Norma Jean M. from Springfield worked her entire adult life for an international business known for manufacturing fire protection and safety equipment, including automatic sprinklers. Small but feisty at 4’11”, she was conducting a product inventory. While lifting boxes above her head, she experienced severe pain in her lower back. Her claim was allowed for “acute left medial L5 disc protrusion with posterior and inferior slippage of L5 over S1 causing occlusion at the neurological openings at the L5-S1 junction; sprain and strain with myofascitis of the lumbar spine and depressive reaction.”
Previously an outgoing, cheerful woman, her injuries sent Norma Jean into an emotional tailspin. She became despondent and thought often about death. Her physical limitations greatly restricted the social interaction she and her husband long enjoyed through work, church, and their friends. She was unable to play with her grandchildren and felt worthless and hopeless.
Not only did she take pride in her work (which involved lifting more than 75 pounds frequently), her inability to continue doing so greatly impacted the household income. While obtaining permanent total disability benefits for her helped ease that burden, there are some situations where the pain and attendant depression will continue. Norma Jean has continued to work hard at accepting her physical limitations –and this has helped her depression level as well. Her husband of more than 50 years is her biggest encourager and he’s been by her side all along. Both of them are a great inspiration to many others.