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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Sample Before & After Matrix (Multiple Sclerosis)


The following matrix describes a “typical” day/week in the life of Your Name before the multiple symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, and at this point of time: Date of Completion. This matrix will be (and has been) updated as needed. The last update was (whenever. Use this statement only when this is a follow-up document.)

As of Date, I have changed my living arrangements. I purchased a home with my son and daughter-in-law. The home has a separate “mother-in-law” apartment. This arrangement allows me greater assistance in my day-to-day living, as indicated below.


1996 until 4-13-00
(Similar work times 1990-1996)
Daily Activities as of
Date of Completion
Monday through
Friday, daily
Ø Arise 6:00 am
Ø Leave for work 6:45 am
Ø Work from about 7:15 am until about 6:00 pm, straight through. Meals taken at desk or in a meeting.
Ø During the evening on work days, there always seemed to be an “event” of some sort. Keeping up with the kids; teaching at the Shipyard from 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm three nights a week for a 10-week session, 5 times; teaching at Portland State once or twice a quarter; professional meetings; Church-related meetings (Small Group Ministry; etc.). If no event, time on the computer/Internet, or catching up on reading for work.
Ø Sleep at about 10:00pm.
Ø Arise between 11:00am and 1:00pm.
Ø Prepare and eat a meal. Take medications; and perform stretch exercises. Every other day, take a shower in a specially equipped shower with a stool; safety bars; water direction assistance, etc. Taking a shower and recovering from same can take up to one and one-half hours.
Ø Nap between 4:00pm and 6:00pm.
Ø I lost the ability to drive effective September 1, 2002. My PCP (Primary Care Physician), Dr. ZZZZ and I decided that, because of the numbness of both of my legs, coupled with my increasing visual problems, it was no longer safe for me to drive.
Ø Evenings: reading, music, watching TV, and checking the Internet for information that could assist in my areas of interest.
Ø Between Midnight and about 2:00am I can be on the Internet, answering questions for others with disabilities on a volunteer basis. Typing takes much longer, now, as sometimes the wrong key is hit (i.e., when I want the e, the o comes; the p becomes a w; etc.)
Ø 2-3 hours per day devoted to “daily normal living” activities. These have been adequately discussed in the companion document entitled "Company LTD Claimant Questionnaire; Completion Date”.
Ø Paying bills is a big chore, as it taxes my cognitive and memory skills. Changing the sheets on the bed can take hours, as the activity can be accomplished in only 10 minute intervals.
Ø I begin to try and sleep between 2:00am and 5:00am. I toss and turn until muscles relax. The medication taken helps somewhat, but it still takes about 2 hours to be able to go to sleep.
Ø Sleep is interrupted each night about 4-5 times to go to the bathroom, and to get a sip of water because of the “choking” problems associated with what I now know is “mild Dysphagia”.
Ø As I now live in a daylight basement, the temperature can be regulated to keep cool. The new home has central air. This change will greatly assist in coping with heat in the summers.
Ø My feet are continually freezing; I can be in short sleeves and shorts, and have to wear socks!
Ø As my right leg is becoming as numb as the left, I am careful, and use my two forearm crutches when walking.

Ø 4-6 hours of office work, either at the office, or at home.
Ø Socialize at least one night each weekend. This could be just with friends; with a Church social group (i.e., Presbyterian Mariner’s group); a movie, something.
Ø Church each Sunday morning.
Ø Part of each weekend shopping at one or more of the malls. I loved just walking in the mall, browsing, going to the music and bookstores, looking at people. Didn’t need to acquire anything, just looking.
Ø Grocery shopping.
Ø Cleaning home (two stories). During this timeframe, I also refurbished the entire house.
Ø I attempt to keep the volunteer and/or mentoring to only 4 days per week, late at night.
Ø Saturday and Sunday mornings are just the same as week-days.
Ø It takes the entire weekend to do laundry and cleaning, in 10 minute intervals.
Ø I’ve changed my habits to ordering books, music, and clothes over the TV and the Internet (
Ø I have learned how to get groceries over the Internet. Safeway delivers to the home. Sunday night appears to be the best time to order.
Ø To ensure I do not fall, I sit in the shower, and have someone else do my toenails (the toes are so numb, the feet need care). (See the LTD Questionnaire for more information.)

Now that I am living with the kids, it will be easier to ensure that there is food in the house, and that the bills are paid. Also, I will be able to ensure that my medications are always available. This is a very important development in my life. For a week, I was not able to obtain my medications. It was quite a shock! I have learned to “manage” my symptoms to allow me to live as great a life as I can. However, without my medications, I felt that I had the worst case of influenza that I ever had! I ached in every muscle, including my earlobes; coupled with this, severe arthritis in every muscle and joint! For example, my hands cramped so badly, that I could not grip anything, and could not type on the computer, hold a toothbrush, or dial a phone. NEVER WANT TO EXPERIENCE THIS AGAIN!

Typical “Job” Duties
Ø In the late 1980’s, I was the VP-HR for the Pacific Northwest’s largest Savings and Loan.
Ø From there I went to a large Manufacturing company, as a Plant HR Director, and a corporate Benefits Director.
Ø My next job, in the mid-‘90’s was as VP-HR for an investment company.
Ø From 1994 - early 1996 I was a Senior Consultant with a Human Resources consulting company. One of my clients was 1234 Company, the Portland Shipyard (a privately owned, 100 million $/year company). I worked at the Shipyard from July 1996 until I joined Cascade as VP-HR in May of 1997. I retained that position until I went on LTD 4-13-00.
Ø As a “Type A” personality, my jobs always have required 55-60 hours of work per week. This time commitment increased at the Shipyard. We have anywhere from 500-2,500 employees at any one time, and from one day to the next. We have 11 unions. I supervised up to 25 employees, and started the first Human Resources Department that the Shipyard had ever had, in over 100 years of operations!
Ø I was responsible for, and/or did all the work for Employee Relations; Labor Relations; compensation; benefits; Workers Compensation (averaging 300-400 incidents per year). We had a Training Center, on site that was my responsibility. I also personally handled all of the Employment litigation. This meant representing Cascade in court and other legal/labor proceedings.
Ø Each day was crammed full of meetings, crises, activities, etc.
Ø The job required extensive patience, experience, maturity, tact, expertise, and the ability to remain calm in the middle of multiple crises.
Ø The day I knew that I had to cut back will remain always in my mind: I had a Craft Manager and his Union Business Agent and Shop Steward in my office, very agitated; I had the Safety Director and an employee out in the hallway; I had the Executive VP for Production on my cell phone; and I had the Owner on my land line (phone). All were talking (yelling) at me at once. Now, this was typical, but for the first time I froze; I could not multi-task effectively to provide the customer service to all of these clients in the manner that they deserved. My vision left (big black holes in my right eye; “heat waves” in my left – Optic Neuritis); my MS had reached the stage that I was too tired and too befuddled to effectively manage the work. I set in motion the process to lead to LTD.

Ø The computer work is great, as I can work for 15-30 minutes, take a break, read some, and get back to it – correcting all of my typing errors! Also, I have a large computer screen to assist in the visual problems. I find that by changing my “up close” reading/typing with my watching TV or looking out my back yard window at the garden helps with the vision.
Ø I do Internet searches for information.
Ø The Volunteer work falls into the following categories:
1. MS Chapter Committees. I am on the Government Relations and the Employment Committees of the Portland, OR MS Chapter. This work requires occasional meetings (I participate via a telephone conference call now, without a car); reading and responding to emails; keeping up to date, primarily through the Internet, about what’s going on in the employment world.
2. Volunteer “Expert” on disability and other related issues. I am a volunteer expert; I receive about 2 or so questions every week. Most of the time they can be easily answered. Some, like the one I am working on now, require research and 2 or three times to respond. To date, I have assisted up to 98 folks.
3. Because of my helping others, and because I have been on Avonex (weekly IM [inter-muscular] injections) for 4 years, I have been interviewed for an article in the Spring 2003 edition of the BIOGEN magazine entitled “The Avonex Alliance”. In this article, I have been interviewed as a Mentor; I recommend that others use matrixes like this to assist their doctors in their care.
4. My long term goal is to work with Insurance companies to change the nature of STD and LTD plans to provide company discounts to companies who hire the disabled and the retired; to work with all disability organizations to form a coalition and work together for their constituents, and not to compete with each other for funds; to get the local, state and federal governments to offer tax breaks to companies to hire the disabled and the retired; and, to allow the disabled and the retired to work longer and continue to feel valued in whatever they do.
5. As the honorary “Executive Vice President” for A Company., I have the opportunity to add value to work as a “mentor”; as an experienced person who has “been there, done that”. Often, I can assist Executives and Managers over the phone with employee relations issues. I have no financial interest in the company; I do, however, receive satisfaction in that I am still a contributing adult, and not just an “ill person”!

In general, I’m listening to my body, and trying to do what is right for me. I have enclosed the last two physical “updates” that I provide to my Doctors with each visit.

The other significant change is that I was granted SSDI coverage, as you know. This was a significant success, in that I have been told that I am still the only person in the my area who was granted coverage the first time, in under 30 days! The 2001 issue of this matrix, along with other documents were of significant value in obtaining this coverage.


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