Hate is a strong word. I was raised to use it sparingly because of the power of emotion it implies. I can say, without a doubt, that I hate both the workman's compensation system as well as my insurance adjustor. My medical care and my family's future is being held hostage by their quagmire of paper and penny-pinching protocols. My interests, and especially my health, are secondary to the primary focus of delaying treatment at all costs in order to avoid payment.
For the past few weeks I have been living the workman's compensation roller coaster. My favorite ride attendant Elsie (my adjustor) is at the helm, seemingly in charge of each stomach-jumping turn and heart-racing loop. I feel like screaming, "Stop the ride... I want to get off!"
Yesterday I received a letter from the workman's compensation commission informing me that a hearing date will be "forthcoming." According to the dictionary, forthcoming is an adjective meaning "about to happen in the near future." In the legal realm, I've discovered it means "anytime between now and whenever the hell we feel like it." While the powers that be search their calendars for a convenient date to decide my care, I wait. I have no choice!
It will be weeks before I have a hearing date which will be set for months in the future. In the meantime, I will be playing the amputee version of infection roulette: walking around with a compromised, torn and hole riddled liner hoping that my skin that isn't protected doesn't get nicked or cut. I will continue to be in pain, and I won't be able to schedule a date for surgery. My life will continue to be put on hold. The insurance company will delay paying their bills which is apparently the ultimate goal. They are, in essence, winning.
I am frustrated to the point of tears. In an almost laughable attempt for understanding, I phoned my attorney. I don't know why I expected that I would speak with him; he still has not returned my previous four calls! Perhaps leaving message with a quivering voice and the audible snorts as I tried to hold back the tears will elicit sympathy and a return call. I'm not holding my breath!
Many times I make light of living with limb loss because I've always been an optimistic person. Being negative is only going to make me feel worse and isn't going to change my amputee status. The truth is, being an amputee isn't easy. Everyday I wake up not knowing if my prosthetic will feel comfortable. I have to plan my activities in advance so that I can have the proper leg with me. Every evening I have to inspect my limb for infection. There are days when my big toe hurts so badly I feel like I want to chop it, and then I get angry because it isn't there!
In spite of all of these obstacles, I remain more handicapped by the workman's compensation system and its minions of fools. I have mastered walking with a prosthetic. I don't think I'll ever learn to navigate the contrived, nonsensical, regulatory waters that are supposed to "protect" me.
Perhaps those who make their living spreading the red tape in the workman's compensation system should be held to their own regulatory standards when they receive their medical care. Maybe then everybody involved would realize that they are dealing with lives, not just file number and dollar signs. I feel emotionally depleted. In a few days I know that I'll regroup and rise to fight the battle. Until then, I may just hide from the world.