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