Tuesday, February 27, 2007

So Far So Good

He's still here.

See, a big rig driver has to be in good health to go back to work.


I mean, that's what we pretty much all want, right? Including Walter himself.

By law, in order to drive these big rig 18-wheel vehicles, you have to get your CDL license and a medical clearance. To get hired at any reputable trucking firm, you have to pass company physicals too.

To return to work after a heart attack, you need a Release to Work note from your cardiologist saying you passed your stress test.

Now: After the bypass, Walter was getting paid under a short-term disability insurance policy we signed him up for when he went to work at his current employer's. The payor is Aetna. They decided he was disabled from 11/30/06 through 2/15/07. (He stopped work on 11/29, then had the heart attack that evening.)

After 2/15/07, to continue the short-term disability claim, Walter's current cardiologist has to say he's still disabled. On the correct Aetna form, of course.

Lots of people are intimidated by forms, and/or by taking responsibility for saying certain things. Saying a person is disabled. Or, saying they're ready to return to work.

Apparently this problem is rampant at the new cardiologist's office. So they're all upset over:

1. Filling out the disability form to cover the period from 2/15 through whenever he can work again.
2. Filling out the Release to Work note.

This, of course, puts them in a Catch-22.

They decided he was only disabled until 2/26. Okay. We're not sure, but hey, they're the docs. That's their job. If Walter is still weak and sleeping a lot, so forth, well...time to try to get back to normal. Force oneself to stay out of bed and be more physically active. Maybe it really is just that he's not regaining strength because he's not doing the cardiotherapy because the doc said he CAN'T until he got more test results in and all that...So. We'll just try to get Walter more active at home, doing odd jobs, taking walks, like that.

Because, see, here it is:

If you're too sick to work, you're disabled.


If you have the flu and are barfing your guts out for a week, you're *disabled* for a week. Dis. Abled. Not able to work.

If you're a pro basketball player and have a broken wrist, you go on the Disability List. Right?

Social Security defines disability this way: You can't work 40 hours per week in your regular profession, and for various reasons, can't work in another field. Even if you can work a little bit sometimes, you're still disabled: not able to work full time and support yourself like a regular person.

For the doc to say Walter can work, he must believe Walter is healthy enough to safely drive an eighteen wheel big rig truck. Walter must be physically able to drive under the laws and regulations regarding those drivers.

If he's afraid to sign that Release to Work because Walter's not really ready yet, then he can't simultaneously say: *Walter is NOT disabled.*

Real simple.

This morning, after discussing the relevant forms with Michelle, Benefits Coordinator at the employer, we re-faxed the disability form to the doc. They've had it for some time now, walking in a wide circle around the damn thing in case it bites.

See, couple weeks ago, the Doc told the form, *Well, I've only seen him once, I can't say if he's disabled or not until I get more test results and see him again...* then, off Doc goes out of the country to give some seminar or something. Form unsigned. No income. EVEN THOUGH, if the doc isn't sure Walter's ready to work yet, then OBVIOUSLY he's disabled. Right?

A nice lady in the doc's office found an empty space on 2/20 for a follow-up appointment for Walter.

Doc says, He's ready to go back to work on 2/26.

They were still upset about the disability form, so, since we knew Walter would be working soon and we were frankly rather sick and upset over this bullshit, we figured, --What the hell. Let it sit over the weekend and we'll address the icky form on Monday.

Which we did, first thing this morning.

We faxed the disability form to the doc's, with all their questions answered and Walter's personal info filled out, together with a fax cover saying, *We also need a Release to Work saying he passed his stress test and can go back to work.*

And haven't heard a peep out of them since.


I keep getting these powerful Fence Sitting Vibes emanating from downtown Ft. Lauderdale...

So for today, at least, Walter's still here. And all sorts of tasks that didn't get done because he was too sick? Even stuff he loves and does for fun, like working on the computers? (Now there's a good True Sickness Test for you.)

Anyway, those things look like good Rehab work for him.

So yesterday and today, we had Fun.

Oh! FUN fun fun!

Walter's doing an interesting project for me. It involves my plants, especially the epiphytes like the orchids and bromeliads. Tomorrow I shall post pix galore.

And we'll keep on taking things as they come, and being sure to have a good time as we wait and see how it all turns out.


Nancy said...

Told ya I'd be first!

Morris said...

Good to see you've learned well how to deal with the bureaucrats, whether they be in Govt or in this case the doctors office. Heh...

Glad to hear Walter's doing better.

pepektheassassin said...

I'm kinda glad Walter didn't go out driving just yet. How're YOU doing?

k said...

Nancy, as usual, you were right. Course, IM'g as I posted didn't hurt the cause none!

Morris, it's good to see anyone appreciate that necessary skill. And, appreciate the fact that bureaucracy isn't just for guvmint any more!

Miss Assassin, me too. Every extra day at home makes me feel that much safer.

Me? I'm zonked. Plumb tuckered out. But otherwise okay. Just...a bit mopey.

I don't want him to go.