but. They get their money from the insurance companies, so guess who they tend to side with?

Some of them seem to have no other practice and no patients.

I've had friends who had been seen by specialists in their type of injury who said "Nope, can't go back to work." They then went to IMEs who did a cursory exam and said, "Nothing wrong with them.".

Which generally resulted in a hearing, at which the IME was overturned.

Sign nothing that forfeits your rights.

Michael Morse said...

Good luck Walt, especially with Martha. Migraines are horrible things. We get calls for people with migraines a lot. When I was "green" I'd treat the call as a taxi ride, nothing more, actually annoyed that somebody had the nerve to call 911 for a headache. Years and a lot of seasoning have taught me a little. I actually put my sunglasses on the last patient who called with a migraine, turned off the siren and lowered the lights in back. You can just see the pain all over their faces, even a cynical old buzzard like me has to recognise that!