Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Personal Note

I have been very busy professionally, and plan on adding new posts soon about that. On a personal note, life has been a challenge since September 2008 when my husband was injured at work. He herniated discs in his neck while moving a bag of packages at UPS. From the moment he was injured, the worker's compensation system worked to delay his treatment and he was turned away from health care professionals who refuse to take injured workers. He was in terrible pain and began to lose strength in his arms and legs. All of this caused my husband undue stress which resulted in anxiety and clinical depression. He had an alterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) performed on him on November 21, 2008. The doctor had to replace 4 levels of discs. While the surgery was successful, John became increasingly anxious and depressed and was having a difficult time coping with the recovery. He had to wear a neck brace 24/7 for four months. John was an active man, always fixing things and playing his bass. He was very limited in his activity and could not cope. He lost 35 pounds. He walked miles every day. He did the dishes. He isolated himself. He asked for help and it took months to get that help. He was denied anti-depression and anti-anxiety medication by worker's compensation. He had what I later learned was a psychotic episode on March 19, 2009. I had no idea what was happening to him, so I called crisis services and was told to call a 24 hour pharmacy to see if his behaviour was caused by the medicine he was taking. My husband killed himself six hours later. He could no longer cope with the complicated process of worker's compensation or with his feelings that resulted from the injury. His supervisors at UPS were supportive of him, but Liberty Mutual (the insurance carrier for UPS) made it difficult to get counseling. He tried to hold on, but he couldn't. My husband should not have died. He should have been helped sooner.

I went to work everyday worrying about him and told very few people about his ordeal. I often cried on my way to work because I didn't know how to help John, the man I had lived with for more than 20 years. We have two children. We had plans for the future. Now I have attorneys fighting to get me the death benefit from worker's compensation. Was John's suicide linked to his injury? Absolutely. My husband never had clinical depression or anxiety before this injury. All the medial professionals have connected his mental state to the injury, yet the worker's compensation board will make me attend hearing after hearing and ask the medical professionals to provide more documentation. My husband took his life because he couldn't cope with the recovery from this injury. My family's future is now uncertain and I am filled with grief. I cannot stop and grieve now, thanks to worker's compensation. I must continue to fight for John and I will. He is worth fighting for. I miss him and love him.