After unsuccessfully mediating the lawsuit on my back injury (herniated L4-5, microdiskectomy, subsequent L4-5 fusion, failed back syndrome, nerve damage, piriformis syndrome, chronic pain and left leg weakness), the other side wants to send me for a Functional Capacity Exam. I've researched this, and know that varying forms can be grueling. What should I do to prepare myself for this test? What should I expect? Their big hangup on the case is that they say I should be able to work, but my doctors (and I, and Social Security) say I can't. We can't introduce SSD into the case (court provisions will allow them to object to its introduction), so I don't have that in my favor. I just completed a re-eval by SSD, and based on that , they decided to continue my SSD. I would rather get the case settled than to go my scheduled court date of Fall 2007, so I'm submitting myself to this exam. I'm concerned that this examination will hurt, and since I'm already in chronic pain, will definitely set me back. Any hints or tips would be appreciated. Thanks so much. here because I can't bounce anymore myself!
What does is your attorney saying regarding the Exam? I would ask exactly what they will be doing for this exam to come to their hypothesis about your abilities or lack thereof?
If it's a medical doctor, I would want his/her bio and credentials and ask to know exactly what they have planned to test and how. If not, I would object to the exam unless it's court ordered. They are just trying to prepare for their defense.
If the testing is just to ask you questions, there is no harm in that, and you have yourself, your attorney, and your doctor all iterating the same thing. You are not able to function.
It is very reasonable to assume that if you could work you would. Most productive members of society do not want to sit on their butts and collect what little disability offers. We would all rather be out there working and earning the real dough.
It's typical of defense to do what they are doing. Sorry, did I mention I am a paralegal? Not a lawyer and much I dont know, but I understand the process pretty well.
If the test is court ordered or not.. you can always do the test and anything that looks like it is going to be harmful to you, object and say NO. or NO, I can not do that. That is part of what they are doing, trying to see what you can and cannot do. So show them, tell them no.. you can't do this and can't do that either.
And while they can object to SSD findings being introd.. the obvious is stated that you are still getting bennys from them. So I dont think that is a big issue for you.
Tammy - thanks for the info. Interestingly, I used to be a paralegal, too, so I kind of know what's going on (although it sure doesn't make you more patient). The test isn't court ordered at this time, although my attorney said their petition would probably be granted. The only thing contested at mediation was my future wages, which are substantial. My attorney's thinking is that if we acquiesce to this examination, and it goes the way we think it will go, then they will go ahead and settle. We're going to get the credentials on the testing facility as well as the doctors involved. I'm not going to refuse to do any tests, but I will definitely let them know what causes me pain or worsens my pain. As you said, all I can be is honest. My dad always used to say 'the truth will out', which was his way of saying tell the truth, you can't keep a lie up forever. He was right. I've been totally honest in all this - eventually it will all work out. Thanks again, and I'll keep you posted. Mary
I was schduled today for the Functional Capacity Evaluation next Tuesday. My attorney says it helps our case to have the Functional Capacity Evaluation done. I am not looking forward to it since alot of things cause me pain. But I can not wait until it is over, if that makes sense. I would appreciate any input on what to expect. I know everyone is different but I would like to know what hurt bad and what didn't.
Hi Mary! It sounds like you're prepared and I would also agree that the tests will only solidify your position and they will settle after. Sorry that you have to go thru it though, but if it's going to seal your deal.. it's worth it.
Let me know what happens and I wish you the best! Hope you are feeling better with each day. Tammy
Not on the boards much now days, but saw your post. Wish you well and hope this will allow you a successful resolution without having to wait on a court date. I truly cannot offer anything outstanding as far as guirdance. I agree with the others to let them know when anything if painful, and do not hold back on any of it. If it means that you cry from the or collapse to the floor if the pain is severe enough, then don't be the tough gal and just grimice and hold in a yell. That won't help you like letting them know just how much pain you're in. If it hurts at massive level to begin picking up your leg, don't push beyond the height that you can stand; let them know you cannot tollerate more pain and that you are suffering.
As a paralegal, you know how to express yourself, and apply your logic, common sense and knowledge of the legal system and do NOT agree to attempting things that may do you further harm and suffering. Try what you can, letting them know that you are willing to attempt whatever moves, squats, etc and are not faking it, because your yells with increased pain will be real. Don't forget also that your doc thought the chronic pain has caused you to suffer FM, and that you have already suffered 3 years or whatever it has been, that you have been willing to try various treatments including medications like Neurontin that has caused other very ill side effects for you.
Keep good notes, and be sure to write an extensive note as soon as you get home, about the exam and everything that was said that you can recall (yourself included). You know that they will not be expecting that to surface later, and what may seem benign that day, could help you later to get that resolution.
Hope things go well for you, even though that may not necessarily mean a pain free exam. Do let us know how things go.
Haven't been around much as having to deal with the ill side effects of neurontin on my mother. First week was bad, but improved on day 6 when she had some relief of the pain and stopped being quite so confused. When the dose was increased it turned her into a zombie with alzheimers, as she doesn't even know who I am, can't swallow unless I tell her to and goes from someone who cannot move to jerking arms and legs with hard falls if she is even sitting up. That was day 3 of the effects getting worse when I stopped the medication. Now without any sleep for me the last 72 hrs, and no neurontin for 48 hours, I am watching hour by hour for any slight improvement. Until improvement, won't get a chance to check the board unless she is soundly sleeping, like now with a friend stopping by to help me.
Rustygurl...Hi....I will offer you a suggestion on the FCE. When you go for it, do not take anything for pain before hand. They base your tolerance on your pain level which will show up on your blood pressure monitor. If you take something for pain beforehand, then your pain level will not reach it's peak and therefore not show a accurate reading on your blood pressure. I know that things are a pain in the rear sometimes, but truely it would be best to go ahead with the FCE so that everyone knows what your limitations are. Also, don't limit yourself on the activities you do....they are supposed to stop you if your blood pressure goes up because of the pain. I had to go through 4 FCE's and on each of them my evaluations were all the same as far as where they had to stop me because the pain was getting too high. Good Luck and remember to smile!!!
Thanks Tammys. I figured I shouldn't take my pain medication. However, I take high blood pressure medication, so I'm concerned that that will mask any blood pressure increase. I don't not want to take the bp meds, so I don't know what to do at this point. I'm not worried about them thinking I'm faking it. The pain in my low back, hip and thigh is constant, made worse by activity (i.e., I walked 30 minutes on my treadmill yesterday and couldn't hardly sleep last night for the pain, waking up numerous times and finally getting up to take pain meds). I'm definitely going to go ahead with the test, as my attorney feels it's the best chance we have for settling. I'm worried not only about the test, but about how I'll feel afterward (although nothing could be as bad as a discogram! ). Thanks again - Mary
Quietcook - thanks for the encouraging words. I'm sorry to hear about your Mom. I had much the same scenario with my mother (although this was back in the 80s). She was on so many different meds that they counteracted each other and added so many side effects. I finally purchased Joel Graedon's 'The People's Pharmacy' - a book that tells all about drug/food and drug/drug interactions. He's a pharmacologist, and it's so easy to look up drugs and find out what and what not to do. We found out that 2 of my Mom's meds were actually counteracting each other, and causing major side effects to boot. So, we took her off the 2 meds, her poor little body settled down, and no more side effects! Neurontin is such a wicked drug to take - if you're older I can't imagine how it would make you feel. Hell, I was 46 and it almost took me down. Take care (especially of yourself), and I'll keep you posted. Thanks again - Mary
I'm new to the Board and I came across your Thread. I had a FCE done last May and I have another one in June 06. I knew nothing of this test so I was surprised when I was told a lady would come to my home to perform various tests. She came with alot of equipment. I was VERY surprised when I saw her setting up a video camera! Before I started the test. I called my atty. to see if it was legal for them to video tape me. My atty. gave the OK and I did what I could. She asked questions, how I was injured,what things bothered me ie. sitting, standing, walking. bending.
Some of the tests included, putting pegs in a board while standing, typing while sitting, crawling on the floor, lifting one leg and see how long I could stand without losing my balance. At different times my BP was taken.
My best advice to you is if you can't perform an exercise. Just tell the person it hurts and do whatever you can do. They watch every MOVE you make. Whether it's how long you are sitting, when you stand to walk and get a drink. If your walking fast or slow. They observe every movement.
Good Luck! I hope all goes well for you!