Thursday, December 3, 2015

She Never Saw Me!

My Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Nightmare!

On April 1, 2015 at 4:15 p.m. only three blocks from my home I was hit by car backing out of the drivers driveway.  I was in my power wheelchair walking Dakota.  She never saw me.  How I do not know.  She claimed the back of her car was too high.  I was wearing red and white and decked out like a stop sign.  She just never looked.  

8 months later  I am still dealing with these injuries.  No relief in sight.   Since the accident 8 months ago my ADL (Activities of Daily Life) & leisure activities have been severely limited.  

Now I need HELP

From the MRI results we understand that there is validation for the amount of pain that I am in.  Factor in I need to use my arm all the time to body lift my 105 lb body, transferring from wheelchair to bed, bed to chair, to toilet, to floor, to pool, to benches, etc. My arms are also my legs.   Anybody who has been on my amputation journey with me, knows that I have been completely able to do that hundreds of times a day.  That I could garden, swim, skateboard, climb on the kitchen counters to reach items at the highest level.  I gardened, camped, surfed, and climbed jungle gyms at the park for exercise.  I was evaluated at rehab hospital (2013) when getting my prosthetics and I never even needed one hour of occupational therapy.  There was nothing that I could not do.  With and without prosthetics. 

The accident was April 1st.  The MRI did not happen until end of August.  Follow up with physiatry was September 22nd.  His Rx for guided infiltration cortisone has not happened yet.  Orthopaedic consults have not happened yet.  81/2 months later.

As of my conversation with my SAAQ claims assistant, they thought I was just bruised they had no idea the extent of my injuries, and the impact it had on my ADL.  They did not have my MRI results on file.  I am including them with this list.

Every task I am listing here I was able to do 100% on my own before the MVA  

My biggest disability was the radiation colitis from my cancer treatments.  Being chained to the toilet.  And chronic fatigue. After many APC procedures from my gastroenterologist it still plagues me to this day.   Not my amputations. I thrived post amputation….. I have done more since amputation than I did in many years previous.  And I was OFF ALL pain medication before the accident.  I was suffering from multiple collateral damage post cancer treatment…..Yes.  But I was MOBILE, useful and lived in my new normal world.

Even with ongoing physiotherapy, I have pain when using my arm above 90 degrees. I am right handed.  And now I am dependant on narcotics to move.

My left arm is sore from over use.  My right arm in addition to the initial damage from the m.v.a. has an over use injury dynamic as well. I have sub deltoid bursitis and a torn rotator cuff, and a torn medial tendon (elbow) from the accident, and now even more pain from repetitive stress from me transferring my body multiple times daily.  My shoulder has not had sufficient time to heal or undergo the natural reparative process because it is my dominant arm and doubles as my leg.  

I am now waiting for help and consults with radiology, orthopaedic surgery and occupational therapy.  

I continue physiotherapy exercises and follow-ups with family  medicine and physiatry. 
My physiatrist prescribed my prosthetics, and is very aware of my abilities before accident. 

So what has changed and what is now difficult or impossible since the accident?  

Some things were right from the day I got hit.  Others over time as I keep using my injured side.  Some things are pain related, some consequential and others common sense not to do to make the situation worse until treatment comes.

  1. I cannot push or steer my manual wheelchair.  So dependant on my husband when on outings.   

  1. My power wheelchair that was broken in the accident was replaced by RAMQ.  I am right handed, but the motor controls are now on the left side because the multiple movements needed to drive it all day exasperated the pain in my injured arm/shoulder. 
  2.   It also changes the way I can reach things at home, so changes need to be made to my home environment.   

4.  My drivers license was suspended. I was able to use an adapted vehicle which I own & drive with both my hands which I can no longer drive which is another loss of independence.  I now need my husband to drive, or use paratransit.  Either way I can no longer go where I want when I want.

5. Impossible to use my prosthetics.  The limitations with my arm braced throws me off balance.  Pulling to put the prosthetics on or taking off…requires both arms.  Using crutches requires both arms.  I was walking independently before the m.v.a.  I was supposed to be running by end of summer.  That did not happen.  Thousands of dollars in prosthetics just waiting for me to be able to use them.
6. Cannot brush Dakota, my service dog. Cannot cut Dakota's nails”  I cannot bathe Dakota.  Before I was in total control of his care.  Now I need my husband to do it.

7.  It was too difficult do my hair reaching over my head, so I cut it off. 

8.  Cannot swim using my right arm.  Enjoy doing physiotherapy for hip flexors in the water.  But cannot get in and out of a wet bathing suit, or the pool now.  I was a swimmer before.

9. Difficulty in getting dressed and undressed.  Need help. 

10.  Difficulty in rolling over in bed.  Almost impossible without help.  I used to reach an overhead rope with my right arm pull up and roll over. Husband aids in rolling over.

11. Difficulty using my laptop.  Only use 10 - 15 minutes at a time as opposed to 10 - 15 hrs a day last winter.  

12.  Cannot vacuum the house on my fly board.  A tool that worked well for me before the accident.

13.  Cannot cut the grass with my wheelchair.  (yes I cut the grass, using my power wheelchair).  

14.  Cannot use any garden tools that require reaching.  My garden is my passion and refuge all summer. 

16.  My right arm restricted in a brace to protect it from further injury which limits the amount of range of motion.  I am right handed, so eating and drinking with my left hand is a challenge.  

17.  Difficulty making the bed with one arm.  Yes, I made the bed with no legs. 

18.  André has had to rearrange the house to accommodate the new wheelchair (controls on opposite side) and my limited reach.  Waiting for approval for OT assessment to see what else we can do.

19.  Difficulty in walking the dog holding the leash.  I cannot hold a dog leash and drive power chair.  Dog is on my injured side now because the controls are on the left side.  Dog has to be tethered to my chair.  

20.  Cannot use rope adapted system installation to climb up and down the stairs making it impossible for me to use the basement, do the laundry, take care of our cat, or access anything I have in storage downstairs.  I used to be able to do that daily.  I have not been able to do it since I was hit.

21.  Cannot body lift onto the kitchen counters to reach things in the higher levels.  The reaching over head and lifting down heavy objects is impossible now.  Easy before I was hit.  I had access to all my things.  Now I need help.

22.  Cannot carry pot of water boiling from the stove to the sink on the opposite side of the kitchen to drain like I could before.

23. Cannot use my physiotherapy trampoline for balance exercise with my prosthetics and weights, etc for continued amputee rehab.  Limited range of motion. 

24.  Cannot do my yoga practices, or exercises.  

25.  Necessary  amputee stretching hip flexors on my stomach is also hell with my shoulder.  More hours in my wheelchair has given me pressure sores.

26.  Difficulty transferring from bed to wheelchair, wheelchair to toilet multiple times during the “colitis emergencies” which still plague my life.  Difficulty to transfer and undress during colitis emergencies when timing is crucial.  Now there are embarrassing accidents which require help.  

27.  Difficulty using cell phone because of brace on right arm.  

28.  Cannot write using a pen with the brace on my right arm.  

29.  Cannot use my sewing machine.  (I alter all my own clothing for my residual limbs)

30.  Cannot pull garbage & recycle bins to road, and put them away again.  

31.  Difficulty transferring from the wheelchair to the passenger side of the car.  The controls are in the way.  Super hard from manual wheelchair. Requires a lot more stump weight bearing.

32.  My husband is exhausted taking care of me.    I was INDEPENDENT in our home and our community.  He now has more on his plate than ever before and he is not used to it.  My sudden limitations are a burden.  He feels he has to “be there”.  

33. Purchased voice to text on laptop, but it only works in quiet surroundings.  So I am even limited when I can use that aid.  No background noise, music,  tv, etc can be on.  

34. I cannot play basketball with my grandchildren.  Yes I have my own basketball net and ball.  It was my reward when graduating at rehab.  Throwing baskets on two long leg prosthetics.  Yup that is on you tube too. When I graduated from rehab in 2013 I could walk unaided, no canes or crutches and throw baskets.  

33.  I cannot dive on the diving board because I have to reach overhead and pull myself up the steps. 

34. I cannot body lift out of the pool, because it is reaching over my shoulder level.  Now I will need help with a wheelchair ramp, which is another loss of independence.

35.  I cannot open or close the lid on the hot tub that I was using daily for physiotherapy and other stretching exercises for my hips post amputation. It was adapted and I had no problem with two arms.

36. I cannot take oral anti-inflammatory medications post chemo & radiation due to contraindications.  Prescribed anti-inflammatory medication post MVA increases the frequency of colitis, and upsets my stomach.  

37. Overuse injuries secondary to the impact from the car. Pain in the arm/shoulder after physical activity (transferring to the toilet, bed, etc) , pain during activity, without restricting performance, pain during the activity restricts performance, and chronic, unremitting pain even at rest, worse at night.  I am wiped out from the pain.  

38.  My lupus has flared up since the accident.  

39.  Difficulty with winter clothing.  

40.  Psychotherapy for PTSD (approved by SAAQ, on file, and covered already by the SAAQ)  The stress of waiting for treatments, and the pain is just compounding the anger and amplifying the frustration of loss of independance.  I am angry.  I am upset.   I am depressed.

41.  I was given clearance by physiatry to use my skateboard with my left arm.  But I can’t just “go use it”.  I need help getting from my chair to the floor and back up again.  It was my only way along with swimming & prosthetics to achieve some kind of cardio exercise and relieve stress. 

42.  I cannot lift the glass door off the wood burning stove, light and add wood to fire. We heat with wood burning stove to remove the dampness, and cut heating costs.  

There have been financial consequences of the accident as well. The cost of gas to and from medial appointments.  Parking fees at hospitals & clinics.  
Postage for documents.  Adaptations to the house that André has done.  I did not ask for any of that! A burden we cannot afford.

My quality of life has diminished beyond anything I ever imagined possible.  I am sure some would think losing both legs above the knee would diminish your quality of life.  In my case it was freedom.  It opened up a whole new world of sport and exercise.  It got me out of my wheelchair and on the ground, on my skateboard, on my flyboard, in the pool.  
I just want my pre accident life back. 

 I just want my pre accident life back. I never asked for the pain and these multiple limitations  I know the amputee film and the 10K Terry Fox run were awesome achievements given what I was up against.  BUT I was taking strong pain meds, and there was a price to pay afterwards.   There is always a price to pay in pain levels when I do these activities.  But if I were to just sit and rest, then I would not be living at all.  I would be giving up.  I am not giving up.  
I HOPE there is someone out  there who can help fix this mess faster than it is happening.  It is starting to affect my spirits.  SO much I want to do.  
Until then, we do the daily “Hurry up and wait” game.  We rush to get results to the right sources , just to have to wait for approval.  
And the woman who backed over me with her car.   Ya not even a demerit point.  
While using Dr. Google, I did learn one thing.  Do not believe everything you read on the internet.  Because if I did, I never would have skateboarded into a film for a gala dinner honouring my rehab team, or have a certificate that I did 10K and raised even more funds in the fight against cancer.
I have a LIVESTRONG Leader friend who calls me #Bada$$  I like that title.  I want it back.  Like yesterday.   Now I just need… help.  Like yesterday please.  I have a life to go live and this is not how it was supposed to be happy.  Hey I get life can be messy.  I had cancer, remember?  I just don't want to be held up because somebody ELSE was careless.  That is too high of a price for me to pay.  
To those who have stepped up to help along this journey, we thank you.  We appreciate you.  We love you.  And we will be forever grateful.  
*Love* & *Light* 
Kath aka TEAMNANNY aka "Nanny".   

*Love* & *Light* has been my signature for the past 20 years, and may it continue to help lead you when darkness comes.

*Love* & *Light* has been my signature for the past 20 years, and may it continue to help lead you when darkness comes.



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