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Author Topic: Wife lost her job, disability woes, unemployment - I need your advice.  (Read 6989 times)
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Zarkon
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« Reply #40 on: November 15, 2008, 05:37:00 AM »

I hope everything works out, Ron.  If I was close enough, I'd come see you guys.
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« Reply #41 on: November 15, 2008, 08:20:21 AM »

Sorry bro. Wish I could help by being there to take care of things and assist as best I can. I'll consult My Fair Lady in the morning to see if any of her lawerly friends know disability law.
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« Reply #42 on: November 15, 2008, 01:12:48 PM »

Sorry to hear about your plight, Ron.  I'll keep your family in my prayers


I very limited experience with disability, but I will echo , eightball, advice.   Age doesn't make a difference and she should be eligible as long as she worked her 40 quarter.   Are you looking to get her Medicare benefits?
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« Reply #43 on: November 15, 2008, 02:12:09 PM »

damn Ron, wishing you and Laura all the best.   i know next to nothing about what you are having to deal with, but if there's something i can do to help.....let me know!!
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« Reply #44 on: November 15, 2008, 04:16:51 PM »

Wow Ron and Laura, sorry to hear about all this.

The most interesting thing I have read through all this is Resignation versus Termination because you have significantly different rights under each path.
Also, if the LTD was a benefit through employment this may no longer be available. It usually works off an issue occuring while employed.

I would at the very least speak to Jaime's mom and a free consultation with a lawyer. This is what I know from my many years as a Manager, but I have not been trained in HR. Each state also has their own labor laws.

Disability is a tough one. You have to go through a sereis of forms and you need a doctor's approval to be considered covered under ADA. Even then HR will look at it to determine what reasonable accomodations they must provide as an employer.
Companies do not have to take on significant financial burden in order to accomodate someone under ADA. Usually companies will provide handicap access, ergonomic equipment, slightly modified hours, etc.
Typically the employer will provide a job description and basic expectations of the job, and then the person brings this to a doctor to find out if they can perform the job or not. The doctor will also provide what reasonable accomodations would be required.

So as an example if a job you are working at or seeking requires you to be on your feet for 7 hours a day (removing breaks and lunch) but your medical condition prevents you from standing more than 2 hours a day and there is no other slight accomodation that can be made such as doing the job while seated then the employer would not have to honor your employment. They would not offer you a job if you disclosed this up front (employers are not allowed to ask) and if you were employed could request an administrative termination based on the fact a person can not meet the basic job requirements. In other words, ADA only provides for reasonable accomodation it does not protect someone from meeting performance expectations.

I hope this helps you in some way, but I would really speak to a professional. If there is anything else I can do please feel free to ask.

Here is the government link with all the forms and laws http://www.ada.gov/

« Last Edit: November 15, 2008, 04:29:46 PM by DamageInc » Logged

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« Reply #45 on: November 15, 2008, 10:03:28 PM »

Sorry I don't have any advice to give, but I hope everything turns out for the best, KD. 
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« Reply #46 on: November 16, 2008, 01:18:10 AM »

By the way, to the extent you do need to seek a lawyer, I strongly recommend the following:

1.  Seek a lawyer through word of mouth rather than through advertising.  Ask friends and forum members who are lawyers; even if they don't know one, they will know someone who knows someone, etc.  Advertising is a poor basis to choose a lawyer. 

2.  If you decide to meet with a lawyer, seek free counsel from lawyer friends first about what to expect, how to handle the initial interview, how to expect to be treated, what to demand, etc.  Here's a problem, to be blunt:  you don't want to pay an hourly rate if you explore wrongful termination (and I am not suggesting you should), so you're going to end up trying to find a lawyer on contingency.  Their quality can vary wildly.  Many lawyers at the price-point you would be looking at (unless your wife was making much more than you've suggested) are going to be running low-quality mills that churn cases with little individualized attention.  That's why both the personal recommendation and the knowledge about what to expect and demand are essential.
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« Reply #47 on: November 17, 2008, 06:47:48 AM »

Hi Ron,

Sorry to hear about your wife's situation. My girlfriend used to work for the Disability Rights Legal Center and might be able to connect you with some attorneys that specialize in Disability/Employment cases. If that does not work she has a friend that works for the US Attorney General's office out of Washington DC who might be able to connect you or at least provide resources.

Her contact information is:
Doreen Wong
CEO
Asian Rehabilitation Service, Inc.
[email protected]
(213) 743-9242

FYI - email is probably the fastest way to reach her.
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« Reply #48 on: November 17, 2008, 12:45:57 PM »

Hello again all -

The wife and I talked with the folks at ADA and we are just waiting on some paperwork from them.  Since the Doctor initiated all of this and not Laura, it supposedly will make it easier.  We also talked to the folks at Social Security and they have set a meeting up for her on Wednesday of this week.  As for Long Term Disability, we found that you do not have to be employed to receive it, surprisingly enough.  We've filed that paperwork as well.  We also filed the unemployment paperwork.  Laura will be talking to a few folks today (we have a few lawyers in the family - hopefully they can help.  If not, we'll start using the resources you folks have so graciously offered) and at that point we have to wait for the paper to get shuffled.  Even with an online application to so many of these things there is still a paper component that requires shuffling.  I figured I'd just throw at all of them and see what sticks.

On the financial side of things I've managed to pay the bills for this month.  Next month looks pretty tight but I'm working on a few things to try to scrape some cash together.  Mike is working on bringing our GT Merchandise plan together (shirts, hats, hoodies, etc.) to try to generate some revenue there.  I made arrangements with the doctor who did my tonsillectomy (admittedly, the cheaper of the three yahoos I have to dealt with, but it's what I could do), and by arrangements I mean that I told them "You'll have to take payments."  When they objected I advised them that they could simply put my tonsils back in until I could pay them properly and hung up.  The next lady I talked to was more nice about the whole 'payments' thing.  I don't know why these people insist on poking the angry bear, but they shouldn't be surprised when I try to eat their face.

I really appreciate the support from you guys.  I'm sure that we'll get through this, I just have to get through the next few months so all the paperwork can land however it's going to land.
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« Reply #49 on: November 17, 2008, 06:10:11 PM »

I wished I'd checked Off-Topic a few days ago, sorry, Ron!

Which disability paperwork did you already file - the stuff for the private disability insurance company, or the one for Social Security?  I know of both, first-hand, unfortunately.  My insurance company covers up to 60% of my former salary, after Social Security.  Luckily, I'd left a state job after 15 years, and went into a non-state job for 10 years, so I "got my quarters in," just in time. 

So, the first step was to apply for Social Security Disability... after they either approved or denied the claim, then you go to the next step (in my case, TIAA-CREF);  they will cover the remainder if you've been approved.  If not approved, obviously then you'd have an uphill battle, but you can still get the complete coverage from the private insurance company, if they approve the claim.

If you haven't applied to SS - and are eligible - then do a ton of research.  Start with the SS site, read up on what is considered automatically as disability (blindness, loss of limbs, etc.), and what the criteria are for the "non-automatic" disabilities.  And don't discount your local SS office, either, they were extremely helpful to me, and all over the phone, basic answers to basic questions.

In my situation, when I was trying to get a diagnosis - it took about a year - I was afraid I'd get the diagnosis "chronic fatigue" or "fibromyalgia," and that terrified me, because ten years ago those were mostly not approved by Social Security.  Luckily, the neurologist I went to was willing to go through every conceivable test to determine my diagnosis.  He believed that many patients given the label CF or Fibro, simply have muscle disorders not-yet-diagnosed.  All my test results were normal (blood, urine, EMG, others) - until the muscle biopsy and subsequent enzyme testing confirmed that I have a mitochondrial disorder.

Once I'd researched Social Security, I knew that the case-workers approve or disapprove claims, based on many particulars.  It would have been stupid to tell them ten things about myself, nine of which weren't considered disabling.  The local office told me the best piece of advice - don't leave anything out, sometimes it's a preponderance of evidence that matters.  On the original SS form, make sure everything applicable is filled in - based on that, they will send you further questionnaires. I had them for pain, sleep, ability to care for myself, or to perform day to day activities, and more - what I ended up sending back to them was almost forty pages.

If you had a hundred things wrong with you, sixty of which the SS would conclude leads to disability - it would not be a good idea to have told them only about the other forty.  BTW, that good-day/ bad-day thing IS one of the criteria they accept.

The week I was working on my application, there was a local TV news program interviewing someone with MS... they were pretty bad looking, all crumpled up and pitiful - and they were saying that they'd been denied Social Security Disability.  I was, ohhh nooo...  In a way, that may have helped, because I'm pretty sure I managed to get every possible detail into my application - and was approved on the first go-round, for the maximum allowable time (seven years).  Once you have the approval, if there has been no improvement in your condition, and there is no cure, the paperwork is very simple, pretty much signing a form and saying "Yeah, I'm still pitiful."

Oh, and if your wife has any medical conditions, at all - even if she has never thought of them as being disabling in any way... include them.  I have Type 1 diabetes and allergy-related asthma, neither of which kept me from being a police officer for 25 years - but it counts.  Remember that the people reviewing the case are going by certain guidelines, but they are also people. If they think it's really bad that you have this one major problem, and this other stuff to deal with at the same time, that is a Good Thing.

Man, not only do I wish you great luck on the applications, but I sympathize with your wife... I almost think I'd rather have been disabled from childhood, instead of having a career, hobbies, and a healthy lifestyle I could no longer maintain.  My thought are with both of you.  Please email me if you need any more help, especially on SSDI, because I've been there, and "won."


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« Reply #50 on: November 17, 2008, 06:20:22 PM »

Good luck, Ron, and I wish you and yours the best.  There's nothing I can add besides that.
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« Reply #51 on: November 17, 2008, 08:04:11 PM »

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on November 17, 2008, 12:45:57 PM

Hello again all -

The wife and I talked with the folks at ADA and we are just waiting on some paperwork from them.  Since the Doctor initiated all of this and not Laura, it supposedly will make it easier.  We also talked to the folks at Social Security and they have set a meeting up for her on Wednesday of this week.  As for Long Term Disability, we found that you do not have to be employed to receive it, surprisingly enough.  We've filed that paperwork as well.  We also filed the unemployment paperwork.  Laura will be talking to a few folks today (we have a few lawyers in the family - hopefully they can help.  If not, we'll start using the resources you folks have so graciously offered) and at that point we have to wait for the paper to get shuffled.  Even with an online application to so many of these things there is still a paper component that requires shuffling.  I figured I'd just throw at all of them and see what sticks.

On the financial side of things I've managed to pay the bills for this month.  Next month looks pretty tight but I'm working on a few things to try to scrape some cash together.  Mike is working on bringing our GT Merchandise plan together (shirts, hats, hoodies, etc.) to try to generate some revenue there.  I made arrangements with the doctor who did my tonsillectomy (admittedly, the cheaper of the three yahoos I have to dealt with, but it's what I could do), and by arrangements I mean that I told them "You'll have to take payments."  When they objected I advised them that they could simply put my tonsils back in until I could pay them properly and hung up.  The next lady I talked to was more nice about the whole 'payments' thing.  I don't know why these people insist on poking the angry bear, but they shouldn't be surprised when I try to eat their face.

I really appreciate the support from you guys.  I'm sure that we'll get through this, I just have to get through the next few months so all the paperwork can land however it's going to land.

I apologize, I didn't mean to imply Social Security LTD did not apply to you only the one available through some companies.

There are two types of LTD one through SS and one through an insurance program in a company

The one through SS is based on your employment and salary history much like your SS retirement is calculated.
The other LTD is a benefit from your company which you typically pay for and you can choose different percentages of your salary depending on what you are willing to pay.

When you are young, unless you had the fortune of having a high paying salary for most of your life, the LTD via your company will typically pay more per month than SS LTD.
Well for that matter it is always going to be different, but typically SS LTD will be less than 70% of your salary (typically the highest % you can buy)

It sounds like you are on the right track though, going through your doctor and filing the numerous forms.
My dad had a hard time at 62 and he was completely unable to use his hands due to severe hand tremors. He also had Diabetes, a pacemaker, and minimal function of his kidneys and liver
His tremors were so bad he could no longer write, use a keyboard or even keep food on his fork. He ended up getting a special fork that helped with this though.
My dad had a difficult time qualifying for SS LTD even with all those issues, although he ended up being qualified. Just be prepared and have a great deal of patience.
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« Reply #52 on: November 20, 2008, 02:17:07 PM »

A quick update:

Laura went to see the Social Security folks yesterday.  Apparently she got a rep that really wants to help her with our situation.  He helped her get all of the paperwork in order and advised her of what is important to say, and what is important to leave out unless asked.  He said that it'll be 6-8 weeks before we hear yea or nay on their ruling.  It'll be a mandatory 5 month waiting period before we see a dime provided she is accepted.  Either way, that ball is finally rolling.

Still waiting on the supplimental paperwork from the unemployment and long term disability side of things.  Hoping that comes today, if not it's time for phone calls again.  Laura is filling out the ADA paperwork today. 

A big thanks to everyone who offered advice - we included every shred of information we could pack in.  I think we did our homework, hopefully it pays off. 
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« Reply #53 on: November 20, 2008, 03:58:32 PM »

One last tip:  be prepared, having notes handy if necessary; the case worker may call you for a few last-minute questions.  And by case worker, I mean the person who actually has the final decision on his or her desk.  That's what happened to me, and luckily I was having a "clear" day and was able to articulate the extent of my problems.

Again, good luck!   icon_razz
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« Reply #54 on: November 21, 2008, 04:33:03 AM »

I am not a frequent poster here KD, but I have been around since the old days of Gone Gold.

I am sorry about your problem--years ago I had to shepherd a close and not too competent relative through the federal disability system.

Be prepared to get numerous denials of the claim. Ignore them and appeal every time. Enlist whatever aid you can--I wrote our Congressman to seek aid in obtaining complete medical records. It doesn't hurt to have heavyweight stationary in the folder when it goes to the judge.

Eventually my relative went before an administrative law judge and was awarded his disability. Several years later after being placed under conservatorship, then lifted from conservatorship, he has vanished and we don't know whether he is even alive any more.

Be patient, never give up, this race does not go to the swift and I often think it is designed to weed out those who cannot cope with the bureaucracy.

I am not a lawyer this is merely my personal experience with the subject.

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« Reply #55 on: December 01, 2008, 10:03:55 PM »

Sigh.

While we wait for a decision from disability, Laura has somehow contracted Chicken Pox.  Thank God I've already had them, but it's just another thing to tack on top of the stress we already have.  Seriously...what the hell?  I guess it's lucky she's already out of work...
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« Reply #56 on: December 01, 2008, 10:07:18 PM »

damn.  it finally caught up with her.  pox is a malady best dealt with when young. 

keep her going in calamine lotion. 
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« Reply #57 on: December 01, 2008, 10:18:26 PM »

Sometimes life really can suck, as much as we try to think it won't.  Be ready to be even more patient than you've had to be so far (both of you.)  It sounds like a joke, but there really isn't much worse than an itch you can't scratch - and as an adult, uggh!  icon_frown

I hope they have better treatments for the itch than calamine these days - it's better than nothing for sure, but it's 50's technology after all.   

Good grief!  icon_eek
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« Reply #58 on: December 01, 2008, 10:49:22 PM »

Not to scare you but it is possible to get the Pox a second time. I think it may depend on the severity of the first case but my wife had it as a child then got it again from our kids. 
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« Reply #59 on: December 01, 2008, 10:52:00 PM »

Like I said earlier, I truly feel sorry for you both but you have to laugh at the sheer randomness of chicken pox. Tell her we all wish her well and a speedy recovery. smile
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« Reply #60 on: December 01, 2008, 11:00:14 PM »

All I can do is laugh.  Our kitchen sink faucet just cracked and sprung a leak.  I can't make this up....

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« Reply #61 on: December 01, 2008, 11:00:46 PM »

Quote from: Scuzz on December 01, 2008, 10:49:22 PM

Not to scare you but it is possible to get the Pox a second time. I think it may depend on the severity of the first case but my wife had it as a child then got it again from our kids. 

I thought you could only progress to shingles after the initial infection.  I got them at age 20 and was down for a week and a half.  If I hadn't been living at home still, I would have needed to be hospitalized for a lack of ability to care for myself.
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« Reply #62 on: June 10, 2009, 12:49:53 PM »

After 120 days+ I finally have an update here.  Laura has been in an astounding amount of pain (those who were at the Guitar Hero review party this past weekend know) and has finally gotten to see her doctor about it.  There is good news and bad news.  The good news is that they are going to hit her with a test injection tomorrow that may shed some light.  If this test shot gives her any level of relief they'll immediately move to a more permanent solution with something called a "Facet Injection".  From what the doc says, they'll essentially go into her spine and permanently destroy the nerve endings that are causing this constant pain.  This would alleviate her lower back pain and let her start to get her life back together. 

The bad news is that, with this last run of medical tests, we've run our insurance completely out.  Essentially this means we are 100% out of pocket for the next $2,500 dollars and then my insurance goes 90%/10% in our favor.  The procedure is $5,500 dollars, but if it works Laura might have the chance at a normal life again.  I'm not gonna get on my soapbox about nationalized medicine, but goddamn it I could use it right now.  I paid down a large chunk of it, but it has completely wiped out my entire savings and most of my checking account beyond what was necessary to pay the bills this month.  With my little 'deposit', the doctor's office is willing to take payments, but this timing couldn't be worse.   We are still waiting on a decision from the disability folks.  They keep asking for more procedures (MRI, x-rays, etc.) so I guess that's promising at least...

Laura gets her test shot today.  Employ whatever luck-sending method you use for us please?  Prayer, four leaf clovers, wishes, thoughts, whatever - we need this to work.
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« Reply #63 on: June 10, 2009, 12:58:25 PM »

Damn. I'll have my fingers crossed, and I'll be sending all the good vibes I can to you and Laura today mate.
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« Reply #64 on: June 10, 2009, 12:59:37 PM »

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on June 10, 2009, 12:49:53 PM

Laura gets her test shot today.  Employ whatever luck-sending method you use for us please?  Prayer, four leaf clovers, wishes, thoughts, whatever - we need this to work.

A pack of rabid weasels will be sacrificed at twilight on you and Laura's behalf.  slywink

Good luck with everything today.
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« Reply #65 on: June 10, 2009, 02:13:47 PM »

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on June 10, 2009, 12:49:53 PM

I'm not gonna get on my soapbox about nationalized medicine, but goddamn it I could use it right now. 

Nationalized medicine doesn't mean everyone gets all their health care for free. Government controls costs by restricting the supply. Which is better, a $5500 procedure this week or a "free" procedure in 2 years?

I hope the procedure works out. Chronic pain is a terrible thing to live with. My mom has been struggling with a work related back/neck injury for 20 years.
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« Reply #66 on: June 10, 2009, 02:27:47 PM »

Moliere ... criticality is a key factor in selection. The people that walk into a procedure may not be the ones who desperately need it, but simply are the ones that can afford it.

If I go to the E.R. for a stubbed toe, they will see me, but everyone else will get to go first.
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« Reply #67 on: June 10, 2009, 02:37:08 PM »

Quote from: Purge on June 10, 2009, 02:27:47 PM

Moliere ... criticality is a key factor in selection. The people that walk into a procedure may not be the ones who desperately need it, but simply are the ones that can afford it.

If I go to the E.R. for a stubbed toe, they will see me, but everyone else will get to go first.

Single income, 1 dependent (we moved my mom in with us) and waiting for over a decade.  I think we'd qualify. 
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« Reply #68 on: June 10, 2009, 03:15:57 PM »

Geeze, good luck, Ron! You know we're all pulliing for you both!   thumbsup

I have a similar "donut hole" clause in my insurance, but It's only for prescription costs.  People may rant and rave about our government but the "security" part of Social Security is true.  It might not be the best money out there, but I don't know what I would've done without it, and without the Medicare HMO.

Fingers and toes are crossed, and I'm busy crossing the dog's toes just in case!  nod
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« Reply #69 on: June 10, 2009, 03:27:22 PM »

I'll sacrifice a rotisserie chicken to Jobu so he sends you good luck.
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« Reply #70 on: June 10, 2009, 04:06:59 PM »

I really hope the test is successful.  I'll be sending you and Laura good vibes all the way, Ron.
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« Reply #71 on: June 10, 2009, 04:28:49 PM »

Jaime and I both wish you guys the best.  Even though I'm out of work I'm at least covered under Jaime's health insurance (my old company's insurance was crap), and while I've been pretty sick my doctor visits and prescriptions have only been $20 out of pocket.  Plus, my illness is only temporary.  While the medical costs are substantial, there is at least a chance that the procedure could help Laura to, as you've said, live a more normal life free of pain.

As I haven't had beer in the house since late May, I've got my "lucky" Eagles beer coozie on a bottle of water.  Although I did learn that unlike bottled beer it isn't a very good idea to try to force a beer coozie onto an open bottle of water.  The blast of cold water to the face was at least a bit refreshing, though.   ninja

Best of luck and keep us posted on how things go.
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« Reply #72 on: June 10, 2009, 04:41:47 PM »

Pete, your story is refreshing.

Ron, best of luck - Allah knows that Laura needs a break- she's married to you, after all. Tongue
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« Reply #73 on: June 10, 2009, 04:52:38 PM »

Good luck with everything, Ron.  icon_smile

My 73 year old mom has pretty bad scoliosis now. Most of the time she's OK, but sometimes when gets up out of a chair at her home too fast she literally screams in pain. I don't imagine that's ever going to get better for her at this point.  icon_frown

I've got a female friend whose husband (who's in his mid 60s) is losing his solid writing job following the death of the small company's founder/head executive. Apparently the "succession plan" wasn't specific enough about continuing the company if something happened to him, so the guy promoted to the decased guy's slot preferred to lay everyone off and close the company instead.  disgust So my friend's applying frantically for jobs too, but it's obviously a lousy environment for that, and they have a 9 year old daughter and a house to worry about.

My former co-worker here who quit back in October, thinking he could easily find another journalism/trade media type job, is still out of work now (though his wife has a decent job and he has health insurance through that).
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« Reply #74 on: June 10, 2009, 06:03:34 PM »

I truly hope everything works out well.

I understand chronic pain as I lived with Sciatica for 3 years way back when I didn't have medical insurance.
Not to get morbid, but there were days I actually wanted to cut my legs off with a chainsaw the pain was so bad.
Luckily three years of Chiropractic care (with the right doctor) cured me, and I do mean cured. I have yet to have any issues since the last treatment.

I will sacrifice another 1000 MOBs in Sacred 2 to please the gaming gods.
On a serious note I will also keep you guys in my thoughts and prayers.
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« Reply #75 on: June 10, 2009, 06:09:18 PM »

You and the missus are in my thoughts, Ron.  I truly hope things turn around after this procedure!
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« Reply #76 on: June 10, 2009, 06:29:07 PM »

Thanks for all of the well wishing and the few donations I've gotten from you guys.  It is appreciated more than you know.  Time and time again you guys remind me of why I keep doing this, even when I really don't want to at times.
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« Reply #77 on: June 10, 2009, 10:57:41 PM »

Ok, Laura is home.  The doc says we have to wait 48 hours to see if she feels any relief beyond the general they gave her for the shots.  Now we wait....
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« Reply #78 on: June 10, 2009, 11:26:11 PM »

Fingers are crossed! Pain sucks.
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« Reply #79 on: June 11, 2009, 12:52:02 AM »

Ron, my hopes and prayers are with Laura and with you.
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