I woke this morning to three boys up and hungry. I climbed out of our bed and sharp pains came down my lower back and made its way to my knees as I made my way to the restroom. It has become a common pain for the past month and no amount of pain reliever holds it at bay. It appears to be another effect of this state that has me almost to my knees. Stress related and showing no signs of letting up, I lift it up to my God above for help.
In November of 2014, my wife, Marcey became a team member of Toyota Motor Manufacturer of Indiana, after a year and half of working for them through a temp-to- hire company. Being married since June 2014 we were very happy to for Marcey to be called onto Toyota’s payroll and insurance for our four children.
We had purchased a home after our marriage and began to use our incomes to put money aside and develop a stable mean of living.
Then, in the month of February, Marcey began to develop headaches, leaving her to take pain relievers. This calmed her pain well enough that she was able to report to work and earn her paycheck. As the month wore on, Marcey began to take more medicine to slow the pain of her headaches but continued to report to her work. As March approached, the general pain reliever no longer stopped her pain. She began seeing a doctor who prescribed stronger pain relievers to numb her pain. with in only a few weeks, the prescription began to fail in stopping Marcey’s pain.
Marcey began to show signs of her headaches at work for Toyota when Team Leaders began to notice that my wife appeared to be in visible discomfort and was seen crying at points through her shift as she tried to work through the night. It would come to a head and Marcey began to fill out the paperwork for FMLA in the event she was unable to work her normal schedule.
By the end of March, Marcey’s headaches became severe enough that she was unable to drive and perform he task for Toyota. With her paperwork already started, my wife began seeing her doctor regularly. Marcey was granted FMLA leave and began applying for short term disability that was offered through her Toyota insurance.
One particular morning I was awoken to Marcey crying because her prescription was no longer working and I missed most of my morning shift at my work to admit my wife into the ER. After many hours, Marcey was given a shot and then sent home. She went to sleep while I reported to work. I returned home that evening to find my wife in pain again and becoming worse that before. We made our way to the ER again and began having tests run to find out why the morning pain injection had worn off. After many hours, a catscan had revealed that a ‘Fibrous Bone’ was shown to be in Marcey’s skull. Since the ER doctor was not my wife’s actually physician, nothing more could be done to help her until her doctor could run a bone scan to determine what we were facing. It was a bit nerve racking t not know what was going on, but we looked forward to finding out and taking care of it.
It would be three days before a scan could be scheduled because of the weekend. Over that weekend, our children, stayed with other family due to her pain becoming difficult for them to understand and grasp. Soon the bone scan was done but it would be a few more days before results would be mailed to us. Stronger medicines were prescribed to help Marcey keep her pain level to a seven or eight on the pain scale.
Then the day came that began to turn everything for the worse. The results of the bone scan had listed every possible link to that of Marcey having bone cancer near her brain. She was scheduled to visit a neurosurgeon in another city and we spent our Easter with the thought that it could be Marcey’s last. Our marriage began to strain under the pressure and our only hope was the doctor we were to go and see.
During this time Marcey continued to call into her work at Toyota as instructed to. Now, almost May, we still had not received short term disability payments from her insurance. This left us living off of my paycheck, which was much less and forced us to begin reaching into our savings. We were told that it was a matter between the insurance company and Toyota that was being worked out before payments could begin. In the two and half months of having no income from Marcey’s work, we had depleated our savings of 1,000 dollars and Christmas account of near the same amount of money.
The disability began to arrive, but the back payments were not given to Marcey in a lump sum but rather over the first three checks. From payday to payday, every disability check would be from 100 to 300 shorter than the one before it, making any budgeting not possible until the day of deposit. Out of savings and hope, it came time to travel to Terre Haute, Indiana and see the doctor.
After only a few moments of looking at Marcey’s records determined that he found nothing to operate on and that her did not know why we had been sent to him. We left the hospital more lost than ever that we would know the truth behind her pain that now could not be controlled by medication. We returned home and the doctor began trying different medications in accordance to the Affordable Healthcare Act that forced her to try cheaper pills that may work instead of more costly pills that stood a stronger chance of working.
Marcey began to see a doctor in Evansville, Indiana who sent her to a neurologist. This doctor also could not explain the pain but suggested different medication. As summer began, our family watched as pills made my wife, sleepy, angry and out of touch with reality.
All the while, my wife copied and faxed every letter prescription and note from the doctors and hospitals to Toyota as requested. However a letter announcing her termination unless she returned to work had arrived. In severe pain, Marcey could not work and contacted Toyota who had said to disregard letter and continue to communicate as she had been.
By the end of June, Marcey had been transferred to a hospital in Chicago that only handled head and neck pain. Cancer was immediately ruled out and all of the prescriptions she had been taking were taken away. A specialist had discovered the combinations of medications had not worked because together they were making the pain intensify rather than end. After only one week in the pain clinic Marcey had her pain under control and was labeled as having ‘Chronic Migraines’ without medicines. She was given a handful of safe prescriptions and allowed to come home.
For the month of July, Marcey was under the doctors observation for drug reactions before she would be cleared to return to work. On July 29th, Marcey returned to Chicago and was given green light to return to work. It was planned for her to phone Toyota the following day (30th) and begin reporting to work again.
That call was never made. A letter from Toyota arrived that morning in the mail, explaining that Marcey had not returned to work as instructed and was immediately terminated from TMMI. The letter was sign by a member of TMMI who left no contact information of his own, instead a name and contact was give to another member of TMMI, who in return, when Marcey called, referred her to another TMMI member who then told Marcey that she was never granted the time off from work and was terminated.
We have since searched for the right thing to do. However, every law firm we have spoken with have said that there is nothing we can do.
We now have no savings, no Christmas account, have not received the final month of disability benefits, lost all of our healthcare coverage. Our children now are not covered and we have had to stop with plans to have my oldest son get braces. I have run out of medicine for conditions of my own and have since missed work do the effects of not having them.
As if things had not turn for the worst, a full month of short-term disability that Marcey was approved for still has not arrived. After being passed between four case managers and at one point, being told she will not get the payment, it looks as though we may not receive it.
I turned off my cell phone, although a monthly bill continues to come per the conditions of the contract with it. I canceled my car insurance, hoping that it would save us money but found myself receiving a letter from my state, notifying me that if I did not reinsure my car that I would loose my license. I then quickly called my insurance company back and found that my insurance was now going to cost more under new rates. So what was meant to save money now is costing more from our pockets.
Today is supposed to be a day of rest but that is going to happen. I lay here right now, feeling like a New York City cab floor board. I begin the workday tomorrow, not knowing if I will be able to get out of bed to start and if I report to work, then the stress of my workload there leaves me in a state of disillusion.
I can’t take care of my children, I cant pay our bills and feel everything is against us to even take care of our most basic needs. I am so scared that I often find it difficult to breathe!!!!!! My writing has fallen victim and even though I miss it so much, I begin to fear it may not return.
We have worked so hard for our future and not to fall into a situation like this and yet here we are, all but gone. As I teeter on the brink of assimilation into insanity, I think about all that has happened and hear the words, “Resistance Is Futile”.