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 I became socially withdrawn.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