Sunday, August 31, 2014

MY CAR ACCIDENT - PART SEVEN


My whole life had fallen to pieces. I was broken. My body, mind, and spirit: all broken. My family, my marriage, my home: all broken. They were like pieces of broken glass scattered on the floor of life. 

I used to be fearless, just plowing through life, doing what I had to do, not worrying about why things happened, just solving problems as they came, enjoying life and not worrying about it. And the abundance of energy and motivation that I had was phenomenal.

Now, all I do is worry and I feel like I can’t stop it. I am seven years older, but I feel like I’ve aged twenty years. My body feels like that of a ninety year old. I have aches and pains all over. I suffer with restless leg syndrome every night, I get less than four hours sleep per night, and I can’t stop worrying about the future. I used to color my hair for fun, now I have to do it to cover all the grey. My hair has thinned greatly from the stress. It is extremely difficult to lose weight, even though there are many foods that I simply cannot eat. I can’t drink coffee or eat chocolate. I know these things are bad, but everything in moderation. My ankle throbs when I’m on it for too long, I have sciatica, and I’m nauseous from the pain. I suffer from painful periods, migraines, and I am chronically depressed. And I don’t know why I can’t rise above it all. I used to be able to do that. I was so resilient. When something got me down, it would really get me down, but I always got back up, but this time, I just can’t seem to get back up. I can’t seem to “get my second wind.”  

When my son and I came back from our trip, the rest of the fall and winter were absolutely unbearable.  I felt like I was stuck in a nightmare, rewinding to that pivotal moment of absolute despair, just months prior. 

It wasn’t until Christmas that things started to change for the better. Tough decisions were made regarding all our lives. We almost didn’t make it. But, somewhere along the line, something gave. 

Around April the lawyer’s office called and said that the insurance company had made an offer, but it would never be enough to cover what I had lost, or even cover a few years of physiotherapy. He advised me to refuse the offer, which I did. 

Then I had to go to all these assessments, again, so that the lawyer for the insurance company could have an up-to-date report of my current condition. It was hell. I threw up the morning of the first one. All those buried memories just, all at once, came stampeding to the surface. 

I attended five assessments in six weeks. 

I just want to forget, but I’m like a fish in a fishbowl going over the same gravel, like that old Pink Floyd song. I’m tired. I have never been so tired in all my life. 


September 2013 - May 2014

MY CAR ACCIDENT - PART SIX

The car I had been driving died. A new car was bought. All debt was paid. 

My relationship with my partner seemed better, but I was just kidding myself. My relationship with my son was rock solid. I was still riddled with guilt, but we were good, we were closer than ever. 

I was still going to physio, dealing with my pain, and visiting my doctor on a regular basis. I was still hooked on pain killers. My stomach was raw from taking anti-inflammatory pills, and at the next visit to the doctor I mentioned how my stomach was burning. He asked me about my meds, but I didn’t tell him that I was taking anything other than what he prescribed. Nor did I mention that I had been going to the walk-in clinic to obtain what I could. 

He gave me some meds for the burning, but it didn’t help. My condition got worse and I finally realized that I had to stop what I was doing; I had to stop the pain killers. I was sent to a GI specialist and a colonoscopy and EGD was done. Results showed severe H.Pylori infection and inflammation. I was given antibiotics for two weeks then ulcer medication for six months. I cannot tell you the hell I went through going cold turkey from the other drugs, but I did it, and my stomach hasn’t been the same since, and not in a good way.

Then some bad news changed things once again. My partner’s mother was deathly ill and was in the hospital. The three of us went to Newfoundland to see her, to say goodbye. My son and I came back to Brampton and my partner stayed. She passed a few days later and he came back home. Things got steadily worse; our relationship was growing to a point where we couldn’t even look at each other.

We had made plans to go back to Newfoundland for Christmas before his mother passed, and since we couldn’t refund the tickets, we went. For me, it was a nice holiday, and I visited many relatives and enjoyed the time I had with them. It helped to be among relatives since I was still trying to get over my addiction. My partner had gone home two days early to go back to work then my son and I followed. 

I had been back only a week when the lawyer’s office informed me of another assessment. After the psychological assessment had been reviewed, the insurance company reinstated my income replacement benefits and approved a treatment plan for counselling. It couldn’t have come at a better time.

I was a mess when I went to my first session with the psychologist. I just didn’t know what to do anymore. I was going through the motions. I was taking care of my son, my home, and desperately trying to take care of myself, but something was missing in my life. There was a void that nothing could fill. 

When our lease finally came up in May we moved to a smaller apartment. My son was doing well in school, I was trying hard to keep a smile on my face for him, and my relationship with my partner was non-existent. We hardly saw each other.

I was still seeing the therapist. I wasn’t getting any problems solved, but it was good to have someone to vent to. 

Then, in a flash, my whole world turned upside down again. I found out why my partner had been gone all the time; an affair.

My son finished school for the summer and he and I took a flight to Newfoundland, where we spent the entire summer. 


September 2012 - August 2013

Saturday, August 30, 2014

MY CAR ACCIDENT - PART FIVE

2011 came and things were becoming very tense between my partner and me. He became very ill, but refused to do anything about it. We argued all the time. We tried not to argue in front of our son, but that became increasingly impossible. 

By summer my benefits were cut off again. The lawyer wanted me to apply for CPP Disability. I filled out the application and sent it in, but was denied. An appeal was also denied.

When school was finally done for the summer I packed up my son and drove to New Brunswick to visit my brother.  I couldn’t stay in the city any longer. I couldn’t stay in that apartment any longer. I felt like I was going crazy. I had very little money and we had to stop frequently because I could only drive for so long before my left leg would go numb and the pain would start. Needless to say, it was a rough trip. 

We stayed at my brother’s place for two weeks, then drove to Nova Scotia to visit my cousin and her family, then after a week of rest there we moved on to Newfoundland. 

My son stayed with my partner’s parents and I stayed with my mother, however, that proved to be difficult since she was used to living alone and I felt like I was unwanted. After two weeks I packed up and stayed with relatives, here and there. I spent a lot of time alone. I would visit or call my son every day to see if he needed anything; he was fine, his cousin was with him and they got along great. He was enjoying his summer.

I was a mess. I didn’t want to go back to Brampton. I wanted to leave my partner and just stay where I was. I could get an apartment in the nearby town and my son could start school. I had no reason to go back. I couldn’t tolerate it anymore. Everything was going to hell. Our relationship was done. I was done with the city. I didn’t care about any settlement, I was sick and tired of going to physio, getting poked by doctors, and talking with psychologists who gave me only advice on how to relax and remain calm and made me fill out quizzes then compare the answers to charts in a book. Nobody knew how I really felt because nobody actually gave a damn. I had no one and I wasn’t dealing. I didn’t know how I had gotten from being content and happy to wanting to kill myself. It wasn’t just the accident, the pain, the law suit, the mental anguish, it was everything.

About a month later, I got an email from the lawyer’s office advising me of assessments that I had to go to in September. I made the decision to go back. Then my partner’s grandmother passed away and we stayed for the funeral. My partner had traveled by plane and a few days after the funeral we took the long journey back to Brampton.

I went to the assessments and my physio treatment plans were once again being accepted and paid for. My benefits were not reinstated. It was another tough year. We were broke from cheque to cheque with my partner gone all the time, which was a good thing because all we did was fight about his problem. Maybe that’s why he was always gone. It never occurred to me that there were other reasons.

School started, holidays came and went, a new year came in, spring came. A relative had started living with us and since he wanted his own room, instead of sleeping on our sofa, we decided to move back across town to a three bedroom apartment. However, that turned out to be a disaster since shortly after he returned to Newfoundland and left us with that extra rent to pay.

My partner and son went to Newfoundland. A week later my partner returned, my son stayed and traveled back a few weeks later with his cousin who wanted to visit. My partner and I worked through some stuff and we had an uneventful summer. We showed our niece a good time and she went home with lots of memories of good times and good laughs. 

Just before school started once again, I got a call from the lawyer’s office. They wanted me to go to discuss the case. When I got there the lawyer informed me that the case against the driver who hit me had been settled. I received a sum that didn’t come close to the wages I had lost, but the good news was that part of the law suit was over. That part was closed. 

I really didn’t know how to feel. I was happy for the money, but that didn’t take away my pain, the damage that had been done to my family, or the depression that I was still in. However, once I got the cheque, a feeling of security that I hadn’t felt in years, came over me so strong, that I had to sit down and take it all in.


January 2011 - August 2012

Thursday, August 28, 2014

MY CAR ACCIDENT - PART FOUR

The year 2009 was the worst year of my life. All those assessments did was make me realize what a mess my life had become. I couldn’t let go of how it used to be. I wanted it back and dwelled on it. I really tried not to, but I guess I just wasn’t strong enough. 

We used to be a happy family. We had everything going for us. We had more than enough. We had money to spend on what we wanted. We did fun things on the weekend, took long walks together, went to the park for picnics. We were close. We had no worries. We had no debt. Then in the blink of an eye everything changed, forever. Now, we were each doing our own thing, never spending time together as a family.

The entire year was a complete blur. I went to physio when it was approved, I went to all those assessments, and slept. I was dependant on pain killers, sleeping pills, and OTC muscle relaxants with codeine. I was living in a fog.

Now my son just carried on with life as he normally would, playing with friends, going to school, and preparing for holidays. My partner had worked a lot of hours and they both went to Newfoundland for a two week trip when the school year was done. I was glad to stay home as I didn’t care to see that place ever again. 

At the end of July the insurance company declined the housekeeping benefits I had been getting, and by October they completely cut me off my income replacement benefits. We were barely making ends meet as it was, and by the end of the year we were selling our furniture to pay our rent. 

I don’t know how we made it through the rest of the year. Bills kept piling up, we were broke from cheque to cheque, and my partner and I were like strangers living in the same house. I barely saw him. And another long painful winter passed by.

By spring, 2010, we found a cheaper apartment on the other side of town and moved again. We had to sell all we could just to come up with the first and last month’s rent. I started driving again and drove my son to and from school every day. We had very little furniture and bought a used sofa and table and chairs. My son had all his bedroom furniture and all his things so he was pretty content and adapted well to the new place and his new surroundings. 

I thought with a new start in a new place that it was time for me to come out of my stupor and be a better mom. I had really let myself go; I had spent too much time at rock bottom, and spent way too much time in self-pity. Yes, I had problems, yes, I was living with pain every day, and yes, I felt like crap, but I still had my family, I wasn’t in a wheelchair, and there were other people out there living a worse life. 

I started walking, but it wasn’t easy. I kept thinking if I could just get through this hurdle, if I could just see some improvement, if I could only burst through the bubble I was in, maybe, just maybe, I would feel better, but my spirit had been broken beyond repair, and no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t keep up the momentum. I had no family to talk to, I had no support, my partner was gone all the time, and I couldn’t talk to my son; he had been through enough, he had to grow up a little faster than he should have and that had filled me with enough guilt. I was all alone.

I spent a months of sleepless nights trying to get off the sleeping pills, but eventually I was able to sleep again. I got myself into a bedtime ritual that helped me get a few hours’ sleep; even though I woke up frequently, I accepted the fact that that was the way sleep was going to be for me. I couldn’t get help with my drug addiction, nor could I tell anyone what I was really feeling for fear that my son would be taken away from me. 

By June the lawyer sent a RN (Nurse) and Kinesiologist to me to do an assessment of my current situation.  The lawyer had been working on my case and after the insurance company reviewed her report my benefits were reinstated.

My partner and son took a two week trip to Newfoundland using credit cards and later that summer my cousin and her family came from Nova Scotia for a visit. It was nice to get out with different people and our kids got along great. But after they left I felt lonelier than ever. 

Soon my son was back in school and I was slipping back into my usual routine, physio, pain killers, and sleep. I tried to keep walking, but the cold would make my pain worse, so I eventually gave up. I kept up with my housework though, that was one good thing. Well, our apartment was scantily decorated, so there wasn’t much to do, other than a few dishes, beds, bathroom, vacuuming, and it would take me all day to do that. 

That winter I spent a lot of time in my own head, not only thinking about how we were before the accident, but how I had lived my entire life. Everything came to me, my childhood, my years in school, my teenage life, the mistakes I had made, the bad decisions, I was analyzing everything in my life. And I grew more and more depressed, negative, critical, cynical. I couldn’t see joy in anything. 

Only for my son I don’t know where I would be right now. He was my rock, my reason for living, the only one that I could count on. He was there with me, through it all, keeping me company, understanding, but not understanding, laughing with me, crying with me, keeping me going. I owed everything to him and he deserved better. So, I don’t know how I did it, but I kept going, for him.


November 2009 - December 2010

Saturday, August 23, 2014

MY CAR ACCIDENT - PART THREE

A week later the physiotherapy clinic I had been attending closed and I was transferred to a new clinic where I received much of the same treatment. However, there was a chiropractor, kinesiologist, and acupuncturist working there. Treatment plans reflected the changes to my therapy and instead of sending in only six sessions for approval, they started to send in eight sessions. Also, there was a shuttle van so I didn’t have to pay for taxis anymore, a bonus with funds dwindling and bills piling up.

I was attending the new clinic three to four times a week. My family doctor experimented with various types of drugs hoping to find the ones that worked best for my ongoing pain, inflammation, depression, lack of sleep, restless leg syndrome, and insomnia. Some worked, some did not. My lack of sleep, bad mood, fatigue, and pain made me increasingly depressed. I became socially withdrawn. I was very inactive and was gaining weight. I couldn’t walk for very long without experiencing pain in my back and ankle, so I walked less and less and gained and gained. I felt like I was slowly falling into a bottomless pit and was losing hope.

My mood improved slightly in March when I began receiving Income Replacement Benefits. The lawyer helped me receive the maximum benefit. I can’t tell you how happy I was to get that cheque, no matter how little, every bit helped to keep us afloat. 

My partner and I decided we could manage our bills better if we found a cheaper place to live so we filled out the Notice to Vacate and two months later we moved into a small house on a quiet street. The landlord told us there was a quiet older man who lived in the basement. Turns out he was my age, a drunk and a doper, and his girlfriend lived there too, but we had already signed the lease so we just overlooked it.

My son was sad to leave his school and our home, so was I, but his friend had moved a month prior and I let him finish the school year at his current school. Of course, his mood brightened when he met and made friends with other kids his age on the street. Soon he was playing in the court and going to the park with his newfound friends. I was so happy for him. 

You know, it’s very difficult to be happy when you feel like you’re dying inside. Looking back, I don’t know how I did it. The relationships with my partner and child were changing and I felt so far away from them. My son, even though only seven, was becoming so independent. And my partner seemed to be working all the time. I never felt so alone and lonely. 

In May a homecare worker came to my home to do an assessment and I was approved for various household devices to help me with my housework such as a Swiffer duster and sweeper, light vacuum, long-handled brushes for cleaning the shower, and so on. I also received a TENS machine and cervical pillow. Also, added onto my little bi-weekly cheque, was going to be two hundred dollars for home maintenance. I could finally pay someone to come in and clean my house. 

In June I was approved for psychotherapy, and once a week told my therapist how I felt: depressed, anxious, restless, cranky, sore, afraid, etc. There were too many emotions to name. I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I continued with sessions until they were no longer approved which was just a few months. The sessions helped put things in perspective, but my depression was deep-seated, nothing a psychotherapist was trained for. 

Almost a year had passed since the accident and I was still complaining about my hip and foot so the clinic sent a request to the insurance company for an MRI of my low back and left foot. It showed some kind of labral tear in the hip joint area and inflammation in the tendons of my foot. I knew all along there was something wrong with my hip, but my doctor didn’t seem to take me seriously. It seemed that he grew tired of listening to my complaints and lamentations. The clinic then took it another step further and requested that I be sent to an orthopedic specialist. They also requested an arthrogram of my hip. 

That summer was great in a sense that I didn’t have to worry about my son. About half dozen kids on our street would congregate in the back yard to play and chat and just be kids. It gave me time to try to keep up with the housework and to rest. I had hired the lady downstairs to come in three times a week to do deep cleaning like vacuuming, changing bed linens, and washing down the bathroom. I had slowed down to a snail’s pace and was very careful not to pull a muscle or injure my back further. The anti-depressants and pain killers I was taking made me lethargic; I didn’t have energy for anything. 

September came and I was glad that my son was back in school. It was a ten minute walk to the new school and by the time I got back to the house my hip would be screaming. On days I didn’t have physio I would just go back to bed and get up in time to walk back to school for my son.

I was going regularly to the doctor for refills and check-ups. He noticed how overweight I was and sent me for blood work to check on cholesterol levels as well as blood sugar levels. Tests resulted in high levels of both.

In October I went to the orthopedic doctor who diagnosed me with severe tendonitis in my back and hip. It’s amazing how a doctor can just look at you and come to a diagnosis. And the arthrogram showed labral degeneration in my hip.

After seeing the results of the MRI, orthopedic specialist’s report, as well as the arthrogram, the clinic put me on a more rigorous treatment plan. Instead of sending in eight sessions of treatment, they started sending in ten sessions, which the insurance company approved, but as always there would be gaps in treatment while waiting for approval.

With more rigorous treatment came more pain, more sleepless nights, more depression, more pills.  

By January 2009 I had gained over sixty pounds since the accident. And it wasn’t because I was eating more; it was because I was exercising less. Walking, aerobics, and working out were how I kept the weight off. Now, I hated to look at myself in the mirror. I didn’t have any clothes that fit and couldn’t afford to buy new clothes. I wore my partner’s sweatpants and baggy t-shirts. I hated myself. I hated what I had become.

My relationship with my son changed, but we were still very close. He adapted very well to all the changes that had been going on. I did my best to always put his needs first, however, there were times when that just wasn’t the case, like when I was having a bad day and would stay in bed. I was very worried about his mental health and confided in the female chiropractor at the clinic who would help set my mind at ease. She would tell me things that I already knew but had forgotten, like how resilient children are and how adaptive they can be. She would say, “If he looks happy then he probably is.”

Winter was always a bad time of year for me, it was worse now that I wasn’t working. I longed to be at the pharmacy filling the prescriptions and helping customers make informed choices about cold medicine. Those winter days were long. I would lay in bed just staring at the ceiling thinking about how things were, thinking about our old home, thinking about our money situation, thinking about how content I was. Why did this happen to me? 

Then a phone call from the lawyer’s office filled me with more worry. The insurance company had scheduled some assessments to see if I was still eligible for benefits. 

I was assessed by a chiropractor a few weeks later. Then a home assessment was done in February, and then in March the same chiropractor assessed me again. In April I attended a psychological assessment. In May I had a neurological assessment done and in June I was assessed by a psychiatrist. I was sent to the same chiropractor in June and again in July. I was assessed by a psychologist and physiatrist in August. In September I went for a vocational skills assessment then in November I was assessed by a neuropsychologist. 

With each doctor I visited I relived the accident over and over and over again. I told each doctor the same story. I told each doctor all of my symptoms. I told each doctor all of my worries. I told each doctor my life story and that story was an open book.


February 2008 - November 2009

Thursday, August 14, 2014

MY CAR ACCIDENT - PART TWO


Approximately two months after I was hit by the idiot driver, I had to travel back to Brampton, Ontario, not because I wanted to, but I had to. My son was entering Grade 2 very shortly so I had to get him ready for school, and I had to find some kind of physiotherapy for myself. And, after all, our home was in Brampton. I just wasn’t looking forward to making that trip.

It was the longest plane ride that I had ever been on. I felt like a little kid at church, squirming and moaning, and testing the flight attendant's limits with all my requests for pillows and such. Well, what else could I do? I didn't have any sleep or pain medication, and nothing I did took my mind off the pain in my low back and neck. The two and a half hour flight over the bay felt like a twenty-four hour flight over the Atlantic. I was envious of my son who slept through the whole thing. By the time we got our luggage and dog, and endured the long drive home, I was ready for a long winter's hibernation while my son was completely rejuvenated. 

After a few days of organizing and cleaning, and piles of laundry to do, I realized that I couldn't keep up. My left ankle was swollen, my left arm was numb, and I had pain and tingling radiating down my buttock into my left leg.  Our small two-bedroom, two-storey townhouse suddenly became a large mansion. I had made an appointment with my family doctor the day I got back and was waiting to see him. When the day finally came I told him about the accident and he performed a complete check-up, directed me to a physiotherapy clinic, sent me for an x-ray of my ankle and back, and gave me anti-inflammatory and pain medications.

My partner had consulted with a friend of his who worked in the insurance industry and she had already started the accident benefit claim while I was still in Newfoundland. I made an appointment to see her and she gave me some advice about how the claim worked and what would be involved. I took over the paperwork, brought it to the physiotherapy clinic, and they handled the rest. All I had to do was show up for the treatment. The insurance company paid for my physiotherapy, child care expenses, and prescriptions.

The first day of my treatment consisted of examinations and questions about the accident and my injuries. I had no idea how badly I was hurt until I started the treatment. And I had no idea how badly I could feel until after the first treatment. I was stuck with electrodes on the tender areas of my neck and back along with ice or heat, I had lazer therapy applied to my left foot and ankle, and I received massage therapy. When I got home I felt like I had just been in the accident, a deja-vu of sorts. I was told it had to get worse before it got better. I went three days a week, right after my partner got home from work. After each session I would come home, take my pain meds, and go directly to bed.

When the school year started I would walk my son to school in the morning and a lady who had babysat my son in the past would walk him home. She also had a child in the same school so it wasn't a problem for her. I was spending less time with my son, but he had made a friend next door and she was welcome in our home. He had lots of toys and they got along very well.

I felt very guilty for not spending time with my son since I was the main caregiver. Before the accident I had worked evenings at a pharmacy as a technician and my partner worked days, so our son always had one of us taking care of him. Even though I was home with him, we weren't doing the things we once did. I had been on the floor with my son since he was a few months old, playing, teaching, and keeping him entertained and happy. Now, I couldn't hop, jump, and play as I used to do. He was an intuitive child and knew I wasn't well, and he kept himself busy with his sense of imagination and his new found friend, but still, I felt bad. I was present, but it wasn’t the same.

After a few months, it seemed like I wasn't getting much better. I continued with treatment and my ankle seemed like it was never going to get better. I developed a limp and there was constant pain in my neck, shoulder, and buttock area, all on my left side. I couldn't walk for very long since my left buttock would tighten to a point where my leg would start to tingle and pain would begin and go down my left leg. I would have to force my left leg forward and back in order to keep moving forward. Something was wrong in my hip somewhere, I was sure of it.

The months passed by with fall turning into winter. My treatment wasn't consistent and at times I felt that my condition was getting worse. The clinic would send a treatment plan of only six sessions at a time to the insurance company, then it would take up to two weeks for a response, so there would be a gap in treatment and it was like taking a step forward and two steps back. Halloween came, my son's birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas followed and by the time January came around our financial situation had become a worry. My partner began to work more hours, credit cards were being used frequently, and our style of living was changing. 

On February 6, 2008, I sought legal advice. My partner's friend gave me the number for a lawyer and I signed a retainer the same day. I didn't have to pay anything up front; he would take a percentage from the settlement, if there was a settlement. Well, he was pretty sure there would be a settlement, but first a case had to be made. I had no idea that building a case would take so long.


September 2007 - February 2008



Sunday, August 3, 2014

MY CAR ACCIDENT - PART ONE



Monday, July 9, 2007, at approximately 5:30 pm.

All I saw was a flash of blue before the airbag hit me in the face, stunning me and cutting my lip open. The car I was driving, a 1998 Chrysler Intrepid, seemed to glide to a stop just before a ten foot drop into Bay St. George.

When I came to, I couldn't breathe, I was smothering, I had no idea that the airbag I was batting at had probably saved me from something worse. I was disoriented, I was panicking, and I smelled gas. It's going to blow up! I tried to get the key out of the ignition but it would not budge. I tried to open the door, but it wouldn't open. The side window was smashed and blood oozed into my left eye. I tried to move, but there was something wrong with my legs, and when I looked down at them my lower legs were missing. All I saw was metal, and, and the tire? Yes, the tire. How did the tire get into the car? I 'm stuck. I'm stuck in a car with a revving engine and gas. I'm going to blow up!

Then there was a man at the passenger side door. I could see that his lips were moving, but I couldn't hear what he was saying. I saw people running toward the car, other cars were stopping behind me, and all I heard was the ringing in my ears. Everything was moving in slow motion, the people, the cars, the grass blowing around on the hill on the left, and the waves crashing against the shore on the right. I was mesmerized.

I felt a pull at my arm. I looked up and saw the man and I could feel myself being pulled out of the vortex that I was spinning into and back into reality.

"Can you get out?" I heard him say.

"My legs are stuck." I replied.

"Can you move them?"

"Yeah...I think so."

The sight of the man was comforting; it put me at ease for the moment. I couldn't move my legs, not because they were broken, but because the tire and metal had pushed them toward the console and they were pinned there. I wiggled my feet out of my shoes and managed to pull out one leg at a time. One foot had been stuck between the gas and the brake pedal which was why the car was revving.  I then crawled out the passenger side door and fell to the ground.

"I couldn't get the key out." I said to the man.

He went back in and a minute later the engine finally stopped.

I got up off the ground and stumbled around to the driver's side. I looked at my car and immediately remembered what had happened. I was entering the turn and a man driving toward me in a blue car wasn't looking at the road, he was looking over his shoulder at a driveway. I had tried to drive out of the way, but there was a steep embankment and there was no where to go. He drove over the yellow line and right in my lane, hitting my car directly in the driver's side wheel. My disorientation suddenly turned to rage. To make matters worse, the man who hit me, was coming over to me saying, "I didn't see you, I didn't see you."

I don't remember exactly what I said, but it went something like this: "Look what you did to my car you stupid, lousy, bastard!" There was a whole lotta cursing going on and a lot of pulling on my hair, apparently. (So I was told later.) The man mosied on back to his car. I was shocked at the damage that had been done to the car. The whole left side of the car, from the front door to the headlights, had been smashed in. I stood, bare-footed, in disbelief at what had just happened.

Quite a few people had come to see what the commotion was all about. The man who had helped me out of the car spoke with his wife and she took me to her house. She gave me some ice to put on my legs, which were now swelling to the size of elephant legs. My left ankle, the one that was stuck between the gas and brake pedal was severely sprained. I have no idea who mentioned police, but they were called and it was about a half hour before they showed up. My cousin was also called and she waited with us for the police to come before driving me to the hospital.

I was sick to my stomach about my car. It was only three years old and the car before that had been stolen. I was more disgusted about the car than I was about my legs. I was so angry, but then the pain started, and by the time the police showed up I could barely walk. I was helped to my cousin's car and we drove to the scene. There were still a few people looking at the damage. I heard one guy say that I was lucky I didn't lose my legs. And another guy said that the man who had hit me had hit others. I gave the police my statement, and then my cousin drove me to the hospital. By that time I felt like I had been just run over by a truck and it looked like my left leg was fractured; it has swollen to twice its size. The pain was intense, my emotions got the best of me, and I couldn't hold back the tears any longer.

Six hours later, I was sent home with non-narcotic pain killers and anti-inflammatory medication. One x-ray of my left leg only, it was the worse, was done and nothing else. The cut in my head, the burn on my legs, and the pain in my neck and back were of no concern to the doctor on call. I could have had internal bleeding in my body or my brain, but the negligence at that hospital is subject matter for another time. When I got home, my mother and cousin helped me out of the car and to the bed, and my mother wrapped my ankle with tension bandage to help stop the swelling, all the while cussing about how the entire Stephenville Hospital should be investigated for malpractice.

The next day, I had to crawl to the bathroom. Everything hurt, even my teeth, believe it or not. Both legs and feet were purple, I couldn't move my neck and my spine felt like a rod of steel, there was no flexibility in my back whatsoever. I was a mess. And for six weeks I was stuck in bed, unable to care for my son and unable to care for myself. The only time I went out was to the doctor for refills.

It was funny. It was funny because my six year old son, our dog, and I had driven from Brampton, Ontario, to Journois, Newfoundland, without any problems. We stopped at spooky rest stops to sleep, we ate in greasy dives, we urinated in woods with poison ivy, we went through hours of construction while driving through Quebec, we were eight hours on the ferry, the road trip was completely uneventful. And three days into my vacation on the island I drive up the two-lane road from the local convenience store on a beautiful summer day and get pummeled by a local. What are the odds? My entire trip was ruined, my car was a total write-off, and I was injured to the point where I couldn't even wash my own hair. My partner's parents took care of my son while my mother took care of me, and while I lay in bed most of the time contemplating why such a thing would happen to me, he was having a good time at the beach and just enjoying his time with family. I was thankful he wasn't in the car at the time.

Two months later, we were back on a plane heading back to Brampton, and little did I know that I was about to take a journey into the Twilight Zone, or something close to it.


July 2007-September 2007