After the Accident

6 Oct

It is normally about a 25 minute drive into the nearest town on a sunny day. I have no idea how long it took the ambulance, but it felt like forever and not quick enough to be off the road. I entered the ER department and was brought into my own area. I stayed suctioned into the backboard contraption for hours. Felt safe yes, but also not. I couldn’t move anything  or scratch an itch. The ER doctor tended to me and I was admitted. The doctor suspected I had a closed head trauma. I had big bumps on my right for head and on the side of my head. I must have hit something although I have no memory of hitting anything. It was something hard, so from where I was found in my seat belt, my head could have hit my side window or the dashboard. Although, I think my driver’s side window was shattered and blown out, so I could have also hit the hard snow bank.

I was admitted for over a week. There was no Christmas this year. Definitely this was a downer Christmas. I spent it alone in a faded yellow painted room with no roommates, no family and grouchy nursing staff. The roads were much to bad for anyone to venture back into see me. I think my older brother from out west sent me a bouquet of flowers which meant something to me. I was eventually sent home in a neck brace and advised to get physiotherapy.

When I got back to Toronto I was still in quite a bit of discomfort and not able to do much. Killer for an A-type personality always on the go. I always in contact with my job keeping them abridged of my situation and my plans to return to work. I tried physiotherapy but was still in such an acute state that they could not move me so advised me to just keep icing and resting. The insurance company was making the task of paying difficult for reasons I didn’t know. An aunt called me up and advised me to see an osteopath. I had never heard of an osteopath before. I began to see this lovely woman and she advised me that I had a closed head trauma. The insurer was still not paying and I was headed into my second month. This woman called them and gave them proper well and they began to listen for a bit and at least start to pay her a portion.

I would love to share with you what would take over my life, add stress and become the next 6 years of my life, however it would chapters and chapters in itself. The insurance company made my life a living hell. The insurance system had changes and car accident victims have to jump through impossible hoops just to get what they are entitled to when they pay their insurance and a car accident happens. I became a semi expert in the system, navigating piles of paperwork, medical reports, DAC (Designated Assessment Centers), rebuttal of claims, the insurance tribunal, ombudsman. It was a fulltime job at a time I was unable to work. All the while trying to heal my body. I was doing this completely all on my own. It was terrible. Guilty before proven innocent always. All the people who take advantage of the insurance system make the innocent and legitimate cases pay. It was a long, drawn out stressful time full of phone calls and paperwork and caseworkers that would come and go. Practitioners so frustrating with the system and additional paperwork that they do not want to treat MVA’s (motor vehicle accident clients). A complete mess.

My dad came and tried to help. We met with the insurer to discuss what was going on. Their hands our tied. They employ pencil pushers just above minimum wage doing what they’re told and no one on any decision level basis. I was advised that I would need a lawyer just to retrieve the medical benefits I was entitled to. I did my research and hired a lawyer. He was a complete waste of time and hardly did anything for me. I had to constantly chase him down to make phone calls and send paperwork. He got little accomplished. I was still filing my own rebuttals etc. This would carry on for 5 years. I lost my job shortly after the accident and was sent a letter that said little except that if i were to return my job would not be there. My father and I visited a labour lawyer and he advised that yes, while it wasn’t the right thing to do, in the end there would have been little we could have done, as they employer needed to fill the position. I think I should have got a second opinion. There is so much I could share about this time, but honestly, it was just the biggest headache. Instead of helping a person to heal, they make it worse. Here is an example of the system. I saw an optometrist who specialised in mild traumatic brain injury. This man was a very, sweet honest man. He wrote out a prescription for what I would need. He did not inflate the price as some practitioners do when an insurance company is involved. He was asking for covering the cost of two new pair of glasses and his appointment. It was $800. The insurance company refused it. I was sent to a DAC to be assessed by a supposed BIAST medical doctor. This is a crock on most accounts.

One day the insurance company called me. It was awful dealing with them. They constantly try to cut you off from your claim. If you miss a deadline, or don’t call or fax the wrong number or don’t pick up the phone or miss an appointment. This one day, this insurer says to me,

“You know, you’re not going to get a cent out of us.”

“Pardon me?”

“You heard me.”

“Why are you saying that to me? Why would you say that to me.”

There was a pause.

“Your boyfriend never paid us.”

“What!? What are you talking about?”

“Your last car accident. Your boyfriend still owes us $30,000.”

“The accident from 8 years ago? What does that have to do with this? He’s not my boyfriend by the way. Not now and wasn’t at the time. Why are you bringing that into this. That has nothing to do with this.”

“I’m just letting you know.” and she hung up the phone. I still have no idea who that was that called me that day.

I had no idea. I had sued my ex after I couldn’t get rid of the pain in my athletic 24 yearold body, scared for my future. He had not insured the car for the road, taken my money, lied to everyone and did not help me pay for physiotherapy. Even though I won, the person really doesn’t have to pay, There is just a lean against them.

You have got to be kidding me. One for them even saying that. Two, you mean to tell me that they have been giving me a hard time all this time because their drawing a connection between two accidents and holding that on me? OMG.

Trying to get the basics covered became most of my life. I was not a happy camper. I could not believe I was in this situation again having never rid my body of the chronic pain from the accident I had in university and that is all I wanted to do. I finally had a salaried position, my health benefits had just kicked in and I would be able to get massage etc….and then this car accident happens and throws everything out of whack. Or did it?

What happened next was extraordinary and scared the shit out of me and changed my life.

••••

Glad that part of my life is over,
Kate

Red Fingerprint Mood: Firing out the story
• Locale: 24 hr Starbucks, Young & KIng
• Music: Hang on to your Love by Sade

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