Heading Home….Again

Finally my brain swelling has gone down and the bleeding was vanishing from my head. The doctors decided that it was time to send me back home. My wife being a nurse on the neurology floor at home and having Dr. M close by I think helped in that decision. I was released on a Friday which is exactly 2 weeks after the date of injury. My wife and I began our two our ride home and about 20 minutes into our trip I received a phone call from Amy, a good friend of ours. She told us that her husband David was admitted to the same hospital that I was in and he is undergoing brain surgery. I thought I was going to vomit. He did not fall and hurt his head. He just started having headache and they had found a bleed in his brain. Had we known just a little earlier we could have stayed there and comforted Amy through David’s procedure. We continued home and once we arrived I made it back to my normal spot in the Sac and settled in for who knows what. I had taken a few phone calls from friends and thought that maybe some of them would have come down to see me after a couple of days, but it never happened. That is like a kick in the teeth when you have a near fatal injury and your friends or co workers don’t come around to see you. I  found out later that my wife had told them that I was being for lack of better words and absolute asshole if the day wasn’t going good for me. Eventually a couple of them found the courage to come on down and learned that I wasn’t all that bad. My co workers and my wife’s co workers had taken up collections to help with gas money on the trips back and forth. They had come over with food  so the wife didn’t have to cook, and hear I am a normally perfectly clean shave guy with a week and a half growth of hair and missing a front tooth thanking them for everything that they had done. Although it was a little embarrassing to be seen that way, I didn’t care because I wanted to show my thanks by telling them myself. One local organization was going to take up a collection for my family, but I refused to allow it because I had sick time built up from my job and was getting paid at my normal pay. I felt like we would be taking advantage of people if we accepted the fundraising money.

A couple of days later I received an envelope in the mail that stated my workers comp claim had been denied because they decided that the fall was not in the performance of my duties.  The woman that I spoke with on the phone stated that they would need additional paperwork on the accident within 21 days of when it happened. We were on day 20 the day of this letter being received. On one hand I was in disbelief that this could have possibly happened. On the other hand I was glad that I have 6 months worth of sick time to get this straightened out.  To think that going to the store for food like we do everyday because we work 24 hour shifts would not be in the performance of my duties was unbelievable. I do not fault my employer for this at all, they were very willing to do everything within their power to help me, but they had to do their job for the city as well. I had plenty of spare time on my hands and I wasn’t allowed to leave my house so I decided to do as much research that I could. I would spend hours at a time on the computer reading laws and case studies on work related injuries. i took notes and bookmarked pages until I was blue in the face. All that I could come up with pointed to the fact that the insurance company was wrong. I am a member of the IAFF or ( International Association of Firefighters )  and the PPFFA or ( Pennsylvania Professional Firefighters ) unions, and decided that it was time to look for some help from them. I made phone call after phone call after phone call and the answer that I kept getting from both of them was “Here let me give you this number to call.” Finally I spoke to someone that didn’t send me to someone else, but there response was ” we can sue these people, these people, and these, people.” I didn’t want to sue anyone, I just wanted my time back spent on all of my sick time to this point because this is clearly a work related injury. I had one attorney from the PPFFA that was heading to a district meeting not far from my house. I had asked him if there was a way that we could meet either before or after the district meeting. He was very well aware of the fact that I could not leave my house, or at least the community that I live in. The interstate that he was travelling was literally a 15-20 minute drive from my front door. He was unable to make that extra trip to talk to me as a union attorney. It didn’t take me long to realize that they were going to be know help to me. I have paid my dues to these unions for 14 years for this type of representation if needed and they basically threw me to the curb. I guess the small unions don’t matter much because we don’t pay them enough money. I do hope that this blog is seen by the president’s of both unions because this is what this union is supposed to be about, helping your members. I knew that I would need to take a different course if I wanted to find the answers to my questions. A new chapter in My Fall to Life is opening, but we will talk about that more later on.

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