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I Got Paid

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Home-love-wood-engraving-Soula-Mantalvanos

Have you all been holding your breath as I have the last couple of months? Well, you can breath out and feel happy for me – I got paid!

The financial ease is beyond documentation even though it falls far short of what I’m due (a most usual scenario with injured workers).

The fear and doubt that the compensation won’t continue will be ever-present. Being treated repulsively for years can never been forgotten – it’s a kind of irreversible trauma.

I will forever doubt these monsters. Trust was never incorporated into this relationship.

So am I settled, is it done, and am I feeling ecstatic?

Nope. There’s grief and anger to get through now. Grief for the life we lost due to the insurer’s dirty tactics. Anger for having to unnecessarily begin a whole new life miles away from everyone and everything we love.

If this compensation was delivered as it should have in 2014, I could have been waking up to a completely different day today. One with less uncertainty for the future;

  • where I was working with Theo in our existing 17 yo design business (where we also employed a brilliant young graphic designer)
  • where I lived and worked from a beautiful premises renovated to suit my chronic health issue
  • where I owned that premises outright (a home/office environment Theo and I molded to fit us perfectly)
  • where I walked a pavement I was familiar with and that I loved and that embraced me each step
  • where I felt the community around me was mine and I felt I was theirs
  • where I was close to my family and friends
  • where I expected to live for many years to come
  • where I could be as comfortable as possible
  • where I was connected, and
  • where I had ‘home love’

For 17 years, each hour and day, Theo and I felt ‘home love’. Our home provided us with a feeling of safety and a kind of bliss that wrapped around us all day. It was our great love. Establishing love takes a long time.

This can’t be fixed with the compensation. ‘Home’ will not exist again for Theo and I for a very long time – in fact we’re renting now in a town that’s not ours. We haven’t even begun to make ‘home’ which means ‘love’ is also ages away.

As brilliant as this next part of life may turn out to be, we’ve suffered a huge loss and starting again is hard. ‘Home love’ is ages away.

My situation and circumstances (as far as the WorkSafe Victoria’s requirements for an injured worker go) were not different between the first 93CD application and the second 93CD application. The only difference between each 93CD application was that an insurer employee existed who was filthy hungry for his bonus and drew on the insurer’s dirty tactics to get it. He got it. He no longer works with my insurer. He wouldn’t even have the faintest that I no longer have my home and even if he did, I doubt he’d care much.

WorkSafe Victoria should care. So should the insurer. In my mind, both these organisations will forever be responsible for the loss we’ve encountered and for the unnecessary rebuild of life we’re having to deal with right now.

Yesterday when the first reimbursement was making it’s way into my bank account my phone rang. It was the number that makes my heart skip beats, my stomach fall to my feet and makes my pain levels escalate. My new case manager was calling. Theo returned her call and she said she was calling to say ‘hello’ and to ask how I was.

I’m not sure I’ll ever speak to her. How will I contain myself from speaking my mind, from expressing my loss, and from letting her know how much I despise the work she and her employer do?

Perhaps I should just email her this post. Or should I photograph my diary entry from September 1, 2007 (5 months after my accident) where although I was injured, I had ‘home love’ to comfort me:

“The phone rang after I rested for about 3 hours… it was Louise. I had just managed to start (in the studio), Theo was in the Dandenongs. She just wanted to know how I went with Cortisone. I thought, ‘f*•k it’ and walked up there. This thing is not going to beat me. I knew I had dinner to get through and then Sunday we were lying in the park with friends so I could take a risk and push it a bit.

I ended up being at St. Luke for about 2 hours. Lou convinced me she does lay down on her stretching table every day and makes phone calls so I thought ‘what the heck’ and layed down for a rest. It was heaven… and allowed me to stay longer and have wonderful chats. So many people came in – Port Jackson staff, Mark Chapman who helped hang the show and I even bumped into Deb (Williams) when I rocked up there!! It was lovely… I just love how the day worked out perfectly… such a spontaneous day. I felt so free… walking up was amazing. The sun was out, it was wonderful.

I know I’ll be fine… at least I can still do that. Once work is sorted and I don’t lock myself into exhibitions I’ll be able to space everything out and have time to walk and do things that might still aggravate but not set me back…”

And

Thank you to all of you who subscribed to my website when I needed a little help. I should be able to maintain the website from here on given today’s news.

Feedback

6
  • Joletta Belton

    Oh, Soula, I’m so relieved to hear that you’ve been paid and that this weight is off your shoulders for now. It will never make up for all of those losses, and grieve for them you must. Your life was completely upended and disrupted and it will take a while to find your footing again. But I do hope that traveling along this new path will be made the easier without this question of reparations hanging over your head and this huge burden weighing you down.

    Much love to you sister. And Theo, too.

    • soula

      Thank you Dear Jo. I couldn’t have done it without everyone supporting me. It was so hard to fight them openly but having you there and your words made the difference. Certainly the day seems easier today so we are very hopeful. xx

  • Frances

    I’m so happy for you Soula. Happy that your financial burden has been alleviated. No amount of money will take away the grief related to all your losses and the flow on from the disgusting way you have been treated by Workcover. Does this mean they will now be paying for your medical expenses and the like related to your work injury? Or have the disgusting insurance agents stolen that right from you as well? I’m still suffering in pain and trying to get my medical treatments done, but Workcover (Allianz) are doing their darnedest to deny what my specialists want to do. Take care xoxoxo

    • soula

      Thank you Frances. You have been an immense support to me. No support for my treatment as that is still deemed unsuitable for ‘my psychological condition’!! But the practitioner’s visits will be supported. Go figure. Keep fighting. Call the Ombudsman, call Worksafe, hassle, hassle, hassle it’s what I did. This is their way and they’re damn good at deterring us. And it’s easy because we are not well enough to fight. Without Theo I would never have gone in to battle again. I also had advice from Maurice Blackburn. They are amazing. You take care too and thank you again for being beside me. xxxx

  • Rosemary McKenzie-Ferguson

    My beautiful Soula and the most dapper Theo,

    I am sitting here knowing your pain and knowing the gentleness of Theo who has softly cared and protected you with a steely determination forged in the love of just being together.
    Today knowing that your income has been paid, a right that was always yours as you say does not ease the grief of all that has been lost.
    I was so fortunate to have been a guest in your beautiful home, so fortunate to have walked the pavement and felt the warmth of your community that surrounded and supported you.
    Please just know that I love both of you.

    • soula

      Thank you Rosemary for being a great support to Theo and I during this horrid process. Most of all, I’m grateful for our friendship and perhaps now, we can move on with that aspect and enjoy it. We both love you too x

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