Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Brian's Health - A Personal Note

My husband, Brian, and I.

To whom reads this, let me explain. This is a letter that I have just written up for MetLife, an insurance company that provides long term disability benefits. This letter is about my husband who has been in and out of work since March of 2011 when his symptoms started and has been out of work completely since March 30th, 2013. MetLife denied our claim for long term disability benefits and this is part of the appeal. This is fairly personal information, but I feel the need to share it with you all.


The past 2 years have been very difficult for Brian, my husband. Since I am his wife I see him every day on a regular basis and because of this I have a better understanding of what he is going through than the physicians that have only seen him a handful of times for short durations. While I am not a medically qualified professional to make a formal diagnosis or recommend treatment for him I have noticed many things that are outlined here.

I have noticed a significant deterioration of cognitive ability. Before this time he was extremely motivated and physically got a lot done. Now he struggles with even small tasks. Things on his to do list seem to take him more than quadruple the amount of time to get done these days. I have noticed that when he gets up from sitting or reclining his awareness or consciousness seems to be reduced. He has a diminished capacity of thinking straight, moving correctly, and remembering stuff while standing. Sometimes when the condition is really bad he ambles around like he is drunk. He also has trouble maintaining equilibrium and homeostasis while bending over or changing position suddenly. This also makes him dizzy, lightheaded, and have trouble cognitively. It is very hard for him to function well this way and he gets very frustrated because he can't think as well as he should be able to or as well as he used to. It is also very hard for me to see him like this. Some days are better than others and we have not figured out why this is.

We have been searching for answers to many questions as to why this is happening and what it might be. Brian has researched extensively to try to find an underlying cause and possible cure. He has encountered many overlapping conditions that his symptoms seem to point to. Most recently this research has lead him to get a referral for OHSU Rheumatology. They requested labs to be taken before they saw him and in the process 2 of the 4 lab results came back with abnormal findings which may be suggestive of a possible root cause. One was a low Vitamin D level and the other was a low level of a certain protein. OHSU Rheumatology is currently reviewing these results and will be getting back to us with a scheduled appointment for Brian and possibly more tests.

In 2011 he was prescribed a drug called Adderall to improve his ability to focus which helped with his brain fog. Unfortunately it also had a very unpleasant adverse effect of aggravating Tourettes and it didn't completely get rid of the light-headedness. Before taking this drug Brian's Tourettes were unnoticeable and now even the littlest things set him off with uncontrollable vocalizations. For example: he sometimes yells really loud or says moo or toaster, etc. Even though he got off the drug, after noticing the Tourettes getting worse, the Tourettes haven't gotten any better. He describes it as having an unwanted, heightened Spidey sense. Different things set him off, some examples are: irritating smells, somebody getting hurt or having the possibility of getting hurt, or any human sound in a high register.

On March 30th, 2013 Brian had an accident at home while trying to put a fence post in. He blacked out. The next thing he knew was that the heavy fence post pounder had dropped on his head and his head was bleeding. It was at that point that Brian decided that he couldn't go back to work at his job at the time as a plant equipment operator for Beaver Plant and PGE. He realized then and there that working around charged electrical equipment, on high scaffolding and ladders, and rotating machinery could become very dangerous and possibly life threatening if he blacked out again. He didn't want his or other lives put in jeopardy because of his condition.

My 4 children and I have been having a hard time adjusting and seeing Brian go through this. It has been difficult on all of us and very life changing. The Tourettes are a bit of a nuisance. We have had to shorten, postpone, or cancel many family outings and work around how well he feels at the time. There are times when he has felt like he needed to sit the events out because he just didn't feel like he could walk around without feeling the ill effects of light-headedness and brain fog. We all would really love to find some answers and get to the bottom of all this so that we can hopefully get back to some kind of normalcy. Since Brian became out of work we had to move out of the house we were previously in and into the one we are in currently because we did not have enough money to pay for it. We have been struggling everyday to make ends meet and meet the needs of our family of 6. This has not been very easy for any of us.

Would you please re-review the case file as well as any additional information we have provided to you. We hope the previous denial was simply due to an oversight. We look forward to having Brian's long term disability reinstated. If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to provide answers to your questions and additional details to the best of my knowledge. Thank you.

Crystal Abel

2 comments:

Erin said...

I hope the MetLife insurance company hears you out and does something! I'm praying for you and your family. * HUGS *

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