Thursday, July 17, 2014

Claim work comp and take the time off you actually need

I'm thinking back over all the time I spent trying to making sure I didn't take too much time off of work and rushing back to work without missing any time.

I wish I hadn't bothered myself looking back on the terrible year I was having.  I mean, there was no reward in it.  I didn't have a job going into the next year.  And I can't even go back to conducting choir because of the injury that I have.  It's truly frustrating.

There is also a limitation for your care - in case you didn't know.

You can only collect two years of partial temporary disability and two years of temporary total disability within 5 years from the date of injury.  So, if you need surgery, get.  If you need the time off from work, take it.  There will, ultimately, be another job at some point.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

What to do if your Workers Compensation claim is denied

There are a few more things I learned about the work comp system that I'd like to share with you.

I had an ankle injury in 2007 at work - in fact, I had 3 of them.  The doctor made me "Permanent & Stationary" instead of doing his best to make sure that my claim was resolved as fully as possible.  I didn't get all of the medical treatment I could have and should have.  And that's why valuable to know in and of itself.  Your doctor is not your friend in this process.  But, I should have disputed it (in writing.)

And then I had another work injury in 2008 - to the same ankle.  Because I was still able to get SOME medical treatment, I did not take the denial of my new claim seriously.  And that was my mistake.  My insurance company denied the claim.  I could have protested it with them.  But what would have been even more powerful was if I had filled out what is called a "request for adjudication of claim."  That puts it before the court.

My employer denied my old injury because they are jerks, and because I was Most Injured Teacher of the Year.  But I believe that the court would have forced them to side with me.  I went to a softball game after hours because I was being encouraged to develop relationships with my students and see them in other places than my class.  I only went to the game for that reason.  It was job-related, but work wanted to say that it wasn't.  BS.  I'm sure the court would have forced the issue had I been in front of them.  But, I didn't do it.

That's why you owe it to yourself to take action.


I learned a great deal from the NOLO Press book for California Worker's Compensation.  Unfortunately, they do not have this great resource for all states.  Unfortunately, I discovered this book at the back end of my claim.  If you are in California, the money you spend on the book will save you much heartache in the long run.  You can get it directly from NOLO, or go to Amazon.com to make a purchase.  And don't say I didn't tell you so.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Your doctor is not your friend. 10 things I've learned about work comp that you should know

I've been so frustrated over trying to settle my claim and reviewing all the medical treatment I didn't get.  I've learned some things.

  1. I will never be the same again.  I have not been all fixed up, and I won't be.  Because that's not how the system works.  It isn't designed to make you all better.
  2. Your doctor is not your friend.  Your doctor will cut you off from medical treatment and write different things from what you said.  He will not give you all of the medical treatment you deserve unless you fight for it.
  3. Your insurance company is not your friend.  They might make nice, but they aren't interested in you.  They will do what they are legally required and that's it.  But, even then, they will delay your payments as long as possible.
  4. You have to keep track of everything. I didn't, and I am paying the price.  
  5. Get a lawyer as soon as you can.  They know the system, and you don't.
  6. Attend a work comp presentation at the local work comp appeals board.  You can find out about this from online.
  7. Write letters of protest when you think your medical treatment isn't going right.  You may protest verbally, but you must do it in writing.  Don't wait.  Read everything your doctor gives you.
  8. Write down your symptoms and hand them to your doctor.  Like I said, he's not your friend.  He's not looking out for you.  He's trying to make sure the insurance company keeps sending him referrals.  Again, your doctor is not your friend.
  9. Your weekly rate of pay is going to be much lower if you have only worked at this place a short time.  As a teacher, my pay for the year was spread out over 52 weeks and I ended up with a much lower rate than what I was acutally earning.
  10. You will lose benefits if you fail to act in a timely manner.

I've been screwed over by the system and I was overwhelmed by it and overwhelmed by my job.  Here is hoping that you won't be.  Oh, and here's another tip - you can claim a psychological injury from your injuries.  I should have done that.  And you can also claim a psychological injury like stress from your job.  DO IT.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Updates to all

Work comp is a total nightmare.  I am having to battle it out.

The job doing private lessons didn't work out when someone started complaining that I couldn't play piano.  Yes, that's right.  Apparently, you can't give private lessons on voice if you don't play piano.  I taught two lessons and that was that.

I've tried to do other menial jobs in hopes of getting something that fit.  In 2011, I worked one day for a beauty product doing demonstrations in the store.  I was in major pain after standing for a few hours at one of the locations.  By the time I went to the other location, my ankle was already swollen.  I tried sitting down to alleviate the pain.  I ran out of product.  And some lady yelled about me about one of the products.  It wasn't my fault.  I apologized to her.  I wrote my report on my cell phone.  And some employee there complained about me.  I lost that gig.  It didn't matter when I told them I had problems with my left ankle.  They were done thanks to a nasty report from a nasty employee.

And conducting?  Forget it.  That wasn't going to work out either.  I can barely write or type with my right hand, much less do any conducting.  I can't go back to teaching music or demonstrating instruments, or even performing very much.  I can't do musicals if I can't dance.  I've only been able to sing in choir which pays a measly amount to cover gas money.

And then I got a bunch more injuries 2 years ago while still trying to find someone I could reasonably do without hurting myself.  I just can't win.  I've been trying to settle my work comp claim.  And it turns out that I was supposed to be prescribed medications and not pay for them myself.  I didn't know that until I got insurance cards in the mail last year.  I have a lot to grumble about.

I'm still working on settle work comp claims that are now 6 years old.  I highly recommend that anyone dealing with work comp get a lawyer.  It's not about medical, it's about legal issues.  And it's about knowing when they are trying to work you over.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

All my trials

It's been awhile since I wrote anything. I have my reasons.

Even though I was a teacher, after the hell I went through, I think I almost understand how that poor girl felt.

I had a whole community against me.
Teachers said they didn't like me.
The administration didn't want to help much.
The administration broke promises to me.
I didn't have access to the things I needed to get my job done.
I couldn't  schedule the performing arts center when I needed to.

How is it that kids are allowed to run schools and cause so much harm? Administrations don't do anything because they're afraid of parent complaints. Isn't it about time we do something and tell parents if they don't like what we do that they will have to find another school for their kid because the child can't seem to comply with rules? Isn't it about time schools are able to mete out punishments which actually make kids think about things? Going to school should be a privilege--and if it isn't treated with respect, then the privilege should be taken away.

Just my thoughts.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Former student with child

I ran into a former student while I was out and about. She changed her hair, and now has a child. It was sort of a surprise, but still, having a child should be celebrated. The pressures of choosing to raise a child who was created in love are large, but she's making the right choice.

She was one of my favorites. I didn't have a habit of playing favorites. It wasn't a game. It was that she actually cared about singing while other students wanted the old teacher back--something which they didn't get. The last time I saw her, the year was only halfway over and her parents told her they were moving. I lost a few students to moves. It had already been bad enough and that was the death knell.

It was hard seeing her again. I hate being reminded of what I went through. I dreamt of becoming a choir teacher and it's fallen apart. I wrecked my shoulder playing piano and conducting. It wrecked me emotionally going through such a horrid year. I should have quit, but I didn't know that, well...that people have a legal obligation to honor a contract or what it is that they must honor.

If you are an anonymous commenter leaving nasty comments, you really ought to reveal yourself or get over yourself.  Seriously, I hate people like that.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Jimmy Kimmel and Former Students

I was watching Jimmy Kimmel Live. Sometimes he has artists on for performances. Sometimes they are people who I end up liking and area really good. And sometimes I see things I don't want to. One of my former students was rocking out in the front row to one of these really bad bands. A flood of unfond memories came back.

His mom who is on the school board calling him on his cell phone during class.
Him wearing a hood over his head all the time like it's something unique.
Him filming me and putting it on YouTube without my knowledge.
Him mouthing off at me.
Him swearing.
Him not being able to sing very well and me having to deal with it tactfully.
Him being helpful for the first few days--but you see when I get a break I need to take it by myself. He stopped coming to the room during breaks.

As bad as it all was, I wonder if he is happy now. I wonder if he is in college, making friends and having a good time. Once I knew for sure it was him, I couldn't watch anymore. It's so hard seeing my students from that time.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Pain in the Neck, etc.

I already have a pain in the neck because of the accident I had last year, and the other one from the year before that. I have a pain in the shoulder from conducting and then having surgery. I have a pain in the ankle from having sprained my ankle at work 4 times in one year.

And now...The pain in the ankle and the shoulder is back.

I went to car car dealership to test drive a Mercedes. I know--what teacher can afford one. I was curious.

My salesperson gave me a handshake over the planter instead of waiting for me to get around it. I didn't know. I stepped on the edge of the planter--something that he knew was there. My foot slipped on the edge leading to an ankle sprain. Yes, my left ankle, the one that I sprained 4 times at work. The man pulled up on my arm to break my fall and wrenched my right arm. Yes, the one that I just had surgery on.

The doctor says I never would have been hurt if I hadn't had surgery and prior injuries.  I have to agree.

I give up. I'm never leaving my house again. I wonder how this works out with these being Work Comp injuries. I think I know of a lawyer...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Post Shoulder Surgery

I have found out a few things about the Work Comp system. Yes, it's true, people do abuse it. I am in a situation where my right arm was basically destroyed from conducting, never got better, I had to have surgery and now I am being told that Work Comp isn't obligated to restore me to the condition I was in BEFORE the job destroyed me. In fact, unless I get a second opinion in the form of a visit with a Qualified Medical Examiner, I may not get all of the physical therapy I really need to live a pain free life.

I was talking to some guy I was briefly interested in who said that he thinks it's all a scam and that people know what they are getting into. Not only that, they shouldn't have to have some system pay for their treatment. As I said, I was only briefly interested in him. I really don't care to be put down for something like this.

And I'm not so sure this surgery was actually successful.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Unspecial

I auditioned for America's Got Talent. It was, to say the least an interesting experience. Some girls want to beat up one of my ex boyfriends. They have met him because their singing group is an offshoot of one that he was involved in founding years ago in college. I befriended a group of girls who teach fire dancing and brought their group to audition. I also befriended the people on either side of me in line. One is a girl who needs a teacher to be able to audition for the performing arts high school. She has to learn an Italian aria. I can help her with that. I am trying to build a reputation for being able to prepare students for that level.

What happened with the actual audition is that I learned that this really isn't a talent show. My story was buried because they has so many singers to get through. I learned that to make yourself more interesting, you should play something while you sing. I learned that they pick some really bad people with no talent on purpose. I learned that they make is seem like a talent show when it really is only about ratings. There were so many talented people there. Why are they picking Boy Shakira when they can have someone who is actually good? I don't even mean me.

By the end of the evening, I was in tears because they didn't even look at my story and I didn't think to say anything when I introduced myself. I only got 90 seconds to shine, as did everyone else. I know that it's possible to pick people from that, but they aren't even looking or listening for talent. Partly I was in tears because I was so tired from standing in line all day or waiting around.

One of my friends said, You are talented, you don't need a show to tell you that. Maybe exposure because that's always nice. But you don't need them to tell you you're talented.

He's right. I felt better after he said that. I do feel like people don't understand how hard it is to make it as a professional singer. Some of my students and my coworkers thought I was amazingly talented and that I should be on American Idol or some show like that. They don't stop to think that I'm not the age or the look that they want. I don't know why I forgot.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Surgery A Success

I just had surgery on my shoulder. Here's hoping will finally have a pain free life. Surgery sure has changed in recent years. Not only can they perform a surgery arthroscopically, they even give you a video of the procedure on DVD. Amazing!! It hurts to type too much. Aparently they took out pieces of bone and scar tissue. I don't know how this all happened when all I was doing was playing piano and conducting. But anything is possible. My arm is in a sling. The guaze finally came off today with really sticky tape that pulled off a layer of skin. It felt so good to be able to shower!

When I go to the post-op appointment, I will find out the hows and whys. The thing that amazes me is that my principal tired to talk me into signing off that I didn't want medical treatment. I said I would go home and put an ice pack on it and see how it felt the next day. If I had signed anything, they would not have been paying for the surgery. But then, that's the whole point, isn't it? Who wants to pay?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

At Long Last

Due to my case getting dropped and then picked up again. Due to the fact that my pain still hasn't healed. I am finally having surgery on my shoulder for the injuries that teaching last year caused. They never fixed the piano. I was playing and conducting for hours and it resulted in rotator cuff problems.

This week I will be getting surgery to fix my shoulder. I'm seriously nervous about it. But hope I will finally be closer to normal than I have been. Work comp is seriously slow. This could have been done a long time ago. But at least it's getting done. I'm working as an independent contractor, so it's not like there will be anyone upset with me or disappointed in me that I wasn't able to be at work. At least I will be paid for being on disability for awhile. And then hopefully I will be better. I'll let you know--if I can type.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Private Lessons & Chopsticks

In February, I will begin teaching voice as a secondary instrument with a piano school which has opened several schools. In terms of pay, it's not alot. On the other hand love music and will be doing something I love. They are looking to continue expanding. Who knows, someday I might work up to find myself running one of their schools. That's a few years off.

I will be taking over someone else's teaching in one location because it's too far for her to drive from where she goes to school. She was very popular with the kids. Crap. I have been through that before. But this time it's different because I will meet with them one-on-one.

I sang at two recitals at two of the schools so they could hear me and meet me. Everyone was very complimentary about my singing.

The funny thing is, most of the teachers are Korean! We all went out for Korean barbecue after the last recital. I have seen some of the side dishes before, but just kimchee really. I read somewhere you have to see something 20 times before you try it. I'll be seeing alot of this stuff. They were impressed that I know how to use chopsticks. One girl confessed she holds her chopsticks the wrong way, and another chimed in that she did too. But they can get away with it because they are natives. I can use chopsticks, but I wonder how well I will do when I really can't even play chopsticks since my shoulder injury. Some of the women were impressed that I used chopsticks to put my hair up. It's easy.



How did I find this job? They posted that they were looking for some instrumental teachers on Craigslist. I wrote and asked if they needed a voice teacher. It just goes to show that you never know what will happen. That plus the mystery shopping should make things pick up to an OK level financially.

Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now

The music lesson for the day:
the Smiths were a melodic pop band from the late 80s and early 90s who sang about unusual and miserable topics tunefully.

I was looking for a job and then I found a job and heaven knows I'm miserable now. In my life, why do I give valuable time to people who don't care if I live or die?

The Smiths said it best.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Why Students are Mean

I ran into one of my former students at the mall. Her face lit up and she gave me a hug. I was happy to see her, but what in the world could I say?

Gina: Miss D!! How are you?
MissD: Gina, it's so good to see you? How are you?
Gina: I'm good.
MissD: How is the new teacher? Eva said she was really mean and made her write standards.
Gina: That's because it's Eva and she doesn't like to do anything.
MissD: I remember.
Gina: She's good. I'm in two periods of choir this year. Can you believe it?
MissD: Yes. That's kind of funny though.
Gina: Well, I just have two real classes and then two periods of choir in between them.
MissD: That's exactly what I was doing in high school. Too funny.
Gina: Miss D, you should have come back. We were mean to you because we were hoping that our old teacher would come back. But then he didn't.
MissD: I'll bet I got the blame for the choir falling apart...
Gina: Well...yeah, they did... But it was us really. We were just used to him.
MissD: Are they starting to see that it wasn't just me?
Gina: Yeah. The guys that are in the choir don't sing. And it still doesn't sound like we did when Mr. Moore was there. It would have been better this year because then we would be used to you.
MissD: O, honey, I know. I wish I could have come back, but it didn't work out that way. I kind of told you guys that's how it was gonna be.
Gina: Well, I guess we just didn't believe it.
MissD: I know.
Gina: We have chairs now in the new room.
MissD: Wow, that's what I wanted for you guys too.
Gina: The new teacher took one look at what the band teacher had and went straight to the office and got chairs.
MissD: Good for her, and for you guys.
Gina: So what are you doing this year? Are you teaching somewhere?
MissD: Um, well, I'm looking into new things right now.
Gina: That means no. You should still teach, Miss D. You were good. It was us.
MissD: Thanks, Gina. That means alot to me.
Gina: Well, I have to go. Bye.
MissD: Bye.

We hugged.

I wondered how the news of me not teaching anywhere this year would go through the school. Gina was trouble when I had her last year, yet at the same time, she was dedicated and sometimes gave alot to the choir. I couldn't handle the pressure of teaching students whowanted their old teacher back that badly. Gina told me that the accompanist returned also. Meanwhile, I lost everything. I'm the biggest loser in the whole thing. I'm still not over it emotionally and certainly have taken a hit financially.

I'm debating if I should ever go to that mall again. I did get a glasses prescription filled there and am getting contacts, so it is hard to avoid that mall for the time being.