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March 2009

Here is the poop on my disability issues
I worked for Warner Bros since 1989 and injured several times during the year. In Oct 2003, I had a motorcycle accident at the studio. I was hit by a woman who crossed 3 lanes of traffic and hit me head on. It shattered my right knee cap and I had to have emergency reconstructive surgery and spent a week in the hospital. I worked from home starting 3 days after I got out of the hospital. I worked from home for
six weeks till I was strong enough to take a cab to work in my wheelchair. I did that for six months and then worked on crutches for several more months. 

When we moved to our new building (3300 West Olive) in 2005 or 2006, we had to move many things by ourselves since we were in a NON-UNION building. I also was having neck pain due to the fact my monitor was a foot too low for me. Iím 6ft-4 and there was nothing the MIS dept had to lift my computer up to the height I needed. We went through all the paperwork to get my monitor lifted to the correct height but it took over a year to get approval for a flat panel monitor on a lifted arm that would be the correct height. I received the flat panel monitor a week before I went on disability. 

I was asked many times to move things (computers, TVs, furniture etc) for our Dept and other depts., and I injured my back several times doing it. The injuries seemed to be ok after a few weeks until I lifted film in Sept 2007. The pain shot throughout my body, I advised HR and went to a doctor and found out I had two hernias. When they were looking at the hernias, they discovered a gall stone and the stone and my gall bladder needed to be removed immediately. Since it would take a month or more for approval for the hernia surgery, I had the gall stone surgery in Sept and then the hernia surgery in late Oct 2007.

After the hernia surgery, I continued to have severe back pain and neck pain. I also was having stomach problems that caused me to vomit and have diarrhea. I kept complaining to my doctor but he said it would pass and OKíd me to return to work in Dec 2007. The pain continued and increased daily. I was sneaking to the bathroom every hour or so to lie in the floor in the handicap stall or the file room. Laying down was the only way they pain could be decreased. For six weeks, I tried to continue to work and kept complaining to my doctors but the pain increased.

In Feb 2008, I could no longer handle the pain. I was kneeling on one knee because I couldnít sit by the end of the day. I went to my main doctor and he advised that I take a medical leave and get treatment for my back and neck pain and the constant stomach issues. The week after I went on medical leave, my pain got so bad, that I could not get out of bed without assistance and this went on for months. I have sinus infections about every two weeks and I spend 80% of my time in bed.

After seeing many doctors and MRIís, they found that I had several herniated disc in my neck and lower back. The disc in the lower back was gone and pinching nerves. I can only sit for about 30 minutes before the pain gets severe and my groin and legs become numb. If I shift every few minutes, I can sit up for about and hour. But after an hour, I have to lay down to relieve the pain. If I donít lay down, the pain becomes unbearable and triggers migraines.   I continue to have the stomach issues as well on a daily basis

I hired lawyers, went to an AME (Agreed Medical Examiner) approved by both sides (WB and my lawyers) who said my injuries were 90% the fault of WB.

I started receiving $245 a week for 20 weeks as disability payments. After those payments ended, I started receiving Long term disability from WBís long term disability carrier called UNUM.  WB said that since I was on long term disability, they were going to terminate my employment and they did as of Oct 2008.

Yesterday, I received a call from UNUM and they said they had reviewed my claim and felt that I could go back to work as long as I shifted in my chair every 20 minutes and were terminating my long term disability. I googled UNUM and they have class action suits in 48 states and 50% of the denied claims were overturned when taken to court.

Just to give you an idea of how I live now. It took me and hour and a half to write this story. I had to lay down several times just to finish it. 

 I donít go to movies, I can only hang out with friends about 30 minutes (that about all I can handle), I get most of my meals from the drive thru because I canít stand long enough to cook. I still spend about 80% of my time in bed and I am sick EVERY morning and it takes hours to get enough pain meds down me to go to pool therapy three times a week. I have to nap every afternoon and usually only get out for about 30 minutes in the evening to go to the grocery store, CVS etc. After that the pain gets so bad, I have to go home and lay down. Itís not much of a life and I cant imagine trying to have to work now but without disability, I will have no income and no insurance. I will no longer be able to afford the hundreds of dollars of meds I have to take.

I currently have a cast on my left leg due to stress from the injury from my right knee surgery and a back brace for my back issue

 

04-9-08  My Buddy, Thomas Whelan has a film in the BEVERLY HILLS FILM FESTIVAL  - Go see " THE ART OF TRAVEL" TONIGHT (4-9-08)

PLEASE GO SEE IT

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 9
LAEMMLE THEATER
9036 Wilshire Blvd.

Beverly Hills, CA 90211

2008 Beverly Hill Film Festival OPENING NIGHT
http://www. beverlyhillsfilmfestival. com/
Block 1 (7:30PM)

THE ART OF TRAVEL
Genre: Comedy/Drama (97 mins.
) USA
Director: Thomas Whelan
Writers: Brian Labelle and Thomas Whelan
Producers: Brian Labelle, Carol Masterson, Christopher Masterson, Emyr Graciano, Kyle Jackson and Thomas Whelan
Cast: Christopher Masterson, Brooke Burns, Johnny Messner, James Duval, Shalim Ortiz, Jake Muxworthy, Angelika Baran, Maria Conchita Alonso, Alexandra Breckenridge, Ernie Lively, Bijou Phillips, Tommy Savas and Silvia Spross
Synopsis: CONNER LAYNE is on top of the world. Life seems to be going in the ideal direction until his marriage comes crumbling down at the altar. In the wake of disaster, Conner decides to take the honeymoon solo to Central America. In Panama, he joins an expedition to travel through the Darien Gap: 125 miles of jungle that separates North from South America. The Art of Travel is about the twists and turns in the jungle of life. Inside these moments are new friends and adventures, even in the wake of our darkest moments.

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