I saw a story about bullying - about how teenagers are so depressed and I thought how awful it was and how hard it is to change society’s mind. Where do you start when in life even as adults we are bullied by society and how I was so sick of being bullied by a system.
Having the strength to stand up to the bullies?
I think as a person I have always tried to stand up to bullies but no-one really understands how hard it can be to do that at times. I am lucky I have a supportive family and that my personality in general is strong, yet often feeling broken. There are friends who do not have a clue that this is the life I have been living for almost 15 years as I like to keep it separate. I want people to know the real me, not this person.
It’s hard to have the strength to speak out as it makes me feel like a failure for people to see me this way. I also feel strongly about making people accountable and not only trying to help myself but to try and bring awareness to help others.
Work Cover System
Through no fault of my own I found myself in a system which goes against everything I believe in. I have always worked, even when my girls were babies I would go out on night shift and weekends to maintain my job in nursing. This was the downfall as on the way home from a night shift I was involved in a car accident which has left me with multiple injuries. I know these may not be obvious to everyone and this is often the problem for most people who have suffered. You find yourself suffering in silence as you have no cast or crutches or wounds to show, yet on the inside you are hiding so much more.
The workcover system is a complex one, and one that I have been grateful for in one way, however being in a system is demeaning, insulting at times and basically your life is dictated to. You find you have to prove your case over and over again, you’re treated like an idiot, you’re passed from one person to the next and they never fully read your case notes so you have to start again to prove your injuries. It gets tiring, and the more you try to help yourself the more they hit you and knock you down.
I loved my work in nursing and when I couldn’t return to ward work I was devastated as it was all I’d ever wanted to do. I had been working different types of light duties in nursing up to as many hours as I could, but then there was no current work available so I paid to retrain myself (as the insurer would not fund it) and I did a diploma in reflexology. As I had experienced reflexology I thought I could help others and also assist my own pain. Again I tried to work as much as I could but it was always 3 steps forward and 2 back. But I never gave up as all I want to do is to work even a little for my own sanity.
Then in 2012 my husband became sick! Another blow and eventually we moved from Sydney at the end of 2013 as it was too difficult with him not able to work in his usual job as a plumber and too expensive to stay. My pain had started to increase and I was unable to work again due to a flare up and degeneration of a disc in my neck.
Just as we moved I was told that despite the WPI 30% I did not meet their criteria as I wasn’t working enough hours (despite trying and retraining myself) so my pay would be cut off and in 12 months my medical bills would cease paying. I couldn’t believe that after so much this was happening so decided to take on the fight for justice. With all my medical knowledge I had and all the notes I had I appealed to the insurance company and then to Work Cover.
With hours of work and going through reports (thank goodness for my medical understanding) I found an error by a doctor.
I was in fact WPI 31% which meant I was in a different category ‘the seriously injured worker’ category. It took a huge effort on my part and lots of perseverance but after my case manager sent it off to his manager and then off to their legal team they admitted the error and changed by claim.
You’d think that now I’m in the ‘seriously injured worker’ category that things would get easier!! NO – still having to prove to them that you are ‘worthy’ of the costs of treatments.
Still sending me to doctors for assessments, because the requests by my treating doctor they don’t agree with.
At this stage in time its basically about managing my symptoms and treating me so that I can have as good a quality of life as possible. However, if the insurer has nothing to gain, they are still reluctant to pay out!
After nearly 15 years and poor management I recently had surgery to my neck to repair the structure, yet the insurer wanted to continue to treat me ‘conservatively’ How many years can you treat someone conservatively??? Their latest Doctor said ‘time is not of the essence” ?? I guess its not an emergency, yet what does he know about what I am going through?? After nearly 15 years I believe that as they have rejected treatments and investigations during this time, that in fact time is of the essence as due to their neglect I am still suffering with an issue that has been there for many years!!
I have had lots of treatments to avoid surgery and who wants surgery??? I’ve tried to avoid it and although I’ve had numerous doctors and professionals who recommend the surgery for me to try and move forward, one doctor (who is paid by the insurer) says lets keep it ‘conservative’ and that’s all the insurance company was interested in! That same doctor said to me “I bet your insurance company wished you’d died in the accident then you wouldn’t be costing them so much”
I am not alone and many people out there are suffering as I am and stuck in a system that they would rather not be in, yet unable to opt out due to the financial burden laid upon us through no fault of our own.
If I can be a voice to just bring some of the issues to light and to help others I will feel somewhat relieved.
It’s important to not give in and to fight all the way. At the end of the day if you have a genuine injury and reason to be in the system, then make sure you check everything and follow up on any information you have. Ask for copies of all reports, get a good lawyer (I have) and if you don’t understand something make sure you ask and get it explained.
I feel lucky that I have a medical background as I understand a lot of the reports and I can tell when they are full of rubbish. Don’t be afraid to question a professional? I did, and the doctor had made an error and that error was a huge gain for me.
I am blessed with a supportive family and I know not everyone has that support and it kills me to know there are people out there suffering as I am and not have that support.
I will continue to fight for justice and I would love to be able to help others, even if it’s just some moral support. I know my emotional state is up and down but I also know that helping others gives me the strength to move forward.
I’m hoping to write a book about my experience in the Workers Compensation System and to hopefully recover from my surgery and to be able to try and move forward in a positive way.