For those of you fortunate enough to have Love in your life...don't take it for granted. Love with all you have in you...like each day is the last. Always leave your partner with loving words and a kiss...and greet each other the same way. Cuddle as you fall to sleep...even if you stray in the night. Set your alarm 5 minutes early so that you can cozy up before starting your day. Sit on the same side of the booth in restaurants. Hide love notes for the other to find. Smile at each other. Hold Hands. Hug. Kiss. Touch...even if it's just hands passing in the hall or your foot to his foot in the middle of the night as you reposition in your sleep. It's the little things that mean the most. Whisper goodnight, sweet dreams and kiss him even if he's already sleeping. For those of you fortunate enough to have Love in your life...don't take it for granted. ~Angela Pearl
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25 February 2010

update - the final days

so, today is thursday february 25th. my tentative termination date is in 2 months, april 25th. i have to have my medical leave appeal submitted by this coming monday march 1st... well, i need to send it by then... it has to be in their office by march 5th to allow them their 45 days to approve/deny my appeal. since i've had a lot of questions about this, i'll lay it out here.

i went on medical leave april 22, 2009.

i was on approved short-term medical leave until october.

then i got a letter that the leave center had incorrectly calculated my time off (they forgot to include the time i was off for my broken foot) so, in fact, i was not approved until october. mid-november they retro-ed my approval to end september 15th. so, as of mid-november, i was already a month behind to file for an extension. they allowed me to stay "attached" to the company pending my approval for extended medical leave. however, due to issues with getting medical records and leave applications filled out from doctors in a timely manner (the fault of the dr, not me), my medical leave extension was denied. the company sent me information needed to file an appeal. so, since october 2009 i have been trying to file my appeal. i have been gathering all the medical documentation and records i can. but for some fucked up reason, this has not been easy. i have seen 16 doctors during this whole thing. i have filled out release forms at every location... but still dont have all my records. and i have been very very vocal about needing this information in order to keep my job. one office sent me 88 pages of medical records! yay! oh, wait, there were a ton of dictation errors/typos... so i had to return the records for corrections. i am told i can pick them up tomorrow, friday, when i have an appointment there. i just hope they are correct now. another dr office gave me records, but they, too, had serious errors. i took those back to be corrected. about a month ago. and i still dont have the corrections yet. i have an appointment with them, as well, tomorrow... so i am hoping they will have them corrected and ready when i show up for my appointment... but when i called this week, they still were not there. i think i am having issues getting records from one hospital in particular due to the terrible problems i had with one of their neurologists. i saw a second opinion neurologist, that told me to give him a week to write up something for me to give to my employer and the cleveland clinic... that was on monday february 1st. i still have nothing from his office and his assistant has not returned my phone calls. blah blah blah... i wont detail the issues with every single dr office and hospital. i just honestly dont understand why this is happening!?

so, i have written my appeal letter to be submitted with my medical records. i have written it with the understanding that i dont have everything the leave center has asked me for. i am pleading with them to allow me extra time. but april 25th will mark one year that i have been off work.

i have an appointment with the cleveland clinic, but they couldnt get me in until march 25th. they told me to plan on being there 3-5 business days. the 25th falls on a thursday. which means i would have to be there about a week for testing. i have no idea how i am going to afford travel, hotel, food... out of town for a week. the accommodations thru the clinic are actually more expensive than a regular hotel. not to mention, cleveland clinic requires i have 2 full years of medical records. fuck! i cant even get my records for the most recent 10 months! cleveland clinic is willing to reschedule me for a later time... but i was attempting to use my appointment with them to get the answers i need (a diagnosis) and be able to keep my job.

for those of you that have said "why dont you just go back to work? show them you cant do the job because of your restrictions."
1) they will not let me return to work with any restrictions. i have to return to work full time, full duty.
2) i cant return to work until this extension has been approved. as far as they are concerned, i have been on unapproved leave since september. so in order to return to work, i need to get my time off from september 2009 to current, approved... then be able to return to work full time, full duty by april 25th.
3) i dont have a specific job anymore. after i had been gone for 6 months, they back-filled my position. so when i am able to return to work, i will have to apply online for an open position, interview, and be awarded the job.

i just dont see how this is going to work.

i have been unpaid since september. borrowing from family and friends, selling stuff outta my storage unit...etc. my house is in forbearance... but i am having a difficult time getting an extension on that as well. basically a forbearance is the bank gives you an approved amount of time that you can NOT pay your mortgage and they will not foreclose on you. my forbearance ends februaury 28th. i have been calling, literally, every single day since the last week of january. i called and emailed and faxed to my rep carrie jackson. her voicemail says "if you need immediate assistance, please hang up and call this number..." so i would leave her a message, then hang up and call the other number to tell a random customer service person that i just left another message for her. after a month of this, last week i was told "carrie jackson doesnt work here anymore" -- what the fuck?! i explained my frustration and asked who i needed to speak with then. i was told patrick mullholland. so they transferred me to him... i got his voicemail. i have called every singe day, and still not one person has called me back. i call the direct line then the customer service line. every single day. i called this morning and the girl that answered said the lines are full, but she can take a message and have someone call me back. i told her i have been calling for over a month and no one has called me back one single time. i listed all the names. she said that doesnt make sense to her because all messages are tracked to be sure the reps are calling back. i gave her my info, and she assured me that someone would call me today.

when i got my tax refund i paid all the bills that i could. i paid my jeep insurance for 6 months. i went to the agency office. made my payment. was told i now have a zero balance. they gave me a receipt. i left. well, a couple weeks later i get an overdraft letter in the mail from my bank. i only had $6.92 in there since december... so i had not been using that account. as soon as i read the letter, i rushed to get online to see what happened. my insurance company had taken an automatic withdrawal out of my bank account for a monthly payment. i called the local agency and she called the home office and they said while it was an unfortunate situation, they would not refund the payment or reimburse the overdraft fees. keep in mind, they know all about my medical leave not getting paid situation. i wouldnt take that. so i called the home office myself. i kept leaving messages, until finally someone called me back. she said she needed a list of letters and documentation and bank statements... basically trying to overwhelm me into not doing it. well, little did she know i am the queen of paperwork at this time in my life! i got all i could and emailed her copies of all of it. she was surprised and threw up a couple more hoops for me to jump thru. at the time i talked with her, my overdraft fees were $97 and the bank was willing to retract $48.50 (half) because they felt bad for me. but i needed to get insurance to reimburse the other $48.50. i explained to insurance that there is a daily overdraft fee, and the longer they take to pay me, the more they will be forced to pay, because i would not let this slide. they claim they have put a check in the mail. but i dont know for how much.as of this morning, my account is overdrawn $81.58. so they have taken so long, their half has doubled. anywhom... so that is just one more thing i am dealing with.

blah blah blah... i know you all dont want to hear me bitch and complain. i dont want to be bitching and complaining! it's just that there is nothing else going on in my life right now... so i have nothing else to talk about. if anyone has any brilliant ideas, please feel free to share them! i'm down to the wire here. i've called lawyers and everyone i can think of, and while they all agree my situation sucks, there is nothing they can immediately do for me. and if i do get fired, i have not been able to find a lawyer to represent me either because they represent my employer in some way, or they wont take my case since i dont have a specific diagnosis.

okay. i suppose that is enough venting and sharing for now. i'll keep you posted on the outcome.

oh yeah! last, but not at all least, Loki seems to be doing well since her run-in with the car. (no pun intended). she has 1 day of meds left, but she is already back to her old crazy self! she is, however, a bit hesitant going to the driveway when i take her outside. and while it sucks all this happened, maybe it will make her more aware of her surroundings. i'm just glad she is alive and here with me!

i love you all oodles and bunches!
be well.
~angela

08 February 2010

angela update junk

well, i dont think i have updated since my appointment with the 2nd opinion neurologist on monday february 1st. 2nd neuro says he cant help me. says that he doesnt think my pain is from anything neurological. but he also said that with the range of problems, he's not sure he could even suggest what specialty doctors i should try next. i asked him if it would help if i started coming back to the er when my tremors and other symptoms flared up. he said no. he said i have been in the er enough and that the er is not going to give me the specialized attention i need. so he is sending me back to the pain clinic. that was last monday at the neuro. i had an appointment friday at the pain clinic with my pain psychologist.

thursday i got my tax refund. i ran around and paid a ton of bills. i was actually happy to be able to pay bills for once! odd, i know. then i came home thursday evening to find a bill in my mail for my november 2009 - current medical insurance through my employer. lovely. $533.66 per month. so, roughly $1500. fabulous! it was too late in the evening to call, so i called first thing friday morning, before my pain psych appointment. i was told that while i am in the medical leave extension appeals process, and on unpaid leave from my employer, i am responsible for my own insurance. aaand... if i dont pay the insurance premiums by february 20th, my benefits will be retro-denied and they will retract all of the benefits' payments they made, and then i will be responsible for my complete medical bills since november. what a lovely way to start the day. but i need to get to my friday morning appointment... so i go.

i get to my appointment, and before i even check in, i tell them i would like to make a payment on my bill. they ask how much. i said $100. handed him the money. the guy takes my money, pulls up my account, and says "uuummm... i'll be right back." he comes back and tells me that i have a past due account. i said yes, i know this, that is why i am making a payment. my appointments there are considered outpatient, so i dont have a co-pay... it is always a percentage of whatever procedure i have done. i have been making payments when i can, so i thought i was fine. anywhom... he goes on to tell me that they will not schedule any more medical, occupational or physical therapy appointments until my bill is paid in full. fabulous. i ask how much it is... he hands me a stack of papers... $1100. yippee. grand. splendid. i take a seat in the lobby as i wait for what i imagine is going to be my last appointment in their office.

i get in with my pain psych. she says that she is billed separately, so she will continue to see me and she and i can work out our own payment arrangements. she says that she doesnt think i can handle any further rejection and that she really thinks i should keep seeing her on a regular basis. i completely agree. she is by far my favorite psych. believe me, i have seen plenty... she is wonderful!

so... my dilemma.

i need to pay $1100 asap in order to keep seeing my pain clinic doctors. not only do i need to figure me out, but i am going to need them to help me fill out tons of paperwork for my entry to the cleveland clinic. however, i need to pay $1500 by february 20th in order to keep my insurance to even be eligible to see these doctors... let alone go to cleveland clinic. and i have to be able to continue to pay $533.66 a month. on no income. how is it they cover your benefits while you are paid... then when you are in hardship they throw you on unpaid leave and tell you that you are responsible for all of your own benefits?!?! gaaa!

obviously, friday i was a wreck. i tried calling more lawyers... but no one is helpful. they are telling me my situation is not malpractice (the issue that all of this started when dr mahmood screwed up my medical leave application and got my leave denied). it's not criminal law. and other lawyers either represent my employer in some way, so the cant represent me... or they wont take my case because i dont have a specific diagnosis. what's a girl to do?!

i got home friday afternoon and went to bed. i had cried aaalll day and my head was going to explode.

saturday i got some medical records in the mail. i have put in requests for my medical records to every doc i have seen. only one has responded. well, saturday i got a ton. 88 pages to be exact. i started reading some of them. wonderful. there are dictation typos and errors that work against me. no wonder i have been having so many issues with my appeal! it's the weekend. i cant do anything about it. so i dont bother reading the entire thing. i'll worry about it monday.

monday (today) i call around to find out what i am suppose to do to get these errors corrected. they tell me that i can go thru all of the records, sticky note what needs correction, and bring them back to be amended. i wont bother detailing how their process works... but they said it will take a couple of weeks. i have to have all of my medical records and letter of appeal submitted in 3 weeks.

i know everyone keeps telling me to stay positive and all that junk... but i just dont know how this is going to work out. i dont know how to save my job. even if i get fired, i still have to pay the $1500 for insurance not to retract their payments. i should be worrying about getting better... not saving my job. i've been there 7 years. no one is helping me. actually, i feel like some of them are working against me. i'm getting emails and calls from my real friends saying that people i work(ed) with have been bad mouthing me like crazy. they think i'm faking it. they see me getting groceries or at the bank or something and since i'm not in a body cast, i must be faking. *grumble*blargh*grrr*

i have been getting a bunch of emails and notes and calls that i should read the bible and give my problems to god. really?! i have never taken to this way of thinking. i'm not judging my friends and family that do. please dont find this insulting. i just want to understand. if reading the bible really helped, wouldnt more people do it? my problems arent hot potatoes. i cant just "hand them over to god" and be like, "hey, i dont want these anymore, you can have them" and then everything is happy happy joy joy. so what is it "believers" see that i dont? PLEASE dont get me wrong. i do believe in god and/or a higher power. and i am not looking to be saved or born again. i think i was born okay the first time. i just want to understand.

"When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion." Abraham Lincoln

"This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness." Dalai Lama

well, i hope you all know that i love you dearly and appreciate all of your support and concerns, hopes, well wishes, thoughts, prayers, vibes... etc...

much love.
be well.
~angela