One of the most delightful people we know is our client Gina Stelzer. She and her husband of 35 years, Joe, have been clients for years, and we are better people for knowing them!
An Ohio gal through and through, Gina was born in Lancaster and raised in Logan. After high school and college, these crazy kids moved to Delaware, Ohio, where Gina worked for the city schools for 16 years as a cook/cashier. This meant getting up at 5 a.m. and working seven hours a day to prepare meals for students and brighten their days with her smile and encouragement.
Adam Sandler years ago penned a fun song about lunch ladies, and I certainly remember going through the line thousands of times from elementary through high school. As anyone who cooks for a living or even for their own family knows, meal preparation takes planning and lots of activity. When cooking for hundreds of students, it’s also heavy work, involving lifting large kettles and boxes of canned goods. Gina, who looks up to our Wilma at 4 feet, 11 inches, had a left shoulder rotator cuff and biceps tear lifting a heavy box. Her surgery failed and she had a revision. This also failed. Eventually, she had a reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (replacement). Her opposite right shoulder had to bear the load for both sides, and ultimately, it became painful and weak. She developed another large cuff tear and had the same RTSA procedure on her right shoulder.
Even when labeled “successful,” these surgeries leave significant limitations. As an Industrial Commission orthopedist recently commented, Gina had only a moderate result from her surgeries (translation: a poor result). She has permanent severe limitations with both shoulders and arms. Her bones are tiny and fragile, and she is wisely and naturally cautious. The doctor, who spent many years doing defense exams, concluded this “very nice, polite, well-dressed, and cooperative” lady is incapable of work. The Industrial Commission agreed and placed her on permanent total disability.
The Client is Awarded Compensation in Workers Compensation Case
Having represented many folks whose injuries ultimately knocked them out of the workforce, I know it can be scary. Your body just doesn’t do what you want it to, and it’s against our nature to ask others for help. It’s hard on relationships, too. Gina is an inspiration to us as she continues the sometimes-daily effort to keep a smile on her face and a positive outlook. She is a bright light to those around her, and I am grateful we were able to perhaps ease some of the financial burden. We hope she and Joe will remain friends of ours for years to come!