Warning! Shark Infested Waters!

Don’t Take Insurance Coverage for Granted…

For the sake of conversation, let’s say you have developed a chronic illness.  Let’s use Fibromyalgia for example.

Life as you’ve know it is about to change FOREVER,  but there’s at least one silver lining…you are working and have long term disability insurance.

As time progresses and the Fibromyalgia symptoms get worse you physically can’t work.  You have insurance so you can focus on learning how to LIVE with a chronic illness and how to manage your chronic pain.

It is a very stressful and emotional time, but at least you have insurance so finances for the time being are not a worry.

First to do….acceptance. It isn’t easy coming to terms with and accepting that you have a chronic condition. It’s a huge part of learning to LIVE this new life you’ve been handed.

So while you’re struggling physically  and emotionally you get a call from this woman. OK so I’m actually talking about me and it’s a true story….

Sharks aka Insurance Companies
David Jenkins Great White Shark

Apparently she is being sent by the insurance company. I’m lucky enough to have qualified for some extra help like physiotherapy and one on one time with a Kinesiologist.

Long story short – this woman put me through the ringer.  She was mean. She threatened me more than once about her 25 years of experience going to court.

She said she doesn’t believe in Fibromylagia. It’s just a label she says for fortysomething women who have burned themselves out doing too much for too long…ummmm? Wasn’t sure what to reply during that conversation.

I get sent for two days of testing called a Functional Capacity Evaluation. The gentleman seemed nice . Seemed like he really wanted to help and was remaining non biased. I’ll save clarifying my use of the word “seemed” for another day.

How ridiculous does this sound? I kid you not……

Phone call from insurance company, “we got the test results”. She starts reading them to me:

  • Standing 30 to 45 minutes at a time with opportunity for rest breaks as needed
  • Minor amounts of level walking up to 6 minutes at a time
  • Bending/stooping minimize avoid stooping with the exception of very occasional mild repetitive and/or prolonged stooping
  • Crouching/kneeling restrictions from performing this action
  • Climbing ability to perform on a rare basis
  • Strength Pushing, pulling, lifting and/or carrying limited demands only (avoid more than occasional strength activities)
  • Lifting bilateral 10 lbs on an occasional basis
  • Lifting unilateral 3 lbs left arm, 5 lbs right arm
  • Carrying bilateral 10 lbs on an occasional basis

With each thing that she reads, my heart sinks more and more. I am not happy about not being able to work. I miss my job, I miss my customers, I miss my team.

My husband is hearing this from the other room.  He’s thinking the same thing as me. This news sucks!

Here’s where it becomes laughable (well it would be if it wasn’t such a serious matter).  “Good news” she says.  I swear as God is my witness that’s what she said. I’m thinking what? My husband actually says out loud “WHAT?”

How is this good news? Wait for it….and the punchline is….

“You can go back to your occupation as a retail manager”.  We’ll pay you for December & January while you look for a job.

PS- Wow I’ve been typing this post since Jan 16th.  FYI test results were that I was able to type for 9 minutes of 30 the first day and 6 minutes on day two.

A Tough Pill to Swallow

Here’s the thing…when I look around and see people who are much worse off than I am, I feel guilty for struggling at all. In fact, I get angry with myself for even considering them struggles in the first place. Really, my pain pales in comparison to so many others. Who am I to feel sorry for myself? Then I feel shame; I have no right feeling this way.

Drawing Restraints Emotional Turmoil
Drawing Restraints Agnes Cecile

When did I become so weak? There was a time I believed I could take on the world. Nobody scared me. Nothing scared me. The bigger the challenge, the more I thrived.

When did that change? A year ago, I was facing this latest challenge head on. I was learning to LIVE with Fibromylgia. I was reaching acceptance. I was learning to cope and I was getting stronger.

What happened? People came into my life under the guise of helpfulness. They never intended to help me. I don’t know why, but for whatever reason they have taken away what little peace of mind I had.

This is a long and difficult process, trying to accept this new weak version of me. I am trying not to feel like a failure, though I have failed.

Acknowledging my condition is difficult. Acceptance is painful. Yet these people make me say “I am weak” and “I can’t” over and over again.

Tell me, please what is the answer? I am dealing with someone who lies. Someone who has clearly stated that she does not believe in Fibromyalgia, let alone that I have it. It’s just a label, she says. A label they give to over achieving women, heading toward fifty, who have burned themselves out by doing too much for too long.

I knew I was in trouble the minute I realized she believes she knows more than everyone, including doctors. I was tempted to ask if she also knew the cure but figured I should keep my mouth shut.

She is a bully and I know that I need to stand up for myself, but I am so tired. I do have one distinct advantage though, and that is truth. I have not lied. I will not lie.

Perhaps it’s time to face a weakness I have had for as long as I can remember; the inability to ask for help when I need it. The time has come in my life where I need to ask for help. I can do this, just not alone and that for me is a difficult pill to swallow.