The deteriorating situation with my back, including terribly violent spasms during which I previously fractured two of my own vertebrae, has left me unable to walk or stand for any period of time and, even though the physical therapy my mom and I have been working on at home has gotten me to a point a can get around in a wheelchair, many of you know production trucks (and many studio control rooms) are not designed to accommodate wheelchairs, in addition to the fact that my work as a Technical Director would require me to lean forward frequently (to reach the upper panels of switchers and routers), which is nearly impossible, between the pain and the wheelchair height.
As a result, I've been out of work since the end of October, have been losing clients and am on the verge of losing everything I worked for the past two decades.
The medical & insurance fields have been a huge strain, unable to nail down a definitive diagnosis and unwilling to approve tests, procedures and hospital stays which would allow the doctors to find and fix the root problem. Worse, is having good insurance, only to have the provider reject treatment options that are badly needed, because it can't be done by their facilities. For example, I badly need a standing MRI, but was told on Monday that there are only three imaging centers that work with my insurance and none does a standing MRI, so it was rejected. The same insurance has pressured people within the hospitals to discharge me in the same terrible condition I was brought in with. The most recent hospital stay saw the discharge doctor misrepresenting my condition, saying I was able to walk around, in order to discharge me, while the nurses, physical therapy, and even the neurology specialist all argued that I needed to stay.
All I keep asking is for them to resolve the issue so I can go back to work and have my life back.
I can't describe what a nightmare this whole experience has been - despite the growing pain and disability, 2014 had been a year of career highs ("Wil Wheaton Project", "Big Brother", "Tavis Smiley", "Queen Latifah", etc.), and then suddenly one day, you're unable to walk, have unbearable excruciating pain for 12-16 hours at a time, then you're in a wheelchair and are unable to do even the most basic of tasks, while your world and everything you worked for falls apart around you. The whole crisis has been a horrible strain on my family as well, especially my folks, who rushed to California, from Florida, to assist me and have found themselves stuck out here for nearly three months. They also did what they could to help me cover my overhead, but having recently squeaked into retirement, they can not afford to help any further.
I've always found strength from voices of support among you and, as hard as this is, I'm forced to reach out to all of you as a last chance of hope for buying enough time to get this resolved once and for all, so I can get back to work and move past all this, pain free.
Thanks for taking the time and for any help you can contribute. Love, Chris
- Barbara M
- Jake Wachtel
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