My story starts when my world turned upside down after a significant head injury at work. I immediately had vision problems. A week later I got vertigo and was left with constant dizziness. I couldn't move my head and felt nauseated all the time. I couldn't walk in a straight line, noise and movement made me worse and I was in a complete fog. I also had severe tinnitus and face pain.
Since my injury happened at work, I had to go to a head-injury clinic funded by Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB). The occupational therapist assigned to me there wrote reports about me based on assumptions not on assessments. The reports included wording that suggested I was exaggerating my poor balance and that my symptoms could be caused by malingering. One report also said that the therapist strongly did not suspect a vestibular problem. When I questioned the treatment I had received, I was kicked out of the clinic’s head-injury programme and WCB denied my claim.
Fortunately, at a hospital-based testing clinic, I was eventually diagnosed with bilateral vestibular hypofunction, severe tinnitus and hyperacusis, convergence insufficiency, temporo-mandibular joint syndrome (TMJ) and post-concussion, as well as other injuries.
The stress from dealing with the initial reports and all the ensuing WCB appeals almost did me in. It took years to get accurate diagnoses and help. But, in the end, I won all appeals, the therapist received disciplinary action from their licensing college and I received 100% disability from WCB.
Based on my initial bad experience, I suggest that if you go for vestibular therapy (especially if it’s a funded WCB clinic), make sure you get an hour of vestibular therapy with assessments during each visit and read your reports before they’re sent to any insurance company.
And never, ever get intimidated about complaining. The various licensing colleges are there to protect the public. Documenting everything will only help your case. Complaints about a practitioner are filed with the licensing college for life. Should the same practitioner get another complaint, the college will investigate and also consider your complaint in making future decisions.
My advice is to hang in there, get a proper assessment from a hospital-based testing clinic and be proactive in your own healthcare. A successful insurance claim could depend on it! – Name Withheld to Protect the Identity of the Writer
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