Friday 9/29 – Drove Lyft, on and off, all day. Love this job. Between helping people and some great conversations, it’s seldom dull. Biggest issue is finding time to pee! Anyway, I picked up Diana about 745p from her girls crafting night. Headed home and, just a mile from the house, we round a curve and BAM! our life changes in a split second. We spin about 270 degrees and stop on the opposite side of the road about a foot from the edge of a fifteen foot drop to grade. Our attacker continued much further and flew down, onto the tracks. Our Prius’ airbags and seat belts did their job but will never again. Nor will it do anything else, on its own, again. Diana stays conscious, thank-whoever-was-in-charge-that-day, and I check there is no obvious blood draining from her body. I stand out the door and view the scene. I see the Prius, front half crunched in, has obviously seen its last hurrah (but did its job to specs). I can also see the roof of a SUV sitting below me on the RR tracks. Several men rush down the hill with a fire extinguisher. I never see fire, or it being used, as I return to my seat because my back, neck and knee are beginning to realize the adrenaline is withdrawing.
Diana is not very aware of her situation. Dazed, maybe a concussion, we talk – waiting for the EMTs. Diana asks, “Where are we?"
I answer, “Just north of Jtown“.
“OK”, she answers. In a minute she asks, “Where are we“?
I answer, “County road seventeen and fifty”.
“OK”. A few seconds pass and Diana asks, “Where are we?“
I answer, “In the car”. This is repeated many more times for, probably, fifteen minutes.
(Actual CSP report, if you want the cold details)
Bright, flashing lights begin to appear. An extremely efficient, professional group of EMTs appear, too. EMT Clair gave off an air of confidence that helped both Diana and I not freak out, at least to the level we were ready to. Angel on earth, she is. We both are now feeling pains that could be in the spine so on go the neck braces. Man, those cut into the skin! We didn’t notice for a few hours as other pains possess us. I could take a step out as they supported me to the board. Amazing, really, as I think I out massed them both, together. Diana wasn’t so easy. Again, the rescue team excelled. Using a soft cloth from our car, they reached in through the partially gapped door and covered her face and hair with it as the Jaws-of-Life (or some such device) pry the door open wide enough to get Diana through. The process shatters the window, pieces nearly everywhere including in the eye of a Trooper standing on the OPPOSITE side of the car. A quick wash did seem to clear it away, fortunately.
The door gap wasn't so wide that they could carry her out completely. They pulled her through and up but her left leg was useless and the broken rips and sternum produced screams “to high heaven” as they pull her through the gap and onto her own board. Gotta add, hearing my wife expelling such wails (and expletives) is not helpful to my “mind-space”. I trusted our Angel. She gave-off confidence in her ability to do minimal harm, while providing maximum help, that I only sobbed quietly while I was loaded next to m’Bebe already in the ambulance. The ride to Medical Center of the Rockies (MCR) was long but we were away from scene, in good hands, and pain, while extreme, didn’t feel life threatening. The driver had to stop for a while so an EMT could get a line in my arm. Eventually it happened and I’d be nursing the three inch bruise it produced if I didn’t have so many other, much greater, pains to distract me. Adding insult to injury, it was never used.
In the ER it was a tale of two tragedies. We were in separate rooms. Understandable. We both were x-ray’d most everywhere and then CT scanned head to nearly toes because of the back pain we both felt. Diana had three cracked ribs and a cracked sternum but no other bone or head injuries identified. Noel, too, was apparently clear from head or spine injuries but has a left tibia crack and divot at the top (knee) end. A two-inch gash on the right shin and the four-inch-wide seat belt bruise seemed at least as painful as the knee. Both were untreated which still seems odd. No dressing for the shin; no cold pack for the bruising on the stomach or other bruises that were forming. No discussion of these spots either except to ask if I’d had a recent tetanus shot (I had). I attributed the lack of attention to a busy night but still can’t forgive when, after lying in the room for several hours, I was asked, “Is your ride here yet?”. I was flabbergasted! This was the first indication I was leaving soon, or at all. It was nearly midnight, my back and neck still killing me; my shin and gut hurt and my knee was the only part addressed or even rightfully discussed. I was flummoxed. I didn’t do anything as a response. My left leg was immobilized, I was given crutches and thirty seconds of instruction and sat in a wheelchair with a script for a pain reliever and instructions to get an orthopedic appointment. Remember, it’s Friday night, late and I obviously can’t drive nor have a car, now, anyway. The hospital pharmacy opens at 9a. I’m pained in about five places and given inadequate time or instruction to cope.
Diana, I’m very happy to report, fared much better. Just five doors away I now slowly, carefully hobbled to her room and promptly vomited. Exhausted from the 30ft crutch challenge and already increasing pains of knee, stomach and shin, the dam broke and not for the last time this night. Concern I’d been released so couldn’t just give me more drugs, a quick-thinking nurse checked the computer and the apparently inept team from my room hadn’t closed me out yet. She got me the anti-nausea pill and all settled for awhile. I collapsed into a provided wheelchair.
Everything there was so much better. Diana was being given a few different drugs, finding one that worked. She was being talked to and questioned about her pains. She shortly later was admitted and the ER people pushed her and I to her room on the fourth floor. That team invited me to stay with her all the way. They helped make that happen.
The Trama floor personnel, where Diana (and I, as a spectator) went were even nicer, if possible. They immediately made up the couch as a bed, for me, and gently as possible transferred Diana to her new home (for the next four days). Diana, even more than most of us, I think, wants to know what’s happening now and what is coming up. The crew regularly kept a board with information of names of nurse on duty, CNAs, various medication times, day and date, room number, attending doctor and sundry items that gave Diana orientation.
Saturday 9/30 – Much of the above took place, technically, on Friday but we did try to sleep so our day started after that. Our plans for today, to say the least, have been compromised. A walk at Chupunga Park, the newest Lego Movie, an evening with friends with Diana crafting…gonna be awhile until any of this is possible again.
Lots of adjusting to the hospital stay. I’m just hanging out on the couch in Diana’s room or in the wheelchair I came up from the ER in. My wonderful son brought things up from home for both Diana and I. Clothes (hers were cut away), my pain & daily meds, phone chargers (I’ve been shutting it off when I can), and MtDew for my caffeine addiction. He’s trying to retrieve things from our crunched car but meeting roadblock after roadblock. I’m too lethargic to care – yet. Harry's been such a help. He's missing a wedding in Springs that his new wife is in to help us. Sad.
Sunday 10/1 – Diana's x-ray this morning is worse. Atelectasis is evident. This is caused by her shallow breathing because of the rib & sternum pain. She has a “blowy thing” (Incentive Spirometer) to help strengthen the lungs & fill out the collapsing parts. This device becomes a constant companion for many weeks. She must, and does, use it regularly but progress is slow. And painful. PT and OT for Diana is good but when her “little brother”, Mark, shows she gets a big workout. She trusts him and she’ll allow herself to be pushed by him unlike the “waifs” that she thinks can’t handle her. Good stuff.
Monday 10/2 – I leave the hospital for the first time this morning for an Orthopedic appointment. New brace is better, marginally, and a CT scan is needed for a better assessment. Surgery probable but I'll resist for a couple months, at least, as I've a wonderful lady that is much worse off than I am and needs my help. It'll be OK someday. Harry shuttles me to the doctor. Such help we'd never have managed without. Diana's shows good progress with her lung issures. Still on O2 but continued Insentive Spirometer and Pickle use is helping with healing.
Tuesday 10/3 – Going home! A complicated day, logistically, but after a couple of trips by Harry and Ali all the "stuff" is transferred and so are Diana and I. Yay, team Hali! Good and scary to be home. Diana is still on 2 liters/hour of O2 and we had to wait for the Oxygen company to come, after 8p, to get her off the portable tank and on to the home unit. Long day and I am afraid it won't be a very restful night. It is a very painful and very long process for either of us to get to the bathroom, especially so because there are no nurses to assist. Getting on and off a toilet with broken knees and Diana with cracked ribs and sternum is beyond intelligible words. Plenty of screams and expletives, though.
(IF you are curious as to what this kind of care costs, here ya go! Diana's Ambulance, ER and hospital statement --- Noel's Ambulance, ER statement)
Wednesday 10/4 – Brother-in-law Mark’s 50th Bday Surprise Party was tonight. I got him a very cool, gag gift. We, obviously, couldn't go. Sounds like it was roaring good time. Sad.
Thursday 10/5 – Time, as I mentioned, moves so fast - and slow. It takes so long to do anything so before you know it a couple of hours have past. Breakfast prep (so simple) takes forever. And time passes so slowly as I hear, all too often, Diana's whimpers or outright cries of pain that I can't do anything to mitigate. Heart retching and necessary, now, all because of a thoughtless drunk that is, now, a three time DUI loser. I try to ignore "that person" and focus on our needs for recovery but, sometimes, especially when I see Diana's struggles, bitterness wells up. Nearly all will say it's understandable. I know it's not helpful but...
Friday 10/6 – A day of anger, fueled, of course, by pain. Started with a knock on the door and a certified letter to sign for. It was a notification from “Lee’s Towing “, the place the Prius was towed to. On Saturday, my son Harry had called them to clean it out for us. They answered and he was told he'd need a POA to access the car. He diligently found a form and a Notary in the hospital (no simple task!) and headed to the storage yard in Milliken. They were CLOSED! No mention of that when he said he'd be coming just their CYA BS. It seems they take the car, charge $30 a day to store a car we can't access and don't even think it's important to say so. It gets better. After receiving the letter today I called to discuss the situation. First, I'm told the letter was sent, “because it is required by the state”. Next, I'm told I could disregard the letter, it is just required to be sent. This surprised me so I moved forward with why that was so. The lady said the insurance would take care of the charges. I described, in detail now, about the accident, how my wife and I are incapacitated and I don't understand how they'd have the responsible party's insurance info but if so could they share it with me (my heart skipped a beat – we couldn't find this insurance information). She then gives me my insurance info. Obviously not useful and not the responsible person's insurance information. I proceed to ask how to settle this, now, with them. This lady seems befuddled at this point and a lady, identifying herself as “the owner “ takes the phone. She pretends, at least, to have no idea what had transpired so far so I start at the beginning and explain about not being able to gain access last weekend, how the accident happened and about the drunk driver that is responsible for it all. I acknowledge they have expenses and offer to mail my title to them. She says she'd settle for some specific amount around $350 and the title. I reiterate our problems, not least of all financial, and I offer $100 and the title to end this. She answers, “You can keep your f**king hundred and we'll see you in court”, and slams the phone down in my ear - thus my day begins.
I have a similarly frustrating conversation with my insurance company about paying the towing bill. I'd filled out a claim, on-line, which is great, with all the info I knew. I later receive a phone call wanting me to reiterate everything I put on the form, item by item. I refused and told them to read it and then call me with any specific questions remaining and hung up. Jeez!
The day did end well as three angels stopped in with food for the week and whisked the laundry away. They cleaned the kitchen, did dishes, vacuumed and, amazingly, put away the pile of stuff from the Prius that had taken over our couch and dining room. So much help!
Saturday 10/7 – One of the first Facebook items I see today is a “Live Feed” at the morning launch at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. We have motel reservations for there tonight and for next Saturday. Canceled just in time to not be charged. I won’t discuss, just now, the disappointment.
Demolition Derby at Island Grove this afternoon. Gave those tickets to a friend. I hope they enjoy it. “Sigh”.
Shower seat arrived today from Amazon Prime. Reacher, too (yay!). Now gotta ask someone to assemble it. I could – almost, I think, but if I fail it could be painful. Sucks to NEED SO MUCH HELP. Not in my personality… It's interesting how relatively quickly time passes. Pains make everything take so much longer. Plus exhausting just doing simple tasks and exercises given us by PT. Lots of sleep, too. 12 hours a day, or more, total. Just wasting my life away.
Tonight my son, Harry, and his wonderful wife, Ali are going to “The Great American Beer Festival” in Denver. I think it would be great to go, too, but the thought of seeing people that I fear might go out and drive when they shouldn’t is devistating. This feeling may wain with time but, for now, I won’t put myself in a place that this image floods my thoughts. I trust my son to be careful and try to never nag him to, “be careful”. Tonight I had to reiterate to him, several times, to, “be careful with his alcohol”. Sad.
On the bright side (dim, narrow, Tea candle, almost out flame), I finally got to discuss my towing claim with my insurance company. This was largely in hopes of collecting from my Towing Endorsement on the Prius for the tow to Lee’s Towing and Asshats. We’ll see on that BUT I was advised they will check state databases, via VIN and plate number, for auto insurance on the vehicle that crashed us. Hopeful.
Full disclosure, an earlier call from the insurance company was a source of my Saturday angst. I'd filed the claim on line and after a minute or so into the conversation I asked, “What is the purpose of this call”? The answer was, essentially, to read to me the entries I’d entered the day before. I went ballistic. I CANNOT STAND this kind of redundancy. I filled out the form completely. If you detect omissions or ambiguity, ask about that but don’t do your job with me on the line!
Sunday 10/8 – Quieter day expected. No visits expected. Broncos are on their Bye week. Naps, of course, as sleeping is the best release from pain – until it isn’t. “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me” and “Ask Me Another One” are over so multiple renditions of “Chicken Attack” on YouTube are about all that remains to lighten the day.
Monday 10/9 – Harry again to the rescue! We'd placed an order at Walmart, using their phone app, that he picked up for us on the way to get me. (A great service at Walmart - load into the car and everything.) He brings it all in and I can, slowly, help put the cold stuff away. We have a few minutes so he attends to my "Harry-do" list. Improve the shower chair stability; fix a cabinet door; a loose carpet edge in the kitchen. Then off to my CT scan in Greeley. His new truck is fantastic but a bit of a challenge to get into for a gimp. It would have been easier if today didn't include the seasons first snow! No simple dusting, either. It gave at least five inches overnight so the running board was wet and muddy. I made it in and out - again slowly - several time without actual incident, if you don't count anxiety. Scan was uneventfully, thankfully, and the next stop is one I've been dreading all weekend. Lee's Towing. I'll simply say it went well, surprisingly (the bitch from the phone call last week wasn't there). They even tried to give the Prius' plates to us but the front one, along with the rest of the front of the car, was missing. Back home to check on my m'Bebe and, I'm happy to report, did fine without my assistance. Now Harry addresses a bigger job at home. Last night it was in the mid twenties and I've been rather distracted the week prior to this cold snap. Harry did all the disconnecting and winterizing I couldn't. Another save! We leave my wonderful wife, again, to pick up a rental car for the plethora of appointments coming this week. Well, OK, we did stop for lunch - the first meal "out", for me, for over a week. I so appreciate the good food we've been given but this tastes like freedom.
Tuesday 10/10 – On our own, it seems. Got a rental car with big front doors. Loading us in with bum knees and oxygen and walkers took over half an hour. Probably good it was sub-freezing as I broke a sweat early in the process. We had back-to-back appointment at 750a with our GP. Our GP, of a decade plus, retired recently so we saw a doctor we'd never seen before. Not the best time to "break-in" a new guy! We were happily surprised as he was attentive to our wide variety of injuries. He dealt with us together and separately. He gave us benchmarks to hope for and treated wounds in a straightforward, confidence building manner. It was as good of an experience as we could have hoped for. Granted out expectations were low and anxiety ridden but I know he is the right doctor for us in a delicate time. We made a Walmart stop (probably a mistake) as it was so exhausting. I got to ride one of their electric carts, though. It's not as fun as it looks. We drove through to mail a letter to the Victim's Assistance group, too. Got handicapped placard ('til Oct/2020 - I promise not to abuse it, unless it's raining...or really cold...or I'm in a hurry...or). Diana's PT in PM. First drive on expressway & Diana screamed when car cut in front (not really all that close, really) - I cried. The things that drunk took away are being remeasured daily, hourly. When we got home we napped for nearly three hours!
Wednesday 10/11 – Diana, nearly two weeks into this "adventure" (stiff upper lip and all, ya'know?) is finally interested in her computer. Somehow the trackball she likes to use has disappeared so we go to her offices and ask a co-worker to bring her's from her office out to us. So many came out to see her. They kinda needed to see she was actually alive, we think. Diana had OT in the afternoon and it was encouraging. Diana really needs to stand & walk (with walker OK) more. Friend Mary picked up our laundry - again. Such a help!
Thursday 10/12 – Today, and starting yesterday somewhat, we feel the light at the end of the tunnel might not be a train lumbering at us. Very tired from X-rays, then PA visit, then more X-rays. I pushed Diana in a wheelchair from hospital to office building and back. My leg is "barking". Friend Judy brings two trays of white lasagna and cleans the kitchen! Wow! Then Diana had PT. No "counting flowers on the wall..." for us - yet.
Friday 10/13 – friggatrisksaidekaphobia? As good of an excuse as any. One suckin' day! Yesterday was, finally, looking up. Last night and into today is miserable. Legs back to pain levels of 10-12 days ago. Vicodin not touching it. Lack of sleep certainly isn't either.
Another great visit from Beth and Hayley! More wonderful food, kitchen cleanup and vacuuming (until the belt broke...And Hayley, of course, took it along to fix it. Wow! Just wow!) Hayley brought Diana's recent tie-dyed projects over - all washed out and dried. That's another project we just couldn't get finished. They look fantastic, too. We could get used to these Friday night delights (lol).
Saturday 10/14 – We slept over 11 hours last night without much restlessness. I expect a nap today, too. This pain stuff sure knocks one for a loop. So very thankful that our refrigerator is full and that the microwave works just fine. Here's to great friends and family that have kept us as comfortable as possible, under the circumstances! Diana has started to do some crafting for the first time since THAT night. That does both are hearts good to see this desire returning. This, too, was the first day we saw no one except each other.
Sunday 10/15 – Shower Day! So much work we just can't do it often. We don't smell each others stink so the rest of you will have to suck it up! Sorry.
Monday 10/16 – Most of this won't make sense; I apologize in advance. We both, concurrently, saw our Orthopedic Surgeon this morning. The bottom line is neither of will need surgery soon. I'd dreamed this would be a day of good news (and I'm hoping for even more). People often say to us, "You're lucky you're not dead". It's hard to feel lucky with regards to our present circumstances. It sucks and not an iota of fault is ours. I say that to say this: "Today I feel lucky". Relieved is perhaps a better description but, today only, I'm going with lucky!
As to the nonsense? Well, someday, not many years off I'll need a knee replacement. We know it'll be at least three more months until Diana's ribs and sternum will heal. It'll be as long for her knee to work well and probably another month until she graduates from walker to cane. A month more will pass before we know if her "on fire" leg will reduce it's pain or further testing is needed. I can walk, in a straight line (twisting is problematic), without an aid. It makes no sense to celebrate but these goals now seem real and achievable. That's all the luck I have.
Tuesday 10/17 – Today's chore is cathartic and gut retching. The District Attorney's office, that will be prosecuting the criminal that changed our life, has sent each of us a form to advise them of our losses (financial and otherwise) and our wishes for her sentencing. I'll probably muse over this the next several days as putting feelings and desires into words, for and about strangers, requires a great deal of thought. My response will be simple when compared to Diana's, I think. This doesn't need to be in for many days but, I think, I feel that the sooner I get these done the better the outcome and sooner it'll be behind us. I'm generally a patient sort but this mess is pushing my limits.
Physical therapy again today for Diana. She is doing the work and her knee and general stability is getting better little by little. Her leg/nerve pain is getting worse, though. An occasional pain spike makes it even worse than the somewhat lower, yet constant, pain in her upper right thigh. There is nothing but time for this. The hope is as the inflammation continues to wain the pressure on the nerve, and therefore the pain, will disappear. Time...time. So frustrating for me to just sit and watch, helpless. It is so hard to judge when she'll be able to get out and about or, especially, back to work. We discovered today that paperwork from the doctor "certifying" her time off is lost. I sit in the middle of three possible places that messed this up. Doctor, Weld HR or Sunlife (the processing company for FMLA). We've a few days to sort it out before the error becomes "sticky". It's just another step that adds stress to the recovery process. I try to insulate Diana from these issues but, alas, I don't always remember or otherwise succeed. (Sigh)
Wednesday 10/18 – I worked outside today! Been beautiful weather so I WALKED around (with leg brace) and moved some things around to make a path for a clothes washer we will get in a few days (this one broke a few days before THAT day). Nice to be useful, somewhat, again. Diana had her last OT visit that included a looonnnnggg walk. O2 didn't plummet, either, so looking up (but still feels like so little progress).
Thursday 10/19 – Last night (early this morning, actually) we both got another scare. We set an alarm for spacing the pain relievers and one is at one AM. Diana nearly always shuffles (via walker, of course) to the bathroom during this interruption and I lie awake listening for her to come and go. I didn't stay awake, apparently, and when I woke with a start about fifteen minutes later I ran to the bathroom and she was gone! I checked rooms along the way - nothing. I come back to the bedside to get my phone...she's in bed asleep. A minor heart attack in the making, of my own making, really. However, I learn later that she did, in fact have her own problem during that bathroom trip. She's getting enough better that she moved too fast and fell, or partially so, along the hallway. She recovered but probably set back the knee's recovery a few days. I'll be more diligent - I promise.
More wonderful people stopped by today, of course. PT Gresilda (no, not of SAO) that pushes Diana to walk outside. We discussed various cane styles, too. Diana isn't ready for that leap, yet, but may be in a week or two. Gotta try to keep ahead of these things to keep costs down and recovery up. Mary, the sweetest lady ever and a co-worker of Diana's when she worked in Windsor, dropped in after work and picked up a weeks worth of laundry - now for the third time - and will have it back, folded and such, in just a couple of days. So much help! It's nearly unbelievable. So many people doing so many wonderful things for us that is surely aiding our recovery.
Friday 10/20 – Horrible night. Haven't been able to sleep even with sleep meds and Vicodin but last night was the worst for awhile. The bruising on both shins is really becoming a "distraction". It doesn't cause weakness, per se, but is soooooo tiring to walk much. Diana and I have been side-by-side, literarily, and nearly continuously, for three weeks today. We were separated on the ride home from the hospital for a couple hours (because we couldn't both fit in the car together with legs extended) and I've gone to the mail box while she is attended by her Physical Therapist. All this togetherness has not gotten on our nerves except for just a couple minor misunderstandings. I think this is remarkable (and wonderfully reinforcing).
The morning brought a wonderful surprise, however. We didn't know, until an incoming email from our wonderful friend, Mary, that she'd dropped our laundry off to our porch earlier that morning! She'd just picked it up last evening. So amazing...
It's really not fair that the colorful bruises we both had have almost disappeared. That is, the color has; the pain associated with them, however, lingers on. I prefer the "badge of horror" while experiencing the effect. Two of "Angels" stopped in with MORE FOOD! Yum! Also, they loaded the dishwasher for me and vacuumed the carpets (and they'd brought the repaired vacuum cleaner -Wow!) I can do these things, probably, but it still takes forever and the knee and lower legs do respond negatively to the activity.
Saturday 10/21 – Slept better, the both of us. Not straight through but with interruption therefore we got about eight hours in while lying in bed for twelve. Noon time constitutional for the mail (one package - Whee!) and then a day of napping and TV. "...and so it goes". -K. Vonnegut
Sunday 10/22 – No more sleep comments. The norm seems to be, "much try, not much do" -Yoda?
Monday 10/23 – Busy day! Diana had an appointment first thing today. Harry came by to take care of transportation, then he and I came back to the house to take care of putting the snow tires for the crunched Prius up for sale. We got Diana back home and tucked in, after a long, hard walk to the offices and back. Harry took me to get a new (used) clothes washer delivered on Wednesday. Yahoo! He also tolerated me driving around Walmart to fill in our grocery gap for another week (carless) or so.
The final news I'd been waiting for came via a phone call this afternoon. We were made aware last night that the Drunken Criminal that changed our life 25 days ago has Progressive automobile insurance. We made our claim, of course. Today the Claims Rep called to "ask a few questions".
I said, "I'll answer all of yours if you'll answer just one for me". She said she couldn't tell me anything about the insured. I understood and still asked, "Was the policy paid up and in force on September 29, 2017?"
The Claims Representative reiterated that she couldn't discuss the policyholders information but that, "I shouldn't get my hopes up". Sure glad I hadn't done that for the last 20 hours or so.
Tuesday 10/24 – Turns out it isn't difficult, at all, to buy a car without leaving the house. Our "replacement" Prius (2012 Prius V) should be delivered to our door on Friday. Cool! Of course, neither of us can really drive but I can, in a pinch, for up to half an hour without cramping up too much. Having a car for minor emergencies is reassuring. Perhaps it's just "old school" thinking. I hope to need it soon to continue my Lyft driving, also. The bills are piling up.
Wednesday 10/25 – Busy day means looonnnnngggg nap! PT (3 in home visits to go. I hope she'll be up to leaving the house for out patient PT after that). Delivery from a benefactor of a used clothes washer (and the taking of the old one away). Less reliance, in a way, on others for these mundane chores. So thankful for the help! The bathroom revealed all its crud, though, so spent hours (on a job that you could do in less than one) cleaning, "where no one has gone before" - not for several years anyway.
Diana's using a cane in the house, most of the time. Noel should be. Neither will go out far, for now, without a walker. Diana's O2 is improving, too. It's barely below 90% when we try it without supplement for awhile. I'm sure our next doctor's appointment, on Monday, will end that burden. My leg may be getting worse, actually. Perhaps I'm using the knee more so it hurts more or maybe the swelling is receding so the separation isn't supported as much. Time, once again, will be the arbiter. A knee replacement seems to loom sooner and sooner.
Thursday 10/26 – No appointments (no car, anyway), no plans (except filling our "new" clothes washer!), no worries! (ha!).
Friday 10/27 – I've been "working" through the pain. Last night and particularly today, its caught up with me, I'm afraid. I've isolated that Percocet was making me dizzy. I've only had an occasional IBU in the past two days. I guess I was running on the accumulative effect of three weeks of heavy use. Let's see if I can find a compromise quantity so I can still get out of bed but stop crying.
The day got better because of some pain distractions. Our "new" car got dropped off mid-afternoon by the trucking company. Leg pain on top of having to walk a block to where the truck had to park kept me from giving it the inspection I should have. (The next day proved that that hadn't been necessary. Whew!) I feel safer now. Second, a friend of Diana's came by in the evening and they crafted for a couple hours. I even took this opportunity to use our new car to drive to pick up our once favorite pizza. Yum! Ate too much, though.
Saturday 10/28 – Feeling better. Had a good visit from a past co-worker's of Diana. They always talk shop when they get together (something I can't do well) so it's a great distraction for her. I'm glad to see it. Took a ride and dropped off a bunch of outdated drugs, mostly mom's, to the Johnstown Police Station. Nice to be able to get out, randomly.
Sunday 10/29 – Gonna see if "real world" action is possible. Walmart. Walk in and get us both electric carts. Small shopping. Walk out. Babys with baby steps.
We finally, now we have a car, made a visit we've been wanting to make since September 29th. The EMTs that first helped us on that night are part of a team for Front Range Fire and Rescue, we've discovered. Claire and Nick (the names and faces we most remember) and the rest of that team were superb! We found their station in Milliken and were able to thank them and talk with them for awhile this morning. Emotional for us but rewarding. THANK YOU guys! If ever you, dear reader, are in such a need of emergency assistance, I suggest you ask for them :)
Exactly a month ago today was our Waterloo (but, to extend the analogy, I hope our stay in Elba will be less than 300 days). It is exactly twelve years ago, today, Diana and I went on our first date together. It was exactly eleven years ago, today, Diana and I were Handfasted (married, if you wish). Celebrations this year are somewhat less obvious but, perhaps even more heartfelt. Neither of us want to imagine having endured this past month without the other. I LOVE YOU, m'Bebe!
Monday 10/30 – It's a weekday, now, so maybe we can get some answers. Its amazing, when one day seems exactly like the next, being laid up for recovery, how annoying it is that people don't work all the time - whenever we need them. (Sigh) Well, the day started with Diana visiting the PA from the hospitalist team. They'd prescribed everything she's taking, at this point, so we'll follow up, this last time on those things and transfer "care" to our GP for anything leftover. I ask a lot of questions of the providers. I can't imagine how anyone that relies solely on the doctor gets adequate care. I experienced this, big-time, when helping with my mom's care later in life and still see it now. My questions, almost without exception, causes the professional to "think" of alternative or additional care that hadn't been mentioned previously. Today the introduction of Lidocaine patches and a specialist that deals with concussions came in play. Both great ideas, I think. It takes a month to introduce these very helpful ideas? Geez!
Tuesday 10/31 – Trying to see if everyday, "real" life, can ever happen again. Carwash (went OK - drive through, after all). Chip repair of the Prius' windshield (everyone very nice but getting in an out of car and sitting in waiting room for twenty minutes wasn't as easy as it sounds). Stop for inspection of car for insurance (didn't go well but find later didn't need one anyway). Oil change (they couldn't get the filter off, we find out after an hour wait). Whew! Not a good start but very real, no?
Home and wait for Diana's PT (late) so try several phone calls to try to get people/companies to do as they'd promised. One good response (after on hold for seventeen minutes and getting handed off five times). Two hadn't sent things as promised. One I left message with did call back. One didn't. One said she'd call, "right back". Three hours later called back while I was one phone and asked me to call back tomorrow. I'm guessing tomorrow won't go much different.
I accidentally, absent-mindedly, knelt down on the "bad" knee. Screams to the rafters (does a '65 mobile home have rafters?). Curiously it has felt much better ever since. Why is Cigna paying all these doctors?
We did get two trick-or-treaters (which is two more than we've gotten in the past five years here). Cat doesn't get why he can't come and go as usual.
Wednesday 11/1 – Meltdown Wednesday. Burners understand. I'll leave it at that.
Thursday 11/2 – I'm back on the road, so to speak, again. That is I've gotten all the paperwork back into Lyft for the new car and can drive again. Probably won't much as Diana still needs a lot of help at home, but some, I think. Bills do pile up, no?
Had a fun morning putting together fruit and candy gift boxes for a couple of big THANK YOU places. I successfully dropped one off for the EMTs that helped us so much on THAT night. I do hope they all get to enjoy some of it.
Friday 11/3 – The affects of Diana's concussion are getting more obvious. She's not getting more forgetful, exactly, but not let so, either. One of her therapists experienced a similar concussion and used stimulus deprivation for 24 hours and think it helps the brain to heal. I'm sure it can't hurt so we'll give the idea a shot. Perhaps in shorter intervals. We've been given a referral to a specialist in concussions but the next appointment is in January. Not very useful.
There is some question, too, as to the harm some of the exercises Diana was given may be doing to the sternum, most particularly. We'll back off on most of the upper body exercises and hope the pain there decreases soon.
We delivered another THANK YOU fruit basket this morning. This one to Diana's workplace. They've been so helpful with food and services and gift card. It certainly limited some of my angst when I wasn't much help in caring for Diana. THANKS guys! We did stop at a store on the way home and got Diana out to walk in an out of it. Once home, of course, her knee will be greatly swollen but getting back into the real world and stretching little used muscles is important. m'Bebe steps...
Saturday 11/4 – We did finally make it to Scheel's. It opened the morning after our big crash and was on our list to visit, just for fun. Not everyday a store with a full size Ferris Wheel inside opens nearby. They had electric carts or we wouldn't have been able to stay long, and as it was we tired quickly, but we are, in a way, catching up to life as it was. Slower, painfully and broke but we are trying to not let that drunk bitch completely take us out. Trying...
Thursday 11/16 – I've not been writing (obviously). Too depressing, mostly, but largely because I expected more improvement in our lives. Some issues are better but some that weren't being addressed are coming forward, especially for Diana, that have longer-term implications. We'd felt that the coming of 2018 would return us to "normality". Clearly a pipe dream, we now see. Frustrating, obviously, but doubly so as we now suspect returning to our previous plans & dreams is farcical.
Diana has now seen 12 different medical professionals since THAT night. I'm, btw, counting the EMT's, the ER and the hospital stay, as only one each. There are, probably, two more unique ones to go - perhaps more. I've known for many years that most doctors are really lousy at treating multiple, though unrelated, health issues. "Well, lets get your ribs and sternum healed then we'll look at the other things". NO! How does that make any sense?
Some treatment hasn't even started yet, do to other pains or fractures or such getting in the way. Did you know that therapy for ribs and sternum are the opposite of each other? What do you do then? Nothing...attempt to mitigate the pain and hope for the best. Did you know that a concussion can make your eyes not track correctly to read, etc? They can be retrained, with time. There are full time nerve pains, similar to Fybromyalgia but trauma induced and more localized, that can't be cured. How about PTSD? It can be retriggered after years of dealing with it and making great strides and then, through no fault of one's own, one must start all over. How does all that figure into the future? Did I mention financial implications of it all? No, I can't just yet...
Wednessday 11/22 – "You were so lucky! It could have been much worse." "At least you're getting better." "You must have had an angel watching over you. You could have died!"
KEEP YOUR POLLY-ANNA CRAP TO YOURSELF! Lucky? God was watching over us? Better? Listen, I understand you feel awkward and, probably, sympathy for our situation. I understand optimism and a "positive attitude" is the societal cure for everyone else. Let me suggest you try something else...
I don't feel lucky that I may never be able to take a casual walk around the Sculpture Park with my wife ever again. You think knowing that it could be worse (like it could have been you?) gives me solace? Worse encumbrances a very long list. Ain't it great Yellowstone didn't explode at the same time? IF we have an angel watching over us it was a most unfortunate time for it to go to Starbucks. The prospect of being a pauper will carry such a wonderful life lesson, I'm sure. Good Grief!
You wanna help? I'll make some suggestions. I do this more for all the others out there that you'll encounter than for ourselves. Really.
Figure out how I feel about the situation. Don't tell me how I should feel. DO something to help. Small is OK. Don't say, "If there is anything I can do for you, let me know". Don't start that way, anyway. We won't tell you until we see you mean it by your actions. If you know me you probably can guess SOMETHING that will show me you really care. If you don't know me well, that's OK. Suggest a few things you are willing to do for me that you might like in a similar situation. If you don't wanna actually help by doing, that's OK, too. I don't expect anything from you. I'm not your problem.
Also, please don't forget me. I probably can't return your generosity or even interest in my problem very much just now. Maybe I'll never do it for you -directly. Let's hope you won't need it. I promise this is a perfect "pay it forward" situation. I won't forget. My current problem will last longer than a week or three. My "needs" won't stay the same, either. Perhaps you aren't a "doer". No problem. One of the many, many gifts we got, for example, was a Walmart Gift Card, which we used to order groceries online and my son picked up for us. The timing was perfect. Food. So much food. It was great to not have to think about having food available. In many ways it was the show of concern that meant as much as the the actual food. Recovery is better when you feel loved.
Bitter, much? Yes, but not about you. We've experienced so much help that we'd never had been able to guess it. You know who you are and we'll never be able to thank each of you adequately. If you can accept that your help to us will mean help from us someday to you, or probably, someone else, I hope you feel thanked.
Monday 11/27 – This morning Diana's primary care doctor confirmed she can't return to work until next year. Between rib and sternum pain, left knee pain and swelling, right upper leg nerve pain, PTSD and ongoing concussion issues she's certainly can't do much beyond lying in bed most of the time. She does have Physical Therapy and Vestibular Therapy weekly. She will be getting an MRI of her knee and of her spine this week to try and find why the knee isn't recovering as expected and where the root of the nerve pain is. The ribs and sternum are healing as expected but that still mean regular use of Opioids to allow her to get to the therapy and doctor appointments. Therapy for PTSD starts soon, too. Between these many specialists and being exhausted from pain or drugs, sleep is about all that's left. I take some solace that Morpheus give her relief for about half the day.
Link to: "Gloom, Despair, Agony and Me"
Epilog: November 9, 2018 - 405 days, 14 hours after our life changed, significantly, forever, the drunk was sentenced. We spoke, as "evidence" it was called, and I cried. Diana was my rock that I sorely needed. I didn't expect this reaction, but the future boiled down to one word, for me, it is about all I said. "Walking", I managed to squeak out. I said a little more in an attempt to explain its meaning in this case, but it seemed to be unnecessary. Everyone understood the essence of why I chose to say it.
Laura Duncan, the 50-something drunk that changed our future, spoke, too. She tried to convince the judge that she was contrite; that she is a changed woman. She, we learned, had been stopped for drunk driving just five days before hitting us. She had two previous DUI convictions before that, as well. The result, however, was two and one-half years in County Jail (which probably will actually be less than a year, after all is said and done) to be followed by three years of supervised probation. She'll also be ordered to make full, financial, restitution to us. The exact amount and process is yet to be determined. I'll take this opportunity to say that the court, the DA and the Victim's Rights assistant were very helpful and showed compassion for our situation. So much for this…
Its been several months since I've written so I'll add to this Epilog some health updates. My knees are painful after walking less than a hundred yards. This, I'm come to realize, is significant. It limits so much. Going to a parade is out (one can seldom park within a hundred yards of a sitting place to watch a parade of any size). Likewise this goes for major sporting events (though the Colorado Rockies do a great job of accommodating the handicapped so we've been able to take is a couple games), museums, street fairs or most of the activities we regularly enjoyed before September 2017. Many of you know of our goal to see all National Park Unit facilities (Parks, Monuments, Battlefields, Cultural Centers, etc.) but that is mostly pointless now. We can drive to the Visitor's Center and look at their displays but to enjoy most of these places it requires some walking and that is usually beyond our comfort zone. Diana has pains and problems well beyond mine and this is limiting, of course, and a constant issue for me to witness. Sitting for long periods is a problem so many restaurants and movie theatres are out. It is amazing what restrictions are caused by one inconsiderate moment by a drunk with two tons of destruction.
I've learned, too, how to treat others in tragic situations. I've always tried to educate myself in the art of first aid and to assist others with it and generally go out of my way when no one else seems to be. My social and emotional skills with regard to others, after the emergency has passed, was lacking, however. I now believe it is important to NOT try to find the silver lining for someone else. NOT to say things like, "at least you didn't get killed" or "you sure were lucky it wasn't worse". You know (and have said) a myriad of other such trite drivel. I now can better watch for cues and do NOTHING to minimize what has happened. The "might have been worse" scenarios are not useful and condescending. I've also learned to help. To help right then and there. Do NOT offer, "if there is anything I can do, just let me know". Good people will seldom ask. DO SOMETHING and they'll see you mean it and might ask for help in a way you haven't thought of. I know you want to help and you probably don't know what to do. DO SOMETHING to demonstrate you are sincere and keep doing something as long as you can. I'm not great at this yet but I'm better than I was. We had great examples of both sides of this coin - helping and trying to help and those missing all the clues and only interested in saying how "lucky" we are. I implore you not to experience something like we have to learn this lesson.