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My workers compensation battle is turning into a WorkSafe carnivale

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Medical questions

It’s been a huge few weeks for WorkSafe and injured workers in Victoria.

I’ve always encouraged anyone who contacted me with their frustrations and horrid experiences of being an injured worker in Victoria to call their Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman’s role, as it was explained to me, was to gather complaints and if/when the complaints amounted in one specific matter, the Ombudsman would have reason to report the complaints to our Government and possibly investigate.

Clearly there have been many complaints and the Ombudsman just recently released this report about Worksafe’s ‘oversight’.

After finally gathering myself from the last blow that left Theo and I having to sell our home and start all over again, I resubmitted a 93CD application (that’s an application for part payments). Actually Theo is managing the application as I was unable to navigate the trauma of it all again but I also couldn’t bring myself to accept the insurer and our Government had gobbled up my compensation. Both very difficult when you have a chronic health issue and when you feel you’re being responsible for it but the other parties are trying to bury you instead of help.

I’ve seen the ad, ‘getting back, we’ll get you back, it’s good to be back, get you back, nothing like getting back.’ Hogwash! No one tried to help me get back to work! Nor did they advise us as self employers either!

Worksafe promises alot when they take our insurance premiums.

So, we’ve sent, what’s called a 93CD application to the insurer accompanied with: Continue Reading

Act 3 – explained

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Big day for me today. Thank you to the Victorian Ombudsman and to all the injured workers who spoke up.

…Sadly too late – won’t bring our beautiful home and life back.

Act 3: Home lost to these vile insurer (and WorkSafe Victoria supported), unjust actions:

‘At interview, one former agent employee said that management placed pressure on staff to maintain decisions at conciliation and to not pay compensation past a certain date. This was to ensure the agent did not ‘breach’ their ‘targets’.

Read the article and full investigation, Investigation into the management of complex workers compensation claims and WorkSafe oversight on the Victorian Ombudsman’s website

Also worth reading: WorkSafe: complex claims process needs fixing

Worksafe’s Dirty tactics – finally realised

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I woke up crying last night. I hardly ever cry. My boiling point hits when I’m feeling that I’m in a situation where I see no hope in sight and that I’m being treated unfairly and disrespectfully.

My boiling points have been few during the minute-to-minute demands of chronic pain management (over the last 9+ years) because it makes sense to me that you can have an accident and things can go wrong in life – that’s understandable although very upsetting and very difficult to deal with.

However, in respect to managing as a self employed injured worker with a workers compensation claim, I am unable to accept and understand the unfair and unjust treatment our Victorian system delivers.

I’ve felt the treatment from the insurer managing my claim (I don’t need to name them because they’re all the same!), Worksafe, the Independent Medical Examiners (IME’s), the Accident Compensation Conciliation Service (ACCS) and the Medical Panel IME’s has been unfair, unjust and throughout the 9+ year ordeal, I have sensed a corruptness about it.

Why? Because the system has no way of assessing chronic pain. No one asks the neuropathic pain related questions and given chronic pain is invisible, it makes it almost impossible for me to explain the injury.

That means it makes it really easy for the insurer to make me look like there’s nothing wrong with me and that I have more ability than I state.

Why was I in tears of frustration last night?

Because the insurer monster handling my claim has rejected the previous  Medical Panel Opinion from 2014 (yes the document that is meant to be binding in Federal court) for a reason I still don’t understand and no one can explain. In the next couple of months, I have to return to the ACCS for yet another horrific examination by yet another 5 IME’s who know they have no means of assessing neuropathic pain but who still require me to undress and who measure my scars (having no place to put the evidence) in order to somewhat respond to the insurer’s pathetic cluster of misconstrued information that they use to dispute my right to compensation.

The insurer has the right to do this. Worksafe loves them for it – in fact I believe they encourage it with incentives. Continue Reading

Own motion workers compensation investigation with the Victorian Ombudsman

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Workers compensation frustration again

The horrid treatment toward injured workers has to stop. Two neurostimulation devices in my body are not there for the fun of it. My treatment is not ‘irrelevant for my psychological condition‘.

And the fact this system provides no appropriate measures for me to be assessed fairly for neuropathic pain is appalling.

But I’m glad to hear there is an Own Motion investigation with the Victorian Ombudsman (twitter:@VicOmbudsman).

For those fortunate enough not to encounter this monstrous system, imagine you have a health issue and you are forced to visit a specialist who was unqualified to assess you properly. You wouldn’t go right? Continue Reading

Resources for Treating Chronic Pain by the Victoria Pain Specialists (Vicpain) …MY pain team!

Author:

Forgive my bossiness but this post comes from a desperate experience that I lived for 4.5 years. That’s a long time for someone with increasing chronic pain levels and not much hope. I felt isolated and alone in a very foreign world without appropriate treatment, compassion and understanding.

Nine years later, I’m hopeful a situation like mine can be prevented with the knowledge provided in the following resources. Vicpain are leaders in pain treatment and management, I can certainly vouch for that!

Please read the resources, learn them, share them… and if you require information on chronic pain, follow Vicpain. Continue Reading

Adventures of a stim controller

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Ever wondered what a stim’s controller’s day looks like?

Firstly, let me clarify that I’m talking about my Boston Scientific Sacral Stimulation Implant controller (BSSSIC), not my St. Jude’s Peripheral Stimulation Implant controller (SJPSIC otherwise known as, the one that saved my life).

I’m experimenting at this 7 month post implant stage in order to figure out whether I need the SJPSIC by not using it at all. Two devices in one backside cheek is quite tricky at times. Someone without a chronic health issue would probably complain endlessly as this situation does have a few uncomfortable limitations. For someone with a chronic health issue though, that side of things, is a piece of cake in comparison – almost welcoming when you think of the benefits that come with it.

And one more thing, before I go on – no! I won’t turn both on for your entertainment purposes.

A controller has a fair job to do – it’s committed 24/7. Continue Reading

Time to exercise – but how?

Author:

It took six full months for me to feel I was ready to have my follow up appointment with Dr Nick Christelis after my Sacral Stimulation Implant.

I got a few ticks at the appointment:

  • Device incision healed
  • Leads incision healed
  • Both areas feeling cushy and a bit more robust
  • Honeymoon period helped with setting up the new life
  • I’ve learned a few of my new limits

I also got a few concerned looks expressing the following:

  • I’m more fatigued
  • I’m sad
  • I’m feeling like I can’t get up in the morning
  • My mood is really low
  • I feel I’m slipping
  • Sleep is a bit more disrupted than usual
  • I’m waking up anxious, breathless

We had a good chat. We agreed alot – especially about the need to find a way for me to exercise. I’m resting less now – no longer napping in the afternoon (a great thing!), so that means I’m moving more. But my heart rate isn’t really going up. It needs to.

In the nine years of chronic pain, I’ve tried a squillion routines and tricks in the attempt of finding some way of exercising without painful consequences.

Anything I attempt seems to translate as ‘too much pressure’ on my pelvis.

To understand what I mean, just imagine the feeling in your muscles after you’ve worked out at the gym. The muscles scream the day after (for various reasons). And the day after that – even more so.

But in that normal circumstance, the pain goes. With chronic pain it doesn’t go, in fact it manifests.

With PN there’s a further impact – signals and functions are affected and I get pretty uncomfortable. One thing leads to another and if I don’t listen to the signals, before I know it, I’m in a fire ball.

I’ve learned to listen (had a few nerve blocks, sat in loads of cold running water) and thankfully the fire balls don’t happen anymore. But other uncomfortable things still do happen – I just have to find another way.

This is what I’ve tried:

  • Walking in various amounts, strides, shoes, places, times and tracks
  • Yoga (which I sometimes practice but can’t sustain regularly)
  • Stretching (forget that!)
  • Various slow/resistance movements
  • Hydro therapy
  • Clinical Pilates
  • Meditation (not exactly heart rate lifting)
  • Dancing

Not only is none of the above possible but even if I could partake in any of the above (in my butterfly way), I’m hardly going to get my heart rate up enough. Continue Reading

Who am I going to be – Soula ‘a’, ‘b’ or ‘c’?

Author:
_Sacral_stim

My new stim’s changed everything.

I’m grateful. Can you imagine if the whole process (from trial to permanent implant) hadn’t change anything?

In addition to the stim changing everything, I’m living a whole new life that Theo and I attempted to plan in great detail.

We’re trying to make me the best I can be so we can be… someway, somehow.

Life is unrecognisable and the path ahead is totally unfamiliar. To top that off, I need to figure out exactly how I can best be. I have choices.

Post op

After living with my sacral stim for six months, I can confirm the following: Continue Reading

Retrainpain.org

Author:

It’s finally filtering through my brain: It’s going to be VERY hard work most days and it’s up to me to keep my butt in gear and stay on the treatment and management trail.

You’ll all be getting sick of reading my badger about this, but the research is out. Patient experiences have been in the making (for decades now), and the biggest sign that the hard work is cut out for people with chronic pain comes from the many who are now drug dependent with either increasing levels of pain or who sadly have lost their lives – not from the medication – but from the battle.

I get sick of filtering through paragraphs and words and med talk that I don’t quite understand (not to mention the pain levels soar for some peculiar reason) and as an artist, I still find it really difficult to present my pain experience to my readers, family and friends in a simple form.

Continue Reading

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Definitions of pain

What is Pudendal Neuralgia (PN)?
Most simply put PN is Carpal Tunnel in the pelvis/buttocks. Compression of the Pudendal Nerve occurs after trauma to the pelvis and is aggravated with pressure. The pain is often described as a toothache like pain, with spasms, sensations of tingling, numbness, or burning. It can be very debilitating.

What is Neuropathic pain?
Neuropathic pain is the result of an injury or malfunction in the peripheral or central nervous system. The pain is often triggered by an injury, but this injury may or may not involve actual damage to the nervous system. More…

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