Aside from the surgery coming up, the next few months were spent with a lot of waiting and nothing happening.
Dean’s eye surgery was scheduled for the beginning of the new year at a hospital in DC. The surgery took longer than anticipated because once the doctor got in there, he discovered even more scar tissue than he anticipated. Ultimately he had to cut a few nerves to remove it all. The implant went in just fine and was instantly effective in moving the eyeball forward. The waiting time from surgical wait to Dean actually getting into a room was ridiculously long. It should have been an hour or two at the most because this was scheduled 2 months in advance and had gone through insurance already. A room should have been ready. Was it? NOPE. 6 hours after his surgery, he was stuck waiting for important eye cream to stop infection and trapped in waiting while I was stuck in the waiting area with my mother-in-law and her brother. We were worried and wondering what was going on, but getting zero information. Meanwhile Dean was miserable and trapped and they wouldn’t let me visit him in the post-surgical room. Odd since usually that’s okay for spouses.
They finally got him into a room and Dean was angry as a hornet. He was hungry, his eye was dry, and he thought we’d been avoiding him so we became the target of the anger. Thankfully I had some snacks in my purse so I gave him those while we waited for the damn eye cream. Having been through years and years of hell with doctors and waiting things out and having a nurse for a friend, I know a lot about the process. I know it’s rarely if ever the nurse’s fault when things go wrong. However, when I know there is an important eye cream needed after an eye surgery and after a few hours it’s still not there, I know we have a problem. Being utterly exhausted at this point, I let my mom take over and get angry with the staff. She’s pretty effective because we FINALLY got the fucking eye cream at this point, then went to get Dean dinner since he’d missed dinner service. Way to fucking go, hospital! He was supposed to stay overnight so I eventually went home and got the first peaceful night’s sleep in months.
The next morning I brought him fresh clothes and took him home. Recovery was fun. I can’t even begin to describe the stitch situation we had without feeling sick to my stomach. Let’s just say he was able to open and close his eye and there was a dental floss looking situation keeping his eye from opening further. It was gross and he had a week off of work. Oh goodie! More unpaid time off!!!! Dean recovered nicely and was finally able to wear his CPAP mask at night again so normal sleep finally started to happen for me again.
Flash forward another month. Nothing really happened until February when, after looking online out of sheer frustration, Dean discovered that not only had the other driver’s court date come and gone, but it was DISMISSED. After making a few phone calls we were told that either the cop who filed the report hadn’t shown up OR it was because the other driver was a minor and it was in the wrong court. Either way, we were pretty furious with our lawyer for not knowing this information or informing us of the court date and I was ready to fire him. A fuck ton of nothing had happened in months and now this? Not to mention some of the bills they supposedly paid were now being sent to me for non-payment. After a pretty angry phone call from Dean, a lot things got taken care of pretty fast, but it shouldn’t have come down to that. I was not even a little bit happy at this point, but very very VERY happy that I’d been proactive from the beginning and paid for shit that we “didn’t have to pay” because look where we were now?! Waiting waiting waiting.
A few phone calls and some lawyer involvement later, we found out that the cop supposedly did show up and was going to be filing an appeal of the dismissal. Oh good, someone DOES give a shit! We were supposed to get a call back a week later, but it never happened. The officer’s superior officer happens to be a customer of Dean’s shop so when we had heard nothing, we had an ounce of leverage. We got a phone call a few days later and were told it was in process and we should see a subpoena in the mail in a few days. It was more like a few weeks when it finally showed up and Dean was called in to appear on behalf of the state to testify against the other driver. Finally some fucking movement!!!! The court date was set and we just had to wait it out. More. Fucking. Waiting.
The court date finally came and Dean was there with one of the lawyers from the firm (not even our lawyer so you can imagine how happy I was with that!!!). The judge took one look at the case, didn’t call anyone up, and said “this has already been dismissed. I’m not hearing it again. Dismissed.” And just like that, our hopes vanished. The only thing going for us at this point was that we did not have a not guilty ruling so we could still fight the kid and his family despite his outright lying about being at fault. Now the one thing we had going for us was gone. It was over. The lawyer representative was panicked and went back to the firm. Our lawyer called back later and said they’d never seen that happen before and were shocked and weren’t sure what to do next, but would call soon.
At this point it was decided that the only way to get anything done or get our money back was to sue the kid. Our case was then turned over to a trial lawyer within the firm (apparently ours was only personal injury) and we had a new meeting with him. Keep in mind that it’s now June. Fertility treatments are now on the horizon and I’ve had it with the whole thing. Dean talked to the new lawyer, the lawsuit was filed, and then we waited for the court system to schedule a hearing date.
Fast forward to September. We’ve been through two failed rounds of IUIs with the clinic and round 3 has just begun. We get a letter in the mail from the other driver’s insurance. They’re offering a settlement of the kids entire policy limit (which is the state minimum for Maryland and is liability only) and immediately call the lawyer. We set a meeting, set an appointment with their hired eye doctor for a final review of the damage, go see the lawyer, and it’s all doom and gloom. Come to find out that this settlement is OUT of our hands. We have no say in accepting it or not because our insurance took over the case back in October. It’s entirely up to them now. Lawyer explains to us the grand total of all costs after settlements and what is legally allowed to be paid back to our health insurance (which covered a huge chunk of the medical and legally they have to reduce it by 1/3 to cover the legal fees), what the lawyer takes (1/3 – ouch, but there’s that 1/3 the medical reduced it by!), and the potential of what we’ll get (whatever is left). I also found out I have a policy maximum that’s a little more than 3 times what the kids insurance is so we’re entitled to up to that amount based on the policy. Word the wise: GET UNDER INSURED AND UNISURED MOTORIST COVERAGE!!!!
So the real doom and gloom came when he said that for our insurance to accept the other agency’s settlement, they’d have to waive their rights against them, waive the right to collect on this kid later on or sue him, and waive some of something. Laywer says “of course this is all pending [our insurance]’s decision and in all my years of doing this, they are the number one most difficult insurance company to get money out of. I doubt they’ll waive subrogation and settle in less than 6 months” Awww, thanks Dr. Doom! So we left feeling pretty hopeless. I also thought we’d end up with MAYBE $3,000. Not even enough to recoup our fertility fund. That same week I found out our third IUI had failed. I was devastated and feeling hopeless.
2 weeks later we got a call from the lawyer… with good news!
It didn’t take 6 months, they didn’t do what the laywer thought they would, and the end was so close! Our insurance company decided to waive their rights, collect the settlement from the other agency, pay out on our policy, and provided a new settlement offer… a settlement that blew my mind. Our lawyer, having just gotten the last results of the final final final eye exam made a counter offer. Our insurance agreed and said “yes, final offer”. We agreed and the lawyer drew up the final paperwork that Dean went and signed a week or so later, then they mailed out the check. It took almost 2 weeks to clear our account fully and once it did, I finally felt free. The money was ours. The lawsuit was dismissed. The accident was FINALLY over.
I can’t begin to describe how freeing it was to know this burden was finally off our backs. This elephant in the room for the last year was finally going back into the wild and leaving us alone. And not a moment too soon because around this time we also found out that we were heading down the road of IVF and since my insurance doesn’t cover fertility costs, this would be 100% out of pocket. Turns out that this accident that initially derailed our baby plans and wiped out our savings for it, ultimately delayed it for the right reasons and will ultimately pay for the new treatment we are facing.
At long last, the accident that nearly ended my husbands life was over. O-V-E-R over!