Part one is here.
The day after the accident was my grandfather’s funeral. I hadn’t slept a wink. Dean could only sleep on his right side or partially leaning on his back so I’d wedged pillows between us to help support his aching body. Dean also has sleep apnea and sleeps with a face mask at night, but because his face and eye were so banged up, he couldn’t wear the mask. All night long I would start to fall asleep and then the minute I did, his breathing would stop so I would move him so he’d breathe again. Sleep apnea is deadly and in his current state of being, I was ten times more worried than usual.
I was a mess when I finally got out of bed. My mom was a mess as well, but for a different reason. Guess who had to do all the driving that day because mom couldn’t drive, stepdad was picking up my stepsister, and my dad and bother were on the other side of town? Oh yay, ME! I hate funerals. I hate them even more when I have to do so much work to prepare for them and then hold other people up during them. It was a fucked up morning of being grateful for my husband being alive (albeit banged up and in a lot of pain) and extremely sad to being saying goodbye to someone I love so dearly. Conflicting feelings doesn’t even begin to cover it. I honestly don’t even remember most of the day or the service for my grandfather. I remember being in a receiving line for a bunch of people I didn’t know, worried out of my mind about Dean who couldn’t even stand and had to sit in a chair for the line of people. From there I recall everyone going back to grandma and grandpa’s house, feeling how empty it was without them there anymore, changing clothes, eating, and then going home.
Dean’s injuries were not all that bad for the most part. He had not broken or fractured any bones. We knew from the first hospital’s report that he had contusions everywhere along his left side (impact side), but no clue what that meant until someone explained it. He did not have any internal bleeding (nothing short of a miracle) and aside from a lot of pain from the contusions, he was pretty much okay. Yes, his arm was torn up from all the glass and stitching up and let me tell you, that was FUN to constantly clean and bandage, but that was small on the scale of things. He had a lot of back pain, which was a little worrisome, but again it was something we could deal with. The big problem was his eye damage. At the time, we had no idea what we were facing.
Airbags save lives but they come out of their casing at the speed of a bullet launching out of a gun and cause injuries of their own. Again, lifesaving, but painful. In this case, because of how he was hit and what pieces of the other vehicle landed in our car, I firmly believe that airbag prevented what would have been a likely decapitation. That is ALL I will say there because it makes me violently ill to think of it any further. So, because that side impact curtain airbag deployed, it literally punched Dean right in the eye when it blew out and did a lot of damage to his eye.
He still had to be evaluated by several doctors to measure the extent of everything so that Monday I took the day off work and spent the day driving all over the DC metro area. We had an appointment with the eye doctor (he had an opening that morning) and with a plastic surgeon (who saw him in the ER and set aside a time slot for us in advance) and both were way out in Maryland so I figured we could also swing by the police station and pick up the accident report since yay, it was ready! (If you know nothing about the police, know that it can take up to 5 days for a report to be ready because they are VERY busy protecting society. For this one to be ready within 48 hours was a miracle.)
Onward to the first eye doctor! We were told that Dean had an orbital blow out fracture and the bone around his eye and into his nose had shattered. His vision was blurry and his eye constantly hurt. It was also filled with blood because when eyeballs are bruised, that’s how it shows. There’s no skin or muscle tissue to change the colors like on the rest of your body. Around his eye it was swollen and every shade of bruise you can imagine. There was also a stitch holding his eyelid together. Doc then said it was too swollen to determine much and eventually told us we’d have to see the plastic surgeon to know know and more than likely we’d just have to wait it out. Ummm… really? Not quite the answer we were looking for. Oh, and the cherry on top? No driving until his vision cleared, so make sure you schedule a follow up. Ummm, yeah. I’m gonna need that in writing because we need this man to keep his job!
Since it was on our way and literally in between the two offices, we made our way to the police station to pick up the report. That was enlightening. The kid who hit Dean ended up with 4 tickets and I finally had his insurance information so I had a leg to stand on. Alas, we had the appointment with the plastic surgeon so we had to move along and couldn’t make any phone calls at that moment.
After waiting an hour in a ridiculously high-end office of a surgeon who clearly caters to the rich, we were finally seen. After a quick look, he seemed irritated and pretty much dismissed us on site and said there was nothing to be done. Seriously dude? You know there’s a shit done of bone damage and his eyeball isn’t setting right in his head and you say there’s nothing to be done? Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck you. I guess because he determined there was no money to be made, he didn’t want to deal with it. The two back to back appointments with these two ass clowns lead to a long search to find a good eye doctor, but more on that later.
We finally had a break after that and called the insurance companies. Our was great and happy we finally had the information. The other driver’s insurance was nothing but shitty with us and refused to be helpful. They even tried to get us to give them information about it since their client still hadn’t reported the accident. WHAT??? 2 days after you total your car, another person’s car, and send that person to the hospital and you still haven’t called your insurance company??? Suffice to say, we were pissed off, but what could be done?
Somewhere along the way home Dean started feeling excruciating pain in his side and my worry was that something had happened to his spleen. After he nearly threw up from pain, we drove straight to the emergency room at the nearest hospital. Diagnosis: no spleen damage, but there is a big kidney stone. Really??? So that stone we already knew about (he had a pre-scheduled lithotripsy set for Wednesday, actually) has suddenly moved north and is causing pain up in his rib? Fucking morons. (We later found out that Dean had a massive contusion around his ribs, the bone was bruised, and two of them were misaligned. Know who told us that? The awesome chiropractor we ended up with! But I’m getting ahead of myself.) We went home with pain meds and reassurance that his spleen was okay. Another sleepless night ensued. This would be the beginning of a month of sleepless nights, by the way.
So right, that lithotripsy… well what was the point in cancelling that now? Dean was out of work, it was already scheduled, and he was already in a lot of pain. I already had the day scheduled off too, so after a long night in the ER on Monday, I dragged my ass to work for a partial day Tuesday so I wouldn’t fall too far behind. I don’t think I got much done, but it felt good to get away for a few hours. Wednesday was the lithotripsy which was a success. After I got Dean home, I made more calls, scheduled more appointments, got the follow up visits set, and talked to my mom about how she could help us out over the next week or so because I couldn’t take too much more time off of work.
By Thursday, which was 5 days after the accident, we still hadn’t heard anything from the other driver’s insurance company and were starting to worry. We only had so much default temporary coverage from our insurance company and had already spent a fortune on two hospital check ins (the initial trauma center on Saturday after the accident and the ER visit on Monday) and we had a totaled car. Add several doctor’s appointments with doctor’s who either wouldn’t accept the car insurance because we were not at fault or wouldn’t accept it at all, and we were starting to hemorrhage money from our savings account. At that point we decided it was time to talk to a lawyer.
to be continued…