How navigating through California’s public healthcare system had me so stressed out. Here is what I know. (Part 1)

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to Afterthoughts, for westcoastmeshfighter.  My name is Michelle and I struggle everyday living with a Transvaginal Mesh Implant.  I apologize for the delay in my posts, the last couple of weeks have been a bit chaotic.  I do have a lot of updates and possible answers to questions regarding the public healthcare here in California and how if you don’t know what to do, this post can help eliminate stress and anxiety associated with having a chronic condition/illness.

(  The new Whistleblowers handbook

My Medical Journey of living with a Transvaginal Mesh Implant

No matter what, what you were doing before the mesh implant, It’s probably very different than how you are doing now, if you suffered serious and chronic conditions/illness/pain.  For me, this mesh implant changed everything about my life. A year and a half after my initial surgery, my life changed forever and although I can’t ever work again, now I am learning what it is to not have options like I did with private insurance and doctors.  I was in for such a disappointment and going through this was so stressful.  Going through my healthcare options have not been easy for me.

Having to deal with the actual side effects were even worse because I was still trying to work and deal with this at the same time.  I wanted to break it down so if you are just getting started, this blog post may help you through the process.

I was working full time as a Recovery Specialist for one of the top collections agencies that was contracted with the United States Department of Treasury, Federal Government.  I started working there in 2005 in their student loan division and worked my way up the corporate ladder to a unique department for collections.  Just as I started to get familiar with my new job role at work, then the nightmare began.



One thing I learned right away, still too stubborn to accept, is that when I developed a lifetime disability, I got treated differently, like a failure, like a nothing.  I committed myself to my lifestyle, Career, Wife, and Mother.  I had a very successful life.  I had a house, nice rental, a car worked to finance myself, and money to give my kids a regular middle class life.  My employer, (which I can’t name), more specifically, my Division Manager/ and Team Managers, at the time, started the harassment process.  Since working there I have been a subject of certain harassments since I started working there, it just never stopped, and continued to get worse.  I went to work with the idea they could fire me that day without cause, due to the at will laws in California.  Trust me, they made sure we knew it daily, weekly, monthly.  Stress was very familiar to me, but when I started to have complications medically, their support changes to, how can I get rid of them asap, and I will explain why.

When companies become power hungry, (like the one I worked for) the employees really take the heat because we are the collectors, it’s our job to hit our numbers, so the Team managers can hit their numbers, then onto division managers so they can hit their numbers and then onto our location being number 1.  It’s really an eye opener when you look it this way.  My job as a Recovery Specialist was really stressful already then dealing with medical complications just made things worse for me.

It was my job to collect a quota every month, and even though I was hitting my numbers, my then division manager focused in my comings and goings to the restroom, breaks, and even lunch time, called me into his office and put in me all the times I had to go to the bathroom, and told me they don’t retain part time employee’s and tried to get me to sign it and admit that, however I didn’t sign it and I was so nervous because this was my bread and butter for my family.  I told him that I had filed FMLA paperwork with Human Resources (which he knew about it) and I said to contact them regarding my restroom trips.  Within a month, I was demoted and sent back to another division, the lowest pay scale in the company, I was being sabotaged and harassed because of my disability and I had my Hippa rights violated. 

They didn’t just demote me, they destroyed me at work, I was placed in the lowest possible pay scale that I could get, which put me in the negative financially.   I had asked to go back to the job I had before they promoted me, I was ignored, even though I was really good at that job, I could have retained my job and somewhat of my pay.  Then the harassment continued, I knew there wasn’t anything my new Team Manager or Division Manager could do, My Team Manager was really great, I had worked with him before, that wasn’t the issue.  The Division Manager was Brand New and just promoted.  I knew She wouldn’t do anything to help me, so I tried to focus on my daily tasks in my job.  I excelled exceptionally, even with my disabilities, however financially I couldn’t recover the money and maintain a life for my family at the same time.

I went from making close to $1500 a month on bonus to maybe $150 a month and because of some legal loophole within the company, I now somehow owed them money, through a system they called draw.  So any bonus I would have made, the company took it.  I went from making close to $2000-$2500 to let than a $1000 and they were taking my bonus money.  (how can all of this be legal), it’s still a question to me.  This was just a small piece to this complicated puzzle.  I was even told by a team manager that I had to put a sticky note on my desk for every time I had been going to the restroom.  Tried to say, if there is a fire or something wrong, they need to know where I was, even though they knew, it’s little things like that daily I had to carry on my shoulders.

Can you believe that I followed the rules and I actually submitted my paperwork with Human Resources from the start and still I was being harassed.  The stress became so much that I wasn’t concentrating anymore, I was making simple little mistakes in my scripts and also they were changing the company system completely and I didn’t understand most of it.  I went to my doctor and asked to be taken off work and my doctor did, I was in and out of the hospital so much, I didn’t know much of anything at the time about my conditions and it was like the last 8 years with the company, didn’t mean anything at all.

From 2011 to 2013 was some of the worst days at my employer.  I was so stressed out from my medical conditions and work, that it started to affect my life at home.  I don’t want to dwell on this part because the guy was a jerk anyways, I was in a previous relationship at this time and after 3 years, he confessed he was lying to me about our entire relationship and about 8 months before my departure from my employer that we split.  We had created a life together with close to a $6000 a month figure to less than $1000 a month, by the time I left my company.

At this point, I am dealing with my conditions, significantly a loss of income, and now because of Ca state laws, I was losing job and my medical insurance too….FMLA and Medically leave run concurrently together.

From the time I started to have more complications to that point, most of my FMLA and Medically leave was used and I was left with 3 months and I was at the beginning of my complications.  I know the new Human Resource did everything she could to try and help me keep my job.  She was from corporate, and came in to help clean up the mess that was going on at my job site with internal scandals and etc…

There were so many instances of harassment against me, I couldn’t see straight.  I couldn’t believe that after 8 years with the company, being at one point, ranked one of the best collectors, that my employer could do this to me.  They did and because I was basically pushed out of my company and I was forced to get public health insurance.

(footnote)  For most of my career I had BCBS (Blue cross/Blue shield hmo).  In 2012 my company changed our health insurance due to high costs and Kaiser HMO was offered.  Aside of PPO’s with BSBC, there was no way I could afford the deductible and 20% of costs, that I choose the HMO with Kaiser.  (I had me and my 3 kids on my insurance so that would have been $2000 up front for cost to keep my doctors for me and my kids), there was no way so I had to change it….

due to the length of this blog post.. please see part 2 to see what happens to me next….

Thank you all for your support… M. Hedgcoth, westcoastmeshfighter




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