Though humans may be considered Earth’s dominant species, this story of one of our former clients serves as a cautionary reminder of how fragile we all really are, and how something as unassuming as a tick bite can drastically change our life.
Mr. B was an FBI agent, who lived an active lifestyle. In addition to the physical requirements of his daily job duties, he was a runner, a weight lifter, and a martial arts instructor. For a particular job assignment, he spent a substantial amount of time outdoors, tracking a fugitive. He was required to travel to remote, densely wooded, tick-infested locations, and was not provided any special equipment or repellent for protection. After enduring several insect bites, he eventually purchased his own insect repellent.
After suffering from a severe rash, he went to a doctor, who prescribed topical ointments, which had little effect. Over the next couple of years, Mr. B began to have joint pain in his knees, and suffered from severe chest pain and fatigue during exercise, which was abnormal for his active lifestyle. Eventually, the fatigue progressed to impacting his day-to-day activities, and he began to use a significant amount of work leave. After seeing multiple doctors and enduring several medical tests, he was diagnosed with a viral infection and post-viral fatigue — in hindsight, a misdiagnosis.
Over the years he began to develop additional symptoms: severe headaches, cognitive dysfunction, low blood pressure, and a rapid, irregular heart rate. His health continued to deteriorate and his illness eventually caused him to be confined to his home, bed-ridden, and only leaving for occasional work assignments. He was eventually placed on Leave-Without-Pay status. It wasn’t until seven years after his initial struggle with the rash, that he was finally properly diagnosed with Lyme Disease, and Babesiosis — two tick-borne infections. It was only after his Lyme diagnosis, that Mr. B and his doctors appreciated the initial rash as the classic erythema migrans hallmark of Lyme infection.
After his correct Lyme diagnosis, and the obvious line of duty nature of his infection, Mr. B applied for OWCP federal workers’ compensation. His claim was accepted, however, due to the uncertainty of workers’ compensation, he eventually came to Harris Federal for help with filing for federal disability retirement, a comparatively more secure benefit. He was approved for federal disability retirement in September 2014.
Mr. B’s story serves as a reminder that we shouldn’t take our health for granted. We never know when illness may take a toll on our life and well being.
If you can no longer perform your required job assignments because of a medical condition, you may qualify for federal disability retirement. Call Harris Federal for a free consultation at (877) 226-2723 or fill out an INQUIRY FORM. We’ve helped thousands of federal workers apply for federal disability retirement, and we want to help in any way we can. Call us today!