View Full Version : LUPUS and severe injuries
09-21-2006, 11:15 AM
I have a story to tell and questions to ask...this might be long, so my deepest apologies first.
I've had lupus for almost 20 years. It has worsened over the years, with me going in and out of flares, adjusting meds, etc. Seems like everytime I catch a cold, it turns into something worse (like pneumonia) and I end up in the hospital. An ordinary stomach virus turns into gastroenteritis. Y'all know the drill. I am on a first-name basis with the nurses at my nearest hospital!
Ok...I used to be a school teacher, 4th grade, and I loved it. And I was one killer teacher...energetic, was always up and around, down on the floor with the kids, etc. Teaching is an easy job if you're lazy, but if you're good, it's the hardest job you'll ever love.
One day about 3 years ago, the school where I worked mopped my classroom floor while I was at an after-school meeting. They did not put up any wet floor signs. So I walked into my class, started gathering papers to take home to grade, and slipped in a big puddle of soapy water. I fell so hard that I shattered the small bone in my leg (fibia) and broke in half the large bone (tibia). I can't even describe the pain...like a hand grenade went off under my knee.
They had to put a two foot titanium rod through the center of the large bone from my knee to my ankle. Two months in a cast/wheelchair, then another two months of therapy to learn to walk again.
To top everything off, the school had NO liability coverage and had let their worker's compensation lapse. So we are currently in a lawsuit. It seems like it just drags on and on. I have been waiting for THREE YEARS for justice. My leg won't ever be the same. I can no longer teach, because I can't be on this leg for very long without pain. I used to love to dance, but can't balance well enough, nor move well enough. Anyhow...
Could Lupus be affecting how the leg is healing? There are days when it is numb (those are the GOOD days) other days it throbs, tingles, and just feels hot. The orthopedic surgeon says it may be RSD and wanted me to take Neurontin, but because it's a preexisting condition, insurance won't pay for it. (Medical care is one of the things we are asking for in the lawsuit.) Thanks to all who read this long post and will reply. God bless you.
09-21-2006, 03:02 PM
I posted under your disability question - sorry you are having such a difficult time. Unfortunately slip-and-fall cases often drag out for a long time, especially where there is another medical condition involved. Do you have a trial date, or a settlement offer on the table?
Lupus can certainly affect your healing, particularly if you are on prednisone or immuno-suppressant therapy. If your doctor thinks neurontin will help, Ask him about a prescription assistance program - he may be able to get the drug for you at low cost. If it is RSD - you need to be treated - that condition generally gets worse not better if not treated effectively.
09-21-2006, 05:27 PM
for answering so quickly...unlike my lawsuit.
The trial date keeps getting reset. We recently had a deposition. The other (slimy) lawyer is trying to make it look like it was the shoes I was wearing (I wore flats, when you're a teacher, you can't be standing/walking etc in stilettos) and also asked my doctor if my balance was effected. He of course said that there was no doubt in his mind that the accident happened because the floor was wet...said that my leg was a classic "skier's break"...spiraling through the bone.
I have to go the orthopedic surgeon to get a disability rating. I am just so sick of this crap. Since the school has no insurance, a judgement against them will mean they'll go out of business...and they darn well NEED to. Any business that doesn't protect it's workers needs to be out of business. Means they'll have to sell off their assets to pay me. And my medical bills. :mad: They offered initially 50,000.00--barely enough to cover the operation.
Every time I hear how bad Texas needs good teachers, I fume. I was a great one. I miss it soooo bad. I know I made a difference in every kid I had in my class.
Sorry, just feeling low...and MAD.
09-21-2006, 06:16 PM
I started out as a teacher - 8-12 English and literature and K-12 ESL and LBD classes - After less than 5 years I left the profession - I loved the kids but got fed up with the endless paperwork and lack of support from administraters, especially with kids who were violent and physically aggressive.
Did you pay into a teacher's retirement fund while you were teaching? If so, you may be able to withdraw those funds since you are no longer teaching. Also, did you file a claim with your state's Uninsured Employer's Fund? Most states have pretty strict statutes of limitation on filing those claims, but your attorney should be able to advise you on the procedure in your state. These funds exist for the sole purpose of compensating injured employees whose employers did not maintain work comp insurance, so it's worth checking in to if you haven't already.
I hate to tell you this, but even if you get a trial date soon, you may still be a long way away from seeing any money. If you get a verdict in your favor, the school has an automatic right to appeal the verdict. If the verdict goes against you, it's within the court's jurisdiction to order you to pay the other side's fees and costs. It's rare but does happen. If an appeal is filed, depending on the appellate court's backlog, it can take 1-2 years for a case to go through the appeals stage. Providing they post an appeals bond or supercedeas bond, a defendant generally doesn't have to pay a judgment while the case is on appeal. Even if the judgment is upheld, it is still the plaintiff's responsibility to enforce the judgment, which can be a hassle in and of itself. I don't want to depress you here - it's just that many people don't realize that a jury verdict generally doesn't end a case.
09-25-2006, 06:45 AM
Yes, I paid into TRS, and recently went ahead and withdrew the savings there...it helped us keep our house while we refinanced; now our house payments are half of what they used to be, so that was a big help.
I try not to waste energy on hate, but boy that school makes me mad. This school mostly caters to immigrant kids...and I think, what if this had happened to a child? It makes me sick to think how cheaply they would have bought off the kid's parents. Just because someone starts a charter school doesn't mean they have good intentions. It's all about money.
I do know that IF they appeal, it's gonna cost them a whole lot of money to do so. They have hired a VERY expensive law firm. The slime. (Actually tried to say that since "school was out for the day" that the accident didn't happen while I was WORKING...as if a teacher's day ends at 3:30.) :mad:
09-25-2006, 12:45 PM
I know it is painful and frustrating, but if you can, keep fighting the good fight. I am a worker's comp paralegal in California and the WC laws in Cali are almost identical to those in Texas and what they did was illegal on about a dozen levels. I can say that because I represent the insurance companies and normally I would be representing them if it had happened here. Having said that, it just means that I know when my clients screw up. $50K? That's a joke! Pre-existing condition or not, you had a major injury. The amount of force and impact it takes to break your tibia and fibula in the same fall is incredible and that makes it a major injury with major permanent disability attached.
Good luck! Please let me know if there is anything I can do, including be an ear to listen.
09-26-2006, 08:18 AM
I do appreciate your point of view. Yes, they are in the wrong on a dozen levels. I can't believe they actually got a law firm willing to represent them, but I guess if you have enough money, you can buy a lawyer for almost anything. I know that 50K is a joke. This school pays their "president" over $300,00.00 per year salary!! They spend federal money right and left taking "conventions" in every part of the country (including Hawaii last year.) And yet they whine that paying what we demand will put them out of business.
Well, good I say. Let them go out of business. They have LESS THAN HALF of their kids passing the state tests every year. And they clearly don't care about safety.
Thanks again for your caring reply. You cheered me up today and I need it. (still in flare, and the leg is driving me BATTY!)
09-26-2006, 09:45 AM
Have you talked to your doctor about a TENS unit or a bone growtn stimulator to help your pain? I have very severe osteoporosis from chronic steroid use - I had a spiral fracture of my left hip several years ago just from bumping into a desk - the TENS helped the pain without making me dopy and sick -
My new rheumatologist is also interested in alternative and complementary therapies - he recommended acupunture treatments which also helped the pain and burning sensations - I had to stop them when my platelets got too low because of bleeding risk, but they really helped when I could take them.
Eating fresh (not canned or frozen) pineapple daily can also help bone healing because pineapple contains an enzyme called Bromelain that helps to reduce swelling and inflammation. If you don't like fresh pineapple, the supplement Bromelain has the same effect.
Colas and caffeinated drinks can leach calcium and other minerals from your bones, so it's a good idea to avoid them while the bone is still not completely healed. Make sure your vitamin/mineral supplement also contains boron, which helps promote bone healing.
There are a number of homeopathic remedies that may help the pain of a fracture that hasn't healed well. You should always check with your doctor before using herbal and homepathic remedies.
Calcarea phosphorica is recommended for aching and soreness in bones and joints, especially when the area feels cold and numb. It can help relieve the pain of fractures and bone bruises, and encourages repair and strengthening if a fracture is slow to heal.
Ruta graveolens is used for its effect on bone-bruises and on injuries to the periosteum (the covering of the bones); both of these types of trauma are involved when a fracture of a bone occurs. Ruta is also indicated when the pain around a fracture is extreme, and the person feels lame or weak. This remedy is also helpful in many cases when pain persists after the bone has healed.
Symphytum: This remedy is best known for helping broken bones rejoin and heal. It should be taken after a bone is set to ensure proper joining of the bone. It is also useful in many cases when pain persists in old, healed fractures.
RSD is a serious problem that needs specialized treatment, but some of the things mentioned above might help until you are able to see a specialist. Be sure to ask your doctor first, and purchase any herbal or homeopathic remedies from a reputable supplier. Stay away from any chinese herbal remedies - China does not regulate its drug or supplement industry, and many "herbs" imported from China are mislabeled, contaminated, or mixed with powerful stimulants or steroids.
Hope this helps!
09-26-2006, 10:01 AM
WOW you are terrific. I have made a list of these things to discuss with my doctor.
I never use caffeine in any form. Just a little bit of caffeine makes me bounce off the walls. My bone density is really good, but I take calcium supplements anyway because of the steroids.
Thanks again! You are SUPER!
12-19-2006, 08:57 AM
I have RSD and possibly Lupus. If you have any questions about RSD, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.