Monday, August 25, 2008

Still Holed Up in Missouri, Watching the Olympics

Well, yeah. I do realize they're over. But having slept through significant bits like the opening ceremonies and closing ceremonies and precious hours of rhythmic gymnastics, I'm still gorging myself on Olympic Experiences via the internet. Which has its limits, but also its extra benefits. Hours of great stuff is never shown on TV.

Today is Monday. Walter has a second appointment Tuesday morning with his company's designated local doc, a thoracic surgeon. After that, we may not be needed here any more. But! That doesn't mean they'll get around to kicking us loose for a while. There doesn't seem to be much emphasis on being efficient versus spending unneeded hotel costs.

That may change, though. Late last week, we hired ourselves a Worker's Comp lawyer. They don't know yet; they'll find out today or tomorrow, after he formally files the complaint, which also officially names him as our representative.

It's a move that usually draws attention from one's opponent.

Walter's employer has been quite decent to its employees in many ways. And they've been run profitably for years. Sensibly.

But in the last couple years both qualities have gone downhill. That's accelerated since a big buyout a year ago. It's perfectly normal in the life cycle of a Cash Cow company, but it's still sorryass behavior, at least to this former businessperson.

The inefficiency in their Worker's Comp department has gotten interesting. They've gone through three nurses recently. Better yet, they've laid off two of their three full-time Worker's Comp employees: the two with significant knowledge and experience (and probably salaries). The third, a mere greenhorn, has been promoted past his level of competence, given an office and a raise and the erroneous belief that he knows his job, and assigned the workload of all three.

This created an atmosphere of ridiculous errors, plus long time periods where Nothing Happens. So we sat here and waited as nobody bothered cutting Walter's checks, or hustling the doc's report that will tell the company what to do with Walter.

The doc sent it in a week after he first saw Walter (August 12), but neglected to sign it. The company nurse kindly, and secretively, whispered to us that he then decided to *add* to the report. On Friday he was still dictating away. Hmmm! Tomorrow is the two-week followup appointment he'd originally recommended. From the looks of things, that second report will say Walter is finished as a driver.

While we never saw or heard about the first report, Walter was finally able to kick loose a check from the company late Thursday. That surely means the local doc did agree with the Florida docs: No Commercial Driving.

As for the two weeks Walter got stiffed? We'd probably recover that in the ultimate settlement. Or our lawyer may make them cough it up sooner instead. He called it *insane.* The greenhorn said it was because Walter *didn't communicate* for a week or two after they'd ordered him to Missouri. The attorney says that the only legal reason they can stop payments is if Walter *didn't cooperate with treatment,* which was not the issue.

He also says he won't even talk to that recently promoted idiot greenhorn. Instead he'll deal, as is appropriate, with the company's Worker's Comp lawyer, who knows and respects the laws, unlike the idiot.

Our attorney tell us he knows their lawyer well, and has other cases he's currently working on against the same employer. From my own legal supervision work years back, I'd guess the two attorneys may even be golf buddies outside the courtroom, and fervent representatives for their respective clients inside the courtroom. Small town relationships like this can get interesting.

Ah, such a comfort to have a lawyer! And such a fine candidate for the job! His dad was a diesel mechanic, his uncle and other family were big rig long haulers, and he's got 25 years in the business. We've only *met* over the phone, but so far I've been impressed with his approach, his knowledge, his style, and his sensibly written contract. I hope he lives up to our hopes and expectations. Only time will tell.

Meanwhile, I'm immobilized. I've got a nasty painful wound on my left leg that doesn't want to heal, and about all I can do is sleep, or lay in bed reading with my legs up on the Foot Elevator. I can't take this particular computer to bed with me, not easily at least. And while the allergies are a little better they're still slamming us both. That's why you haven't heard much out of me lately.

Next time I get up I'll give all y'all a nice Boo-Boo update. Lots of great gory pix, yay! Till then, I'll probably be sleeping.

Slowly but surely, I'll catch up with everyone's blogs and emails. I hope you guys are all doing well.



sue said...

Take care of yourselves! Good luck with getting your compensation. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

Desert Cat said...

Re: having a Worker's Comp lawyer, yes, that is good. I mean it is bad that one needs to hire a lawyer to ensure one's rights under the worker's comp laws. It's a travesty! But it is good that you have one now. You'll have to share the settlement, but you're reasonably assured of *having* one now, and in a relatively timely manner.

Meanwhile, I'm immobilized. I've got a nasty painful wound on my left leg that doesn't want to heal... And this right here is why I'm concerned about this open-ended process thousands of miles from home. You're away from your network of doctors who know you and your conditions. I hope you've been able to track down some local doctors who can help you.

Nancy said...

take care.

Let us know if you need anything.

Granny J said...

Thank you, dear k, for letting us know what's happening so our worry level is more or less matched to reality! Can you get help with the leg in Missouri?

k said...

Sue, thank you! It's really good to hear from you, too. I'll be by in a bit to see how you've been doing.

We're not that far apart right now, actually. Huh. I mean, relatively speaking.

DC, yes. Especially with all the move to put Worker's Comp claims on those strict formulas these days.

But given their recent behavior, it was time to get our own lawyer. I'd prefer to go amicably, and so would Walter. They blew it.

He'll be worth it. On a "chest wall" injury, the variability in the formula can be extreme. I suspect it was in your dad's case too, because he had many different body parts affected. Even if the "formula" wasn't in place at the time, they'd consider it much the same way.

No state has much to give under Worker's Comp any more. The public is hugely misinformed about that, thinking people still get some sort of huge awards for on-the-job injuries. No way.

As for the leg: I'll be posting soon on it. But just to let you all know, the medical care I've gotten here is outstanding. It stunned us both. I'm actually in better hands here, for once, than I would be back home.

I have a few gaps in my Excellent Doctor list. One is...yes it is...Wound Care. I haven't found a good one on my plan yet at home.

These folks here have impressed me.

Nancy. Thank you. Thank you again, I should say.

We're fine for now, which you'll know for sure once you can get back to your email. ;-) Which is a very good thing indeed.

Granny J, one of the hardest parts about being so very immobilized is how badly I want to post, and can't! ARGH!!! But as I told DC, yes, I'm under shockingly good care here. It's a great relief.

Okay, folks. Next post is The Leg. This one wants a BIG Squeam Alert, so buckle your seat belts and close your eyes if you want.

Pretty Lady said...

THANK GOD you've got a lawyer and a good doctor. And that you're eating well.

Anonymous said...

K, I'm just glad to hear you're ok and doing *relatively* well.