Silence serves no purpose other than letting the patterns of ignorance, chaos, and destruction continue from one generation to the next….
The misleading information and facts that stare me in the face when I opened my Workers Compensation medical file in 2006, was enough to make me BREAK MY SILENCE. Now I have a voice.
Misdiagnosis happens more than we think, or hear about. To think that a simple broken rib would cause such so much internal damage, heartache, losses, and destruction in this day is a crime.
I had an accident in 1985 which resulted in a broken rib and a misdiagnosis, of “Rhomboid muscle strain,” caused the biggest challenges I have ever experienced in my life. Sending me on a fight for my life, rights to medical attention and to find someone to acknowledge I had a broken rib and not “muscle problems.”
I saw a total of eighteen doctors that the first year, but too many times I was turned away because they believed I only suffered from muscle problems, PSTD, or I was overreacting. I knew that if I survived my childhood, I could survive anything, and there were many times I didn’t think I would see the next day, but I made it, by the grace of God…..I found a way and kept going.
I was put into the Workers Compensation system and given a number. And it seems I was judged on my appearance because I didn’t look the way anyone wanted, and they couldn’t see the physical cause of the pain I was in, it was said in many of their reports that I was exaggerating, and when they found out about my abusive childhood, they said I was dealing with PSTD?
When you’re put in the WSIB system, they put you through the wringer. I went into their Rehab and later I was sent to a Psychiatrist for an evaluation. I trusted the Psychiatrist Workers Comp sent me to, and despite them saying that “information was confidential,” When I investigated my Workers Compensation file, I found everything that I had said to the doctor about my childhood in my files and that was used against me. Nothing was confidential and all that I said in private, was in my files for everyone else to judge further….
I often wondered, had I told them a different story, I what would have been different?
The above picture of my back is the result of six unnecessary operations I suffered after the broken rib was removed in 1986, almost a year later, when a CT scan was finally done. The result of that was that I was left with internal damage to muscles and nerve damage that caused further problems and pain.
I can only pray that my experiences, won’t become the experience of someone else. I was twenty-two when this happened. A frightened young girl, in pain and up against some pretty big doctors….and I fought these battles, for the most part, requesting my medical case be investigated, but like my words, they were lost on many.
The first year I went from pain clinic to pain clinic. Having painful nerve blocks, and spinal taps, x-rays and body scans, and nobody could figure out what the problem was.
Had a doctor done a CT scan at the time, my life I know would not have been like this. But, because they saw nothing on an X-ray, and only reports before seeing me, that was my cross to bear. The Workers Compensation’s convoluted reports from day one stated first that I was a 63-year old with “low back problems….and the reports about me having “low back problems would continue to crucify me until 2008.
Because of ignorance, medications and radiation, I found out I was pregnant and had to lose two pregnancies and the losses continued accumulating.
God made me a Poet in 1985 and for every loss a poem was written that kept me sane, helping me find a better perspective on looking at the situations I was up against. giving me the courage and strength to fight for my rights……
I finally found a surgeon to remove the broken rib in 1986. By then the damage was done internally. Because the rib was ignored, it had grown callus around it trapping nerves. I had my first operation on March 4, 1986. The rib, as well as damaged nerves, were removed. After the operation, I was left with new pain problems. A report was sent to WSIB and nobody ever recognized that I was left with nerve damage.
As much as I fought WSIB, I had to find help for this pain and burning in my upper back. WSIB cut me off and I had to find a job and a lawyer to fight to get back on the system. I was in too much pain to work. I eventually got reinstated with WSIB and spent the next few years dealing with nerve damage. I found out I was pregnant again and lost that pregnancy. I could never have any more children after I lost the 2nd child that was growing inside me. It seems everything was taken from me, time and again.
Five years later in 1991, I was introduced to a medical device ‘spinal column stimulator.” The Workers Compensation paid thousands of dollars for these devices without knowing why it was needed, nor did they ask questions. And they never spoke to me before my operations. I was semi-conscious when I had the operation, and I woke up later freaking out as I saw wires hanging out of my back. I was told they wanted to test the device to see if it would work before tucking the wires in place. I went home a week later.
The pictures above are of the medical device a Medtronic Neurotransmitter, (spinal column stimulator.) This was inserted into my body in 1991, then 1998, 2000 – as an experiment, to stop nerve pain. Prior to my having this inserted in my thoracic spine, it was only used for the lower extremities. So, I became the guinea pig they forgot to monitor, and I paid the price and it almost cost me my life on two occasions.
I wore these devices 24/7. This device would send 750 amps of electricity through my nervous system, my body literally vibrated from the electricity needed to stop the pain. It took some getting used to as the electricity would drain me of energy and 8-volt batteries ran out in four hours. I had to get industrial batteries and changed them often. WSIB continued to harass me about returning to work, but I couldn’t return to my heavy lifting and fought them to change careers.
I didn’t have many options and eventually went for training as a Secretary. I was able to return to the workforce in 1992, I eventually found a great job and tried hard to forget the past, tried to rebuild my world.
I lived and worked for the next seven years. I wasn’t on any medications, as the pain was stopped by the electricity. I had a new family doctor who knew nothing of the device before. I rebuilt my life and forgot I wore a medical device.
I was never monitored medically, as these machines are supposed to be I would find out much later. As soon as the devices were back in my body, WSIB pushed me back into the workforce, and I was forgotten by everyone for seven years. The adjudicators who had harassed me for years wanting doctors reports stopped asking for medical reports.
The device became a part of me like breathing….it did stop pain…it was my miracle, but a curse.
in 1998 while at work, without warning, the machine suddenly went haywire when I shifted my body, and as the force of electricity rose in my body, I was paralyzed, couldn’t cry out, could only cry silently, as my body contorted, and my heart hurt almost beating out of my chest, I almost blacked out from the force. Had it not been for my co-worker unplugging the cord from the transmitter, or had I been anywhere else that day, it would have killed me. I left work thinking I would be back in a few months, but things took a turn for the worse.
I went back to the original surgeon to have the device fixed and he inserted a Quad X-Trel system, a newer model. For some reason that day I felt uneasy, I was sedated as the surgeon came in and spoke to me, he said: “what leg are we operating on today.” I just laughed it off…but bells went off in my head. During the operation I was feeling a lot of discomforts and started squirming, the surgeon was getting upset with me and eventually, I was put completely under. (the machine wasn’t tested)
Later I woke up in recovery the doctor came in chastising me for being upset in the operating room. He said the device was changed and that I could turn the device on a week later. I went home and a week later turned on the device only to find the electricity wasn’t reaching my upper back but was only going as far as my rib cage.
I called the surgeon and eventually went back to see him. If I turned the device on higher to reach my upper back I lost the use of my legs. When I went back to see the surgeon, he didn’t seem very pleased. I told him this, he tried adjusting the device and nothing worked. He told me to get used to it and later sent a letter to my doctor saying there was nothing he could do. He didn’t do an x-ray to check the device but instead told me to live with pain or paralysis.
My doctor sent me to another surgeon, who did an x-ray and said the wires needed to be moved a few inches. He compared the x-ray of 1991 with the one that he did and said the device wasn’t in the right place. He refused to help but told me to go back to the surgeon and have it fixed. He didn’t want to deal with a colleague’s patients.
I spent years fighting with Workers Compensation and trying to find a new surgeon that would fix the wires. There were not many doctors in Toronto that knew about this device, and I was the first patient to wear this in the thoracic area.
I found a new surgeon in 2000, who said he would fix the wiring. I waited for months and he never contacted me. My doctor tried contacting him and nobody was answering her calls or letters. I got a call from my Employer in 2000, saying that they were laying me off. I was devastated.
My doctor’s husband finally got involved in 2002 and went to see the surgeon. He didn’t leave without getting a surgery date. I finally heard from the surgeon a few months later and had my fifth operation to fix the wires.
Unfortunately, the device wasn’t tested in the operating room. When I woke up the electricity was still in the lower abdomen area and wouldn’t go any higher. I screamed from the stress. The doctor came in and apologized, saying that he would redo the operation in two weeks. I went home and returned two weeks later for my fifth operation. He put the wires in the right place and I went home to recover.
I tried hard to rebuild my life again. I started working at a new job and made friends, started a relationship and put the past behind me.
2008 while sitting at my desk at work the device malfunctioned again. I was faced with the horror of going through another electrocution. Once again my body contorted and I couldn’t cry out for help. A few minutes later my co-worker noticed my distress and started screaming, she thought I was having a seizure. It was only by some miracle that she decided to reach for the device I wore and unplugged it. My body collapsed on the floor and it took me some time to regain my senses.
I eventually called WSIB and Medtronic and explained what happened. I was told by the manufacturer that the device was obsolete in 2003….Something nobody informed me about. I was told to find a surgeon and have the device changed.
And my search was on again to find a doctor to help me with this device and it took years to find help. In 2009 I awoke with electricity running through my head, the pain was so bad I called an ambulance. I waited in the hospital for eight hours. When the doctor finally came in, he stood across the room from me and didn’t examine me. He found out about the device and told me to go to the U.S., or to another town to get help, he eventually sent me home with a few muscle relaxants.
These electrocutions, unnecessary surgeries, botched surgeries, and further injuries have been swept under the carpet by each Workers Compensation adjudicators on my case. They didn’t care how much I had to fight each time for medical care and they still have no idea about what really happened, nor do they care. I searched for medical help that came much too late, delayed by an adjudicator.
I had my seventh and last operation in 2010. The surgeon couldn’t remove the device it had grown into my spine and the wires were covered in scar tissue. So, I’m left with a device in my body and I don’t know what will happen in the future, but I will never wear another device, or be cut open again.
I fought WSIB every year for 32 years trying to keep them from cutting me off and had meetings with the President and Vice President, explaining my case and nobody investigated what happened.
In 2010 I was asked by the Vice President to do a video to sensitize their workers and give them an idea of what it was like for me in the system. To give them a better understanding of the problems we face…still, face.
If someone needs to be sensitized, they shouldn’t be working in jobs where they are supposed to help others. I have a copy of the video and it broke my heart when I watched it.
We think we have a system in place to protect us when we are injured, but we don’t. And if we don’t, WHY ARE WE PAYING INTO THIS SYSTEM? We don’t have a system that protects us when we are injured on the job, we have a system that puts us into a new “CONCENTRATION CAMP,” we are assigned a number and they do everything in their power to get us off the system from day one.
The Workers Compensation adjudicator’s shame us, and we are crucified and we alone, pay a heavy price for being injured, physically, mentally, emotionally and financially. It’s a system that buries their dead under outdated policies.
I can only hope that my story will help you protect yourself, and your children, as well as future generations from knowing, or experiencing these nightmares. I have God to thank for my life, from the time I was born, I was born only knowing a world of chaos, abuse, pain, and losses.
I survived seven unnecessary operations, two electrocutions and years of taking chemicals for pain, lost in depression, walking through a fog…which left me with a lifetime of nerve damage known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome that the Workers Compensation doesn’t recognize to this to this day.
I have never been compensated for these further injuries and losses. And the injustice is that I was out in society many times, rebuilding my life, making more money than I did in 1985…and because of these malfunctions, I get put back on this WSIB system as a “recurrence of my injury.” My injury was a broken rib, NOT electrocutions and NOT “Rhomboid muscle strain,”
I became my own lawyer investigating my file and fighting this case for 34 years. I am still on Workers Compensation Disability getting the $6 hr, that I got in 1985, combined with my disability pension which is a travesty that will be corrected hopefully one day…and it all adds up to $1200.00. monthly.
I am doing an appeal in September and I hope I can finally put this travesty behind me. We are broken people having to deal with a broken system…..
WE ARE MORE THAN A LABEL…AND MORE THAN A DISABILITY….
INSPIRATION IS OUR NAME
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FEAR IS – FOCUS=EMPOWERMENT=AND=RESILIENCE-
Step into your greatness. You can change the meanings of what you think…..be creative and challenge any negativity…..
FAIL= FIRST ATTEMPT IN LEARNING
END = EFFORT NEVER DIES
C.R.A.P. CONSCIOUSNESS RESPONSIBILITY-ACCOUNTABILITY & PURPOSE
C.R.A.P CONFUSION, REGRET, ANGER & PAIN
You do get to choose the meanings in your mind….
I stand alone, but 10, 000,000 or more stand with me….