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Read this personal account of my struggle for survival after the electrocution that took place at work in 2002.


Submitted:Nov 12, 2013    Reads: 8    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


Could you be my hero or heroine? I am all alone and I feel so lost right now. Would YOU be the one to tell my story to the world? Perhaps you will write for me and publish your words online or in newspapers.

I worked hard for thirty years to build a life for myself. After running three thousand miles to escape an abusive relationship with a woman who had sabbotaged everything I tried to build, and drove me to bankruptsy, I returned to Maryland. I got a rewarding job, and purchased a modest single family home that I renovated.

But My life took a tragic turn after I was electrocuted while working one night in September, 2002. I was inspecting the repairs that a contractor was performing to leaks in the concrete tunnel wall. The crew was using electric power tools that tripped the circuit breaker. The supervisor for the repair crew asked me if I would reset the breaker for them.

Being close to the circuit breaker, I told them "sure" and climbed up, stood uopn the metal railing that rain along the lenth of the elevated safetywalk. I reached up and grabbed the handle. Two hundred and twenty volts of alternating current entered my right hand, ran through my body and out through both of my feet into the metal railing.

Fortunately, after losing my balance, gravity pulled me away from the electricity and down onto the tracks. The third rail was not a threat because I made sure that the power was cut before each shift of repairwork, and was not turned back on until I turned over the "red tag". But the damage had been done.

I did not realize the seriousness of my injury initially. The middle toe on each foot was singed, and my toes were numb. But other than skinned knees, I assumed that I was OK, and grateful to be alive. Unfortunately, pain developed in the sole of each foot where the electricity had exited my body back into the steel. When the discomfort began to interfere with my sleeping, I visited a doctor. I told him that demerol and oxycodone had been effective analgesics for dental work I had previously experienced.

The doctor prescribed aleve. I took the pills. They had NO effect on my discomfort level. I tried other doctors. Meanwhile, I began purchasing morphine and tylox every month from a friend who had a prescription. I had the sensation of standing in burning oil while being stung by a thousand bees when I was not medicated. The morphine made it possible for me to continue working. I had no idea at the time that there was a two year statute of limitations for suing an employer for injury that occurs while working.

I could have continued to work while self medicating indefinately i imagine, but unfortunately my friend was ordered to take a urine test. He had not thought about holding back a few pills to take each month a day or two before the appointment with his physician. When his test results came back negative for opiates, he was discharged from treatment and his insurance company billed him for the entire amount that they had covered.

So I made the very unfortunate decision to use heroin. Of course heroin is a very effective analgesic but if I missed a dose or came up short on money, I experienced withdrawl symptoms. Junkies like myself refered to this as being "dopesick". Any pill containing opiates can cause withdrawl if the dose is stopped suddenly. But if the dose is gradually reduced, one can wean himself off the medication gradually as long as he doesnt suddenly run out of pills. It is not possible to wean one's self off heroin without several days of discomfort. I detoxed several times using methadone or suboxone. After five tries, I moved away from Baltimore and managed to stay clean for a while.

But while still in the grasp of heroin addiction, I continued to seek other treatment. One physician prescribed neurontin. This did nothing except to give me a stomach ache. But then he prescribe a new medication called "Lyrica" in 2005 and I finally experienced a degree of relief from my pain which was constant except for when I was strung out on heroin. The doctor instructed for me to gradually increase the Lyrica dose (titration).

In November, 2006 I was forced to resign from work because my feet hurt too much for me to get out of bed. I was still using heroin, and could not afford to pay any of my bills. I could not even scrape together enough money to get my fix on. So I lay flat on my back shivering. I had diareah and I was vomiting, because I had developed a rather substantial habit. My next door neighbor noticed that I had lost a lot of weight rapidly (80 pounds in six months). He came over and demanded to know what was going on. I confessed that I had become addicted to heroin.

He made me call my sister, and he spoke to her describing my plight. So After detoxing for the fifth time, I was sent to rehab for five days. I lost my home to foreclosure. I applied for social security disability but after my claim was repeatedly declined, I hired an attorney and was awarded a small monthly benefit. It is enough to pay the rent and utilities for a one bedroom apartment. I get into trouble every three months when my car insurance premiums come due. I have recently gotten myself into the position of owing a large sum of money to a car title lender (The lender has the car title until I pay the entire balance due).

I depend upon the charity of others almost daily to help me survive. I have learned a hard lesson in humility as I panhandle for any small amount of change or more. I live alone. My best friend died in his sleep on September 11. He also suffered from chronic pain. He was only 52 years old. I have reached out to all of my remaining friends but they are all unable or unwilling to render any financial assistance.

I do not know you, but I hope that you call me or email me for an interview and write words for me that will shake the world, perhaps even inspire generosity. There is a hero, or maybe a heroine somewhere in this world that will read my storyand help me put together what is left of my life.

John

(240)676-3567

PO Box 956

Shepherdstown, WV

25443





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