Tag Archives: Environmental Health Center-Dallas

The Cost of Environmental Illness

Environmental Illness is costly not only emotionally to the person suffering through it and their family but it is monetarily costly as well.  In the beginning of my illness I was sent to an allergy and immunology specialist by my ENT, Dr. Spitzer.  Our insurance paid for the office visit but did not cover the EPD (enzyme potentiated) treatments.  These treatments consisted of two injections given every two months at a cost of $150.00.  My insurance did not cover the special B Vitamins I needed.  And it didn’t cover the special flours and other items I needed to bake my own breads, cookies, and crackers.  I had been told to avoid wheat, oats, barley, corn, and fermented products like soy sauce, catsup, vinegar, etc.  I began making trips to a health food store an hour from home to buy rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, garbanzo bean flour, carob products, guar gum (a stabilizer to replace gluten not found in these flours), and special rings to make my hamburger buns.

Fast forward a bit and I need to take a nebulized antifungal.  My insurance would pay for the nebulizer  ($150) but not the compounded antifungal for the nebulizer ($1200.).  Fortunately, I was put into a a trial that allowed me to buy the antifungal for $300.00 I believe.

Before long I was being sent to Dallas for the first of what would be several trips. I had filed for workers’ compensation but who knew what the outcome would be and if these new expenses would be covered.  My first trip included the cost of airfare for both my husband and I from California to Dallas.  It cost us over $400 to rent a car at the airport for the week my husband would be there (we learned that it would have been cheaper to rent a car outside of the airport).  There was the expense of my husband making a second round trip by air to visit me when my stay was to be extended longer than we had planned.  The cost of my room was $1100 per month for a two-bedroom environmentally safe apartment if I shared it with a roommate.  My stay was nearly four months.  None of these expenses were covered by insurance.  I had to buy organic food and unusual foods for testing when I was rapidly losing foods that I normally ate.  A loaf of yeast-free bread made of water chestnut flour was $7.00.  A water chestnut flour bagel was $3.00.  My bottled water was over $1.00 per bottle. I had to have special shampoos and soaps as well.  Again these were not covered by insurance.  My treatments had to be paid up front and then submitted for reimbursement by my insurance.  Each item I did skin testing on cost me $23.  I can’t even begin to tell you how many items I tested just to find safe foods and that was before I tested molds, pollens, and other inhalants.  I was doing two IV therapies a week at $125 per IV.  I was doing daily sauna therapy that was $35 per session.  I was doing oxygen therapy.  I was going through numerous labs and tests that were also very expensive.  Weekly I would pull out a credit card one that still had room to charge on it), pay the weekly bill, then spend the weekend putting it all together to mail to my insurance.  They paid a percentage of those bills.

I returned home from Dallas with antigens that I needed to take daily (I rotated them using a four-day rotation) and these items were expensive as well.  After having a urine Tricothecene test, I learned that I was continually being made more ill by the mycotoxins on my clothing that had been contaminated from work.  I had  to give away my clothes and start over because the cross contamination of mold and mycotoxins would continue to make me ill.  My mother came over and bagged up all my things.  You can see pictures of this in my blog post, Environmental Illness – Not for the Faint of Heart.  I also purchased a sauna for $3,500.00 that was not covered by insurance but was needed to continue my detox regimen at home.

I bought only a few clothing items because I could not afford to replace my entire wardrobe.

Dr. Rea from the Environmental Health Center – Dallas issued a letter that included a rough estimate of costs that I would incur as a result of my mold exposure to be used in court.  I will include more from that list and other expenses during Part 2.

Jennie Sherwin – In the Spotlight

spotlight author logo

If you have been following my blog for any amount of time, you are aware of my friend Jennie Sherwin.  Jennie and I first met in Dallas while going through treatment at the Environmental Health Center.  I recently did an interview with Jennie and talked about her book.  When I became a member of Rave Reviews Book Club I invited Jennie to join because I knew she would be a perfect fit.  One of the perks of being a member and an author is the opportunity to be chosen as a Spotlight Author.  I am so excited to say that Jennie’s name was drawn to be Rave Reviews Book Club’s first “Spotlight Author”.  Below is Jennie’s Author Spotlight post.

I want to thank the Members of the Board of the Rave Reviews Book Club for this incredible opportunity to be featured as the club’s first Spotlight Author. You’ve all done a great deal of work to make this club a reality. To Nonnie Jules, Founder and President, thank you for founding the club and giving authors a place to hang their hats among friends. I am also grateful to my longtime friend Kathy Treat, Membership Director, for inviting me to join. Marketing and promotion are challenges for the first-time author. Being selected as the Spotlight Author, who receives marketing and promotion to the social media outlets as well as to print media, is truly a gift from heaven. Last, but not least at all, I send a special thank you to all the bloggers who agreed to host me on their site. I am truly grateful.
I have always loved to read, so it was natural for me to pursue a career where I could share my love of reading with others, which I did as a teacher of English. I liked writing, too, but it took years to hone my craft. I was fortunate to have wonderful mentors. One, in particular, at Random House, the trade publishing company in New York City, literally taught me how to think about writing, always holding the reader in mind and using that focus to sharpen the clarity of my text. My experience at Random House opened the door to a career in pubic health consulting. Working in a busy editorial office on publications for many clients, each with specific needs, gave me the perfect opportunity to gain experience writing or editing books, papers, and articles targeting different audiences at varying reading levels. As a service to all of the writers and editors who might be reading this blog, I’d like to pass along the names of the manuals that I’ve used throughout my career with links to their Amazon pages. They include the Chicago Manual of StyleWords into TypeNew Hart’s RulesFowler’s Modern English Usage, and Scientific Style and Format.
cover CLNNow to my book: In Intentional Healing…I tell the story of my transformation from a Western-educated woman who worked as a writer and editor in the field of public health to a woman who awakened  to a more Eastern-oriented way of thinking that included a de-emphasis on the individual and ego and an emphasis on collective consciousness and the soul. After bizarre symptoms upended my life, I sought help from Western medicine. No one I consulted could explain what was happening to me. No one, that is, until I met diagnostic detective, Dr. Leo Galland, who tied my symptoms to environmental illness and referred me to a pioneer in environmental medicine, Dr. William J. Rea, in Dallas, Texas, founder of the Environmental Health Center-Dallas. While at the EHC-D, I was introduced to the view held by doctors of environmental medicine that many chronic illnesses are triggered by environmental toxins. During treatment, I unmasked (or became aware of a sensitivity I had not recognized before) for sensitivity to electromagnetic fields. Dr. Rea referred me to Deborah Singleton, founder and director of A Healing Place, and her energy healing team. Energy balancing helped me respond to the treatment program at Dr. Rea’s clinic. With Deborah’s guidance I began the process of expanding my consciousness and understanding the real roots of illness. My journey, which included initiation into Reiki channeling and healing from Navajo hataali, took me from dark nights of the soul to a new way of thinking about illness.
Jennie Sherwin, author and editor

Catch Up Mondays: The Holidays are approaching; are you ready?

This was first posted on November 6, 2012.  The holidays are here again and we are all asking the same question.  Are we ready?  How will we handle the holidays with chemical sensitivity as well as food allergies?  It is difficult.  I have been fortunate that my family is always cooperative and we manage to make it through without too many issues.  The picture below was my first Thanksgiving at my house in 2004.  I am posting this early because I have another post scheduled for Monday.

Thanksgiving at my house.

Thanksgiving at my house.

The holidays are approaching.  Are you ready?  Someone Googled “Christmas with multiple chemical sensitivity” and found my post on mold spores and cross contamination.  I Googled it myself and found my blog post on page 6.  The holidays are hard for everyone with the craziness of shopping, decorating, wrapping gifts, preparing for company and planning dinners.  For those of us with multiple chemical sensitivity life becomes even more difficult and we have to be so much more creative.

My sensitivities had peaked by the end of 2003 when I came home after being in Dallas at the Environmental Health Center-Dallas for nearly a year.  My husband had been working on a safe house for me without carpets and other toxic substances.  I had rented a computer in November while still in Dallas to try to do some Christmas shopping online.  I was determined that there would be a Christmas someway, somehow.  My family would not go without some gift from me.  I arrived home on December 22nd.  The house was not finished.  The only rooms tiled were a bedroom for me to sleep in and the guest bathroom.  I had my cot and a washer and dryer.  I arrived home to a stack of boxes and two days to get it together.

Christmas morning arrived.  My family (daughters, mother, dad and sister) arrived.  The living room floor was just concrete.  There was no furniture so I borrowed some metal folding chairs from my sister.  There was no tree so I tied a bow on an oscillating fan that my husband had been using while working on the house and gently placed a few packages down around its base.  My husband made coffee at the house next door and brought it in for my family to drink.  The house was cold because the heat wasn’t hooked up yet, made even colder by the cold concrete underneath our feet.  The only heat I could provide was from a small ceramic heater that I used in the bedroom.   We survived the opening of gifts and then everyone left me alone in my room to go to my mother’s for Christmas dinner.  Oh how I wish I had a picture of the fan to share with you all.

The following year was Thanksgiving.  By this time I had some wicker furniture in the living room and a table in the kitchen.  My house was now to be my safe place and no one could enter without wearing the beautiful and elegant white tyek suits to protect me from possible mold and fragrances.  They also wore white painter hats and booties to cover their hair from fragrances  and cover their shoes from whatever they might have on them.  The photo I am sharing is what Thanksgiving looked like at my house.

My point in this post is to let others know that yes holidays are hard  with multiple chemical sensitivity but there are ways to make it work.  If you can’t go to shop like me, there is an abundant amount of online shops.  The trick is to have an idea of what you want to buy.  The first time I tried it, I became panic-stricken and began to cry.  It isn’t like going to the mall and picking up something you see that you know would be perfect for Aunt Ginny or cousin Susy.  It takes time, patience and practice but it can be done.  Wrapping paper is another issue.  Solutions can be something as simple as plain tissue paper or kraft paper that doesn’t have all the inks or shine of traditional wrapping paper.  My second Christmas after my family all graciously endured the tyvek suits, hats and booties from Thanksgiving, I wanted something better.  I purchased pajama pants for the entire family and plain simple t-shirts.  I laundered them so I could stand them and one by one my family entered the garage, changed from their “stinky perfumed things” into my safe clothes and walked into my living room.  For the first time Christmas felt a little more normal.  We all looked like we had just gotten out of bed and went straight to work celebrating Christmas.  We just had a pajama day.

Christmas dinner was what I could eat and what anyone else wanted to bring as long as the aroma from the food wouldn’t bother me.  I ate what I could eat and left the other food to everyone else.  We have continued this way of celebrating the holidays.  It may not be everyone’s normal, but it is our normal.  I am so fortunate and grateful to have a loving family that supports me and gives me the opportunity of celebrating holidays with them even if it means that they have to step outside their comfort zone to do it.

I would love to hear what others with multiple chemical sensitivity do to celebrate Christmas and other holidays.  I hope that I have answered the question for the next person that searches out chemical sensitivity and Christmas or given hope that there are things that can make it work.

ALF – Not just the character from television

Not this guy (Alien Life Form) but Autogenous Lymphocytic Factor.  Autogenous Lympocytic Factor (ALF) is a vaccine made from one’s own white blood cells.  It was developed at the Environmental Health Center-Dallas and is given every four days to stimulate t-cells to return to normal.

Information taken from the Environmental Health Center-Dallas brochure about ALF.

ALF is made from your own blood.  It is made from substances which may be released from your own stimulated healthy T-lympocytes.  It is a biological response modifier.  The cells are placed in a cell culture and within 2-6 weeks they grow.  These strong cells are injected subcutaneously.

There are two mechanisms of action:

The Helper T-lymphocyte initiate immune responses and these produce delayed hypersensitivity.

The Suppressor T-lymphocytes suppress certain immunological activities which turn off immune responses.

ALF acts as a regulator.  It normalizes the function of lymphocytes.

Initially a one-half dose subcutaneous injection is given to determine strength of the treatment dose and patient’s response.  The patient is then given the remainder of the dose.  If symptoms occur, ALF may be diluted and retested.  (When I was given this the first time, I reacted and we had to dilute it for my initial treatment.  Eventually I was able to take a stronger dose.)  Patients are monitored every three months and tests are repeated to measure progress.


EMF Sensitivity: Effects on My Life (as told by Jennie Sherwin)

My dear friend Jennie Sherwin wrote about this topic on her blog. Jennie has given me permission to include the contents of her post here. Yesterday I wrote about EMF and my experience with it. I also discussed briefly on how it deeply affected the lives of some amazing women I have met on my healing journey. Jennie is also graciously giving away ten autographed copies at goodreads.com.

EMF Sensitivity: Effects on My Life and Its Transformation through Energy Balancing Treatments

I am a survivor. I recovered from multiple chemical sensitivity as well as from sensitivity to electromagnetic fields. Because I recovered, I shared my story in my book, Intentional Healing: One Woman’s Path to Higher Consciousness and Freedom from Environmental and Other Chronic Illnesses.  When I speak about my experience at book signings and author talks, audience members often ask: “How did you know you had EMF sensitivity?” In truth, I was sensitive to electromagnetic fields for some time before I knew what I was experiencing. I remember feeling nervous when I sat in our breakfast nook under track lighting. We had been living in that condominium in New Orleans for almost three years when the nervousness started. I can recall feeling a buzz around me when I stood close to the mirror over the vanity in the bathroom, which was lighted with bulbs that fit into receptacles above the mirror. It was not until I entered treatment at Dr. Rea’s clinic in Dallas that I fully “unmasked” for EMF sensitivity, and it happened in a dramatic way. Here is an excerpt from my book:

“…. On Sunday early evening, as I was checking e-mail on my laptop, Pretty Woman was playing on one of the cable TV channels, and dinner was baking in the oven. All of a sudden, as I was typing, I felt a strange sensation. My fingers felt prickly. The sensation spread into my hands and up my arms. The next thing I knew waves of pain exploded in my chest, and I started shaking. I felt as if I had my finger in an electrical outlet and waves of electricity were coursing through my body. Electricity! That was it! I shut off the television, the computer, the oven, and all of the overhead lights. I sat in the dark, shaking, wondering if I was experiencing electro-magnetic field (EMF) sensitivity. Remember Susi who couldn’t use a telephone? She was EMF-sensitive, and for that reason she could not touch or be near a telephone or other devices that emitted electromagnetic fields for very long. My third week at the clinic had ended, and I found myself much sicker than when I had arrived. I was incredulous. It has gotten worse. I looked at the telephone and took a deep breath. Will I be able to use the phone? Tomorrow morning, Roger would call me, and I would know.”

The next morning when my husband called, I was on the line only a minute or two when the drama of the previous day was repeated. When I got to the clinic later that morning, I was told I had “unmasked” (become aware of a sensitivity that had been hidden to my perception because of more dominant sensitivities) for EMF sensitivity as a result of the detoxification process. Life from that moment entered a twilight zone reality for me. I felt electricity from anything that emitted an electromagnetic field: telephones, appliances, air cleaners, lights, hair dryers, computers, cell phones, compressors, wires, and cables. I felt as if I were continually plugged into an electrical outlet, and I thought my nervous system would be damaged from the assault.

At the clinic I was referred to Deborah Singleton, founder and president of the Arasini Foundation and director of A Healing Place, and her healing team. With their guidance, I learned to quiet my energy fields, clear an EMF reaction, and maintain my personal energies in balance in order to heal. I attribute my ability to benefit fully from the treatment at the clinic and transform my perception of electromagnetic fields from illness to a tool I now use for information to the energy balancing treatments and the guidance I received at A Healing Place

How this transformation came about, as well as some of the exercises and practices I learned at A Healing Place, is outlined in my book. Go to Goodreads.com and look for the giveaway of my book. The promotion runs for one month, and readers have the chance to win one of ten autographed copies.

Don’t touch that button!

According to an article in the March 26, 2012 issue of “First for Women”, Dr. William Rea (director of the Environmental Health Center-Dallas) is quoted as saying women with multiple chemical sensitivity are at a greater risk of developing electromagnetic field (EMF) sensitivity. Dr. Rea believes that a reaction to chemicals can damage cell membranes, making women more vulnerable to the harmful effects of electrical signals from computers, TVs, Wi-Fi and cell phones.  Just the touch of the computer keypad can or the buttons on a cell phone can send someone into excruciating pain.

Electromagnetic Field Sensitivity (EMF) can present itself as headaches, muscle pain and fatigue. It can also cause a feeling as if one had stuck their finger in an electrical outlet. Some women have complained of feeling pain in their chest and buzzing in their heads. I can remember when my reactions were at their worst, I would get a shock wave sensation in my head. The shock wave would feel like electricity was being fed through my left ear, run right through my brain and exit the right ear. This shock wave sensation would go on for an extended period of time. As my reactions calmed somewhat, those sensations would lessen but return in the testing room if I was testing something especially difficult on me (chemicals, molds, mycotoxins).

I have experienced first hand what other women have gone through. My first true view of life with EMF was in 2002. I had only been in Dallas for a few days when a woman was walking around with a shirt tied around her head. How strange I thought. She didn’t speak much at first but we soon became friends. After talking with her, I soon discovered that she suffered from EMF. She explained it to me and said that she couldn’t have the television on in her condo and she couldn’t stand in front of the stove. Because I was able to do these things, she approached me one day to see if I would be willing to take her food and cook it for her on my stove or in my oven. She has greatly improved over the years and is now tolerating more than when we first met.

My second experience with EMF was with my friend Jennie Sherwin author of “Intentional Healing: One Woman’s Path to Higher Consciousness and Freedom from Environmental and other Chronic Illnesses”. I met Jennie in January of 2003 when I had returned to Dallas for surgery and further testing at the Environmental Health Center-Dallas with Dr. Rea. I remember walking into Jennie’s condos to the very dim glow of low watt bulbs. I remember what she had to do in order to just cook her food or answer the landline phone in her condo. I remember vividly Jennie’s husband taking her to the center and her climbing in the backseat of the car because all the controls on the dashboard would cause pain to course through to her heart. Jennie has experienced an amazing recovery and her book is a true inspiration. I will be posting tomorrow from Jennie’s blog regarding her experience with EMF.

I met two other such women suffering from sensitivities to electromagnetic fields during my visit to Dallas in 2003. One had her young daughter with her. Because I was able to have the television on, the daughter would come to my condo for a short time each evening to watch it with me. My other friend developed it while I was there in 2003. She still has a very difficult time with it today.

You may remember my post on my recent acquisition of an e-book reader. I mentioned that I chose the Wi-Fi version because it could be turned off and I wouldn’t have to sit and have a book in my lap or hand for hours with it drawing the Wi-Fi signal.

Hypothyroidism and Food

Dr. Ron Overberg at Nutriwellness discusses foods that can be harmful to your thyroid if you suffer from hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid does not produce enough thyroid hormone.  Symptoms of hypothyroidism can be fatigue, brittle nails, intolerance to cold, depression and hoarseness.  I have dealt with all of these symptoms including weight gain and thinning of my hair.

I found the list of foods  (including millet and peaches) contained foods that I eat and probably should avoid.  I am very familiar with Dr. Overberg and have worked with him over the years.    He is the nutritionist at the Enviromental Health Center-Dallas run by Dr. William Rea.   If you, like I, suffer from hypothyroidism, you may want to read this.

I am currently on both T3 and T4 thyroid medication.    The hard part about the T3 medication is that it has to be taken twice a day.  I find taking the afternoon dose the hardest part of all.  Before I know it the day is gone and I realize I haven’t taken that second dose.  I am going to have to set a daily alarm reminder on my cell phone to remind me to take it.

My thyroid problem started when I started having the mold exposure and subsequent illnesses.  My thyroid became swollen and tender to the touch.  My doctor tried a short course of steroids thinking it was a reaction but it didn’t work.  My lab tests continually showed my levels in the normal range.  Finally my ENT, who knows I am anything but normal, decided that maybe this wasn’t my normal.  He initiated a low dose of thyroid medication and within a few days the swelling and tenderness disappeared.  I have a friend who had been told numerous times by different doctors that she was in the normal range and not treated.  Eventually she was given a low dose as well and is doing much better.  I guess unless we have ourselves tested early on we may never know what our true normal is.  How many of you who follow this blog have either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism?


LISTS – Why do I do this to myself?

Why do I set myself up for failure?  Yes, I am one of those people.  I am a “list maker”.  I have been for as long as I can remember.  Maybe it started out when I was first working and had to have a list of things needed to be done during the day/week/month.  Then it carried over into my home life.  Or maybe I was a list maker before and carried it into my work life.  Either way, I am one of “those people”.

While I was the Environmental Health Center in Dallas I would spend each evening before going to bed going over mountains of paperwork trying to decide what antigens I should test the next day, how many I had left to test and what number I needed to test each day in order to get done and more importantly get back home.  I also had on my list my IV therapy, sauna therapy, doctor appointments, etc.  The kink in this was that I never knew how many antigens I could test on a particular day.  Some days I would have an extremely difficult antigen (aspergillus mold for example) and spend most of the morning working on getting my neutralizing end point only to not find it and end  up having to go home only partially testing a single antigen.  My therapist worked with me over and over to try to make a weekly list of things I “would like” to test and then just randomly pick them once I was in the testing room in an effort to release me from the panic when I would get home and be so angry that I didn’t finish everything on my list.

I am better at list making than I was but I still tend to overload the list and set myself up for failure.  I can’t totally get rid of my list.  Today’s list for example is:

Laundry (two loads at least)

Folding Clothes (laundry above will add to what I already have to do)

Phone meeting on information from the publishing company. (Only because she didn’t call me)

Balance CheckbookTag Blanket

Tag Blanket

Work on blog post (this may be done soon)

Ironing (huge pile there)

Start sewing on quilts for children’s hospital (haven’t sewn any in a while) (I ended up sewing a simple tag blanket.   I had some remnants of fleece and scraps of ribbon and rick rack.  The picture is shown above.)

Pay Bills

Set up online bill pay

Try a new gluten-free recipe

Clean one pantry cabinet

Work on taxes for 2012

While this list doesn’t seem HUGE, I am not going to get everything done.  I am tired and invariably something will come up that will change my day and force more things on my list to not get crossed off.  Sometimes in an effort to trick myself, I add things on my list that are easy to cross off or if I end up doing something else, I add it to my list just so I can cross something off (take out trash, make bed, etc.).  It always looks better when something is crossed off and you can feel a sense of accomplishment at seeing that line scratched through a list item.

How many of you are one of “those people”, the list makers?  I would love to hear from you.  How do you make your lists?  Do you prioritize items on the list or just plunge in and do what you feel like doing first?  Do you, like me, add things you have done that weren’t on the list just so you can have something to scratch off?  Are you lists primarily for work tasks or do you throw in household chores?  Do you use one of those pretty “To Do Today” tablets?  Please let me know.

It will soon be time to start dinner.  Too late to start working on taxes, clean a pantry cabinet or try out a new recipe.  By this time of the day, I am done!  I will be back later to comment on the comments to this post.  I guess these items will be added to tomorrow’s list and I will once again try to get them done.

Housing Rental/Buying a Home for the Chemically Sensitive

I just read a blog by Anaphylaxing on Housing Rental for the Chemically Sensitive. In her post (http://mastcellactivation.blogspot.com/2013/01/house-rental-for-chemically-sensitive.html?showComment=1357836487912#c5550117704868306674) she lists 14 points that must be met when renting a home to be safe for her. I find that the same points also apply when looking to buy a home.

My husband built my safe home in 2003 while I spent most of that year in Dallas at the Environmental Health Center-Dallas. My medical bills were racking up pretty quickly and I was in a fight for my life and a fight with workers’ compensation. The only option we had was to build on a lot that we had purchased many years before. I am doing great in my home but this isn’t the place where I want to be forever. The neighborhood is not the greatest and seems to be deteriorating some. I miss my old house with its 2500 square feet of spaciousness and the acre and a half lot it was on.

We have talked a lot about buying a home somewhere else and renovating it to fit my needs. The first house I was going to actively look at was a disaster. We me the realtor on the yard in front of the porch. I told her that if I detected anything when the door was opened, we wouldn’t be interested. She opened the door and I immediately got hoarse, had chest pain and got that tremor feeling I get with mold. I told her there was mold in there and my husband wouldn’t be going in either. She said well there is a smell but I am not sure what it is. My husband replied that if I said there was mold, there was mold. She then asked a realtor that had just been in the house who said there was a little in the master bathroom at the back of the house. As any of you know who have been around mold or know about mold, it would take more than a little in the master bathroom at the far end of the house for me to have a reaction when the front door opened.

My husband and I tried again recently. As soon as we got to the front door the odor of candles and air fresheners hit me like a ton of bricks and I began coughing up a lung. I let him quickly walk in but told him that again the house would have to be gutted to make it safe for me (new sheet rock, carpet removed, tile/grout replaced and the hvac ducting at the very least would have to be replaced. The housing market has started climbing here again and the chances of getting a house priced so that we could afford to almost gut it is very unlikely. Our only real chance to get to a different area would be to buy acreage and build again. This is something my husband does not want to do and something I don’t want him to have to do although starting from scratch is easier than removing and replacing.

It looks like I am not going anywhere anytime soon.

Worker’s comp wants me to see a psychiatrist.

Oh does this ring a big bell with me!  (This was another search that directed someone to my blog.)

I first met with my attorney in January of 2002.  After talking with him for some time he agreed to take my case and scheduled me to come back the next week to begin working on my case.  When I returned the next week I brought my mountains of paperwork, lab tests, doctors reports, etc.  Slowly we began to sort my papers out and schedule several more appointments to continue the task.  As we were ending  one of these appointments my attorney began discussing doctors that I would need to see.  He wanted to send me to a toxicologist and he said that I needed to see a psychiatrist.  I must have had a surprised look on my face.  After all, didn’t he agree to take my case?  Didn’t he believe that I was truly sick?  Why was he sending me to a psychiatrist?

My attorney informed me that this was standard procedure because my employer and their defense team would undoubtedly send me to a psychiatrist so we needed to have one as well.  The plan was to send me within the next few months.  As it turned out, I had to leave almost immediately for my first of three visits to the Environmental Health Center-Dallas before we made it to trial.  I was gone for three months and when I returned the defense had already scheduled me to see their psychiatrist.

I made the hour long drive to his office and was allowed to take the written test outside in my car.  When I finished I took the papers back in and was ushered into his office for the rest of the exam.  He began asking me questions, then his phone rang and he stopped me cold to take the call.  We started again and before long his office phone rang again and he stopped to answer the call.  I was told that he had a client that was in distress and he had to be available to speak with him/her.  I felt so put off because not only was this office not making me feel well and I still had an hour long drive home but his questions and my subsequent answers were continually interrupted by the phone.  Finally the appointment ended and I drove home.  The next day I followed up with my attorney about the appointment and how it had gone.

It was a year later before I managed to attend the psychiatrist for our side.  My girlfriend drove me to my first appointment which was about an hour and half away.  Once again I had to take all these written tests before speaking with the doctor.  I could tell that he had some understanding of what I was going through and my chemical and mold issues.  He even told me that hearing my story was making him anxious.  I had two more appointments with him before my trial.

The second trip was about the same distance but in a different town.  I decided that I wanted to drive myself to get over my fear of going to that city.  A few years earlier I had driven my daughter to the same area and gotten lost making a 2 1/2 hour drive home a four hour drive.  I was determined to overcome the fear of driving there.  During the second visit I became very distraught and started crying uncontrollably when talking about my children and what life was like with them before my injury and what it was like then because I couldn’t go or do anything with them.  The dear doctor asked me if I wanted to just go outside and walk around for a bit and then finish the appointment.  My daughter took a train ride into the town to see me and make sure I was alright to drive myself home.

My final trip was back to the first office I had seen my psychiatrist in.  My husband drove me there and decided to look around town while I was in with the doctor.  We only had one cell phone so I made sure he had it if I should need to reach him.  Again I had to take the written exams.  My health and emotional state had become worse since my last visit with him (two surgeries and a major medication reaction) so he wanted to compare test results.  I took the test and was almost finished when he called me in to meet with him.  He took my blood pressure and it was elevated.  I was having tremors, my voice was now crackly and I had begun coughing.  He asked if he was making me ill and I told him I didn’t know.  He took me back to the first room and rummaged through my bag for my inhaler.  Someone was ordered to call my husband and to sit with me until he arrived.

The result of all my psychiatric visits with our psychiatrist was that I was 90% disabled based on psychiatric testing.  I was a mess.  I was so depressed and just didn’t care what happened to me.

The point I am making is that the last thing an employer wants to do is pay workers’ compensation.  If there is a chance you have a psychiatric disorder or are a malingerer (someone who feins illness to avoid work), they might avoid paying or going to court.  So don’t be surprised if you are asked to see one.  Make sure that you have a good attorney who also has a good psychiatrist in his arsenal.