The photo on the left was taken almost 2 weeks post motor vehicle accident. Yes, it is I, the same person in the photo on the right. Nobody would clean the glass and the blood from my head and my hair. I looked like this almost two weeks. A coworker came over a day or two before I was finally hospitalized and cleaned my head and my hair. All of this will be updated as soon as I can get to it. Dialup connection is too slow. I need to work on the book outline. Oh by the way, in the photo on the left I had just turned 48 years of age. In the photo on the right, I was barely past 62. That is a long time to continue to struggle from a car wreck and a brain injury.
The photo on the right was taken Feb. 27, 2002 at work at the end of the day. This was a part time, month to month contract, sit down job taking care of special needs children. I will also be updating the many attempts at work struggles too.
Looking at the photo above, would you believe that the hospital I was brought to did not do a Cat Scan? Considering my face broke the windshield and the car was totaled, wouldn’t you think a Cat Scan would have been ordered? Wouldn’t you think I would have been hospitalized? I was not. I was physically placed on a shuttlebus and brought to the hospitality house and physically carried up the steps and left there. The next day I was brought back to the same hospital due to an increasing headache and blurred vision. Once again, no Cat Scan ordered but released to the hospitality house, same scenario with the van. A friend of mine took me from the hospitality house to a mutual friend’s house to stay. I had neither relatives nor any family member in this state. I was over 2,000 miles from the nearest family member. The ride was most uncomfortable. My friend was surprised at how I complained of the bumpy ride, which to him was not all that uncomfortable. Apparently all the little pebbles and small rocks felt more like huge bumps to me. It really caused pain in my head, especially in the lower left back area of my head. It also made me dizzy and woozy. That night my head was hurting even more to excruciating pain. My lady friend brought me to another hospital where again nothing was done for me. I was not given privacy either. My friend told me later that I was crying and screaming and all of a sudden I was sleeping. I was not sleeping. With the pain I was in, what happened was I blacked out and nobody paid attention. Nobody noted what was really happening to me. I was in and out of alertness and awareness and the medical personnel were oblivious as to what was truly happening to me. By the next morning, my face was swollen and my eyes were swollen shut. I could not walk on my own power. I had extreme right-sided weakness. Obviously I could not see. It would be later that I learn that my lady friend assisted me to the living room where she gave me either hot chocolate or hot tea. I will have to check my journaling to know which it was. I could not remember (and still don’t remember) but I was told and it is in my notes. Because of the increasing pain and discomfort plus the fact my eyes were swollen shut, my gentleman friend brought me to my family doctor. My friend assisted me into the doctor’s office in an upright position. I can not remember this office visit but I did do a lot of journaling from what I remembered and from what I was told. The doctor assumed I entered his office on my own power. He stated it was obvious I could not take care of myself so he would order home care for me. This home care was not scheduled to begin until the next day leaving me alone in this condition. However, after my friend brought me home and he went to work, the home health agency called to speak with me. I informed them of my condition, that I could not walk on my own power and could not see. I further stated I had not eaten and could not remember what I had to drink for breakfast could they start the care that day? Note: still no Cat Scan. And as an added note: this doctor prescribed a narcotic painkiller, which is in the same family as Demerol. My records stated I could not take Demerol because it will cause my blood pressure to bottom out. After this office visit I was to be alone twenty-one hours a day with memory problems, inability to support myself, severe right-sided weakness, could not see, excruciating headache, no family members nearby. What are you thinking by now? Fact not fiction folks! Shortly there was a knock on my apartment door. The manager had to let the home health aid in because I lived in a secure building. I literally rolled out of bed and dragged myself to the living room door. As I opened the door I asked, “Who is it?” or something to that affect. It was my aid for the day. She was there only three hours. My doctor had prescribed care for only three hours a day for four days but it was begun on the first day giving me home health care for three hours a day for five days and not the same hours each day. That left me alone for twenty-one hours a day. Are you keeping up with this? I will elaborate on what happened between this first day and the following week later. I will cut to the chase and inform you that on December 29, 1988 I was feeling very weird so I moved from the couch to the floor of my living room. By this point I could open my eyes enough to peak and get a glimpse of who was present. The swelling had gone down considerably. Keep in mind, I still looked much like this photo. Nobody would touch my hair. Nobody wanted to clean the glass from my scalp or wash the blood out of my hair except for the coworker who took this picture. It was the week of the hospitalization that she came over and washed my hair for me. However, on this date, Dec. 29th, I asked my aid to call the doctor, which she did. She got an answering machine. With my medical knowledge (I was a brain injury nurse at the time) I knew I did not have time to wait for the doctor to return the call. I told her to call her agency, which she did. She then placed the telephone receiver in my hand with me laying on the floor and left. It was time for her shift to end. She placed my sandwich and drink on the coffee table and left me in a medical emergency. Apparently I made two calls on my own. I called my place of employment and was informed to call 911 that once I arrived at the hospital my condition would warrant insurance paying for it. My doctor had told my friend on Christmas Eve because he had seen me in his office the day before and I appeared okay to him, he could not warrant writing an order for an ambulance. I will cover this issue later. From my telephone bill I learned the operator called 911 because I was charged for the operator assisted call. I don’t even remember placing the call. The last thing I remember about this incident is saying the words, “Don’t stop talking to me.” I knew I needed to remain awake. I repeated that over and over yet I don’t remember the ambulance ride or anything else that occurred. I may have appeared to be awake and alert but I was not cognitive of what was going on. The only sound the paramedic heard when he checked my blood pressure was something in the seventies and no other sound. I was brought to the hospital and admitted to step down ICU because there were no beds available in ICU. A Cat Scan was finally done which revealed I had a left cerebella brain hemorrhage, basilor skull fracture among other things. A series of tests to include MRI’s of my brain and my spine, x-rays of my orbital sockets and other areas, plus many more tests would be done on me during this fifteen-day hospital stay. However, an EEG was not done until a half year later after I was transported back to Texas. The first sleep deprived EEG was not done until April of 1994 prior to breast surgery. It is important to note at this point that the first rehabilitation nurse that my car insurance company sent to my apartment to assess me wrote in her nursing notes she believed because I had been working as a closed head injury nurse I had convinced myself that I was closed head injured. She stated she thought I was faking. Fact people, I have my medical records to prove my allegations. I am what is considered a high level brain injured person, a survivor. Yes, I have worked again but had struggles and was eventually diagnosed with a seizure disorder in 1994 which set me back. In May of 1994 I had breast surgery for fibrocystic breasts and had to be cleared by a neurologist prior to being put to sleep. Therefore, the first sleep deprived EEG was finally done, over five years post brain injury. I sure hope you are keeping up with all this. It would be several months later when grand mal seizures would begin due to negligence on the part of the neurologist I was seeing at that time. Six medical personnel to include police officers plus my daughter witnessed the seizures. My daughter told me there were six men hovering over me and my dog was lying on my body protecting me. Six men! and I was totally unaware of what was going on. I don’t remember that particular episode except for my journaling and what I was informed occurred. This episode was what is known as status epilepticus, several grand mal seizures back to back. There is so much more horror to tell about the seizure episodes and medication. (They made me more vulnerable to intrusions and stalking episodes, which is yet another story.) I will inform you that I became toxic on Dilantin with a level of 43 and this doctor released me from his care stating I self medicated and he never prescribed the dosage I was taking. Fact is, when I was beginning to get toxic, he told me to continue the same dosage, which was against the recommendation of the doctor who saw me in the emergency room. Also, I have the bottle the medication came in plus the hospital report where he prescribed the dosage and I have the pharmacist’s records, which reflect the prescription. It was not a large dose; however, it was too much for me. I am supersensitive to Dilantin, which caused me to have severe diarrhea for over three months and an increased sensitivity to the sun. A woman in my fifties, I was and having to curl up in a ball and hide under the bench at the bus stop to hide from the sun; embarrassing and extremely humiliating. Add to that, the family doctor refused to believe anything was wrong with me until I was passing too much blood and became dehydrated. I have his records also. Note: People I have audited my medical records. My plans were to write a book about all the abuse done in my care. I am not alone in all this either. My brother told me it was my medical knowledge that has kept me going and saved me. He further commented, “How many people without your knowledge have these things been done to and they can’t defend themselves?” They get lost in the system like what was happening to me in spite of my knowledge, so my sister in law said. My son told me it is my faith in God that has saved me. I say it was both plus all the journaling I have done. I have researched extensively,audited my medical records, and processed my writings. Please make note that I live a relatively normal life. From all appearances, you can not tell what my challenges are because I have learned to adapt and the problems are not major in my opinion. The problems? I can not lift over fifteen pounds on a daily basis yet I have packed and moved myself several times. However, with each move, I become weaker. I have managed to move things around and pay for it later. Until the knee injury in 2002, I could walk my dog. Now I use a motorized scooter. However, I originally qualified for it in 1997. So am I handicapped? For legal purposes I am. From a practical standpoint, I am not because, as a doctor in Dallas told me, “You know your limitations.” I also think of Joni Erickson Tada. She is a quadraplegic and has her own ministry. I was seizure free using herbs and minerals prescribed by a doctor in Fort Worth, Texas. In October 1999, a new anti-seizure medication was prescribed. I almost blacked out in a chiropractor’s office during his initial screening exam. From his office I was brought to the hospital by ambulance and was admitted for a four-day hospital stay. Medication was keeping me from having dizzy spells. I missed a half month’s work. Upon my return to work, my boss requested I resign so I could seek work where health benefits are provided. That too was a part time sit down job; however, my doctor had told me I needed to seek work where benefits were provided and another doctor told me the hours I was working was not good on my health and my bones for my age, I obliged and went home not finishing my task for the day. Besides, I hoped God had something better planned for me so not to worry about me. On the other hand, the struggles to keep my head above water and have a decent life have not been easy. This story is very important to be told and besides, web design is very intriguing to me. I had hoped to pursue webdesign for a fee. I was scheduled to take some online courses but the knee injury and then I moved back to Texas ended that too. I consider myself to be a survivor, not of one brain injury but of three. In August of 1992 I was in another accident where I was once again a passenger. I was one of three who received a concussion while sitting in the back seat of the van when the back seat came unbolted. All this is documented at the hospital where the Cat Scans were done. Due to a car wreck in February of the same year, I was a patient at a hospital when this occurred and the hospital did a cover-up. I had post-traumatic stress syndrome and was suicidal. This second car wreck caused a fracture to my left shoulder and cost me two nursing jobs I was to start the following week. One job was full time and the other was part time. This wreck was also the reason for the suicidal tendencies. If you want to know about that, please email me. Maybe I wasn’t ready for the jobs yet. Fact people, not fiction. Some people have asked how the wreck happened. We were south bound on Sprinkle Road in Kalamazoo, Michigan on Saturday, December 17, 1988. The time of the accident was documented sometime after 7 pm EST. I was a passenger in the front seat, and yes, wearing my seat belt, thank God. The car we were in was a Chevrolet Citation. The other car was what is considered a large family car. I don’t know what make other than like a Crown Victoria Ltd. or the like; just a larger family car. They ran a red light going west on Avenue H. The person driving the car I was in was ticketed for driving without headlights. This was after dusk and it was snowing hard. I was unaware there was an electrical problem with the car I was in. The other people were not ticketed and told a lie that they were north bound and we ran the red light. The last thing I remembered and journaled was telling my friend to watch out. (I have had flashbacks too but remember very little save my journaling.) I could see, over her left shoulder, a car that was not stopping. If I was in the front passenger seat and I saw over her left shoulder while she was in the driver’s seat, these people were not north bound but west bound. Question: If they were in the process of making a left hand turn from a northbound position, how did we broadside them twice on the passenger side opposite the driver? The answer is obvious. They were west bound already, coming from the cross street, which was Avenue H. It took years for my mind to be alert enough to really figure that out. Later I questioned my friend why she didn’t correct the police report. Her reply was, “What good would it do me?” My response was, “But it would help me!” She told me we hit the other car broadside, bounced back and hit the other car again. Her husband was not with us but told me a telephone pole and a fence is what stopped us. Remember the roads were slick because it was snowing on top of other snow. This was Kalamazoo, Michigan on December 17th. There was nothing left of the dashboard, it was all powdery substance. The front end of the car came to meet us due to three major impacts. Praise God for seatbelts! Everybody but myself were taken to Borgess Hospital. I was taken to Bronson Methodist Hospital. I do not remember saying anything about that. Apparently I was on autopilot. I can not remember the ambulance ride at all. I do remember being in the emergency room. It is apparent I was in and out of consciousness. You need to know I had worked at Bronson Hospital when I lived in Kalamazoo before. At this time I lived in Grand Rapids. My face broke the windshield as I mentioned before. The neighbor’s child who was in the back seat received a few small bruises on his face. The driver’s daughter lost her two front teeth and had a few bruises. The driver received a crushed heal. I was the one seriously injured and the hospital turned me away twice. I received a left cerebelar hemorrhage, a basilor skull fracture, right carpal tunnel, left trigger thumb, a huge hematoma at the base of my spine and on my left forearm, glass in my eyes, glass in my scalp, glass in my forehead and minor cuts and abrasions on my legs, arms, face, and shoulders (clavicles). My clothes could not be cleaned due to all the glass caught in the fibers. The burgundy plastic removed from my forehead came from the middle layer in the windshield. This is the layer that shields your eyes from the sun’s rays. If I knew then, however, what I know now, I would have tried to find the money to do a lot of suing. My attorney wanted $10,000 up front. But health issues have been ongoing as a direct result of the initial brain injury. It seems somebody would be willing to take this on to set a precedent. Symptoms can take years to develop after a brain injury. And for problems to stem from the original injury should be significant in itself. Where is the justice? I’m not alone in this. Update: I was diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis in 1997. Due to weight gain from inactivity from a dislocated knee cap, the problem has exacerbated which is why I have need of a motorzied scooter. I should have been on total disability instead of social security considering me partially disabled. They never acquired ALL of my medical records and I have documentation from them to that affect too. It has been a continuuing battle with social security. I’ve received conflicting letters to include monies being withheld when I had documentation from them I did not owe. How does one survive on $325 a month? on $549 a month? and pay medical bills? Then too, why have some people not needed an attorney and get 3 times and more than what I get? If one is working part time and still qualifies for welfare programs, how can that be considered by social security as being gainfully employed? If one drifts from one job to another trying to make ends meet and trying to find a place to fit in and not have seizures, how can that be considered being gainfully employed? I don’t understand. On the other hand, when you have doctor’s orders for help at home, how can a government program circumvent those doctor’s orders stating you can feed yourself, you can dress yourself, and you can bathe yourself….even though you can’t stand long enough to prepare a meal let alone clean up afterwards, you need a shower chair so get one, and you some times have to sit down to dress, your overall score is not high enough so forget about the things you obviously can not do, we will forget about the doctors orders, this is a government program. Will somebody explain that line of thinking to me please? If you are interested in knowing more, feel free to email me. Ask any questions you would like to know the answers to. I can also direct you to web sites targeting brain injuries. Thank you for your patience.