Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wrap up / no more (ACCIDENT Final)

It's been over 700 days since the accident, and although I lost count (I used to keep track  until day 605 when I got my license back), this is likely the final update since a relative requested it.

Although the first 50 days could be discluded since I was in "someplace" that I knew nothing about with no memory at all.  So the first part is what I was told mostly by my wife. Time has REALLY changed since I "woke up" in a hospital on day 50.

The 5 W's came into play, but over time, I learned the answer to MOST of them.

Who?  Me, and me alone were in the accident (although there were enough cars on the road ahead/behind me at the time - including police).

What?  My motorcycle - which became history. I called about it, but it was totalled, so I said they could do whatever they wanted with the mangled leftover parts.

Where? Highway 8 in Upper Blackville, NB.

When? Nov. 7, 2011 about 10am.

Why? Don't know anything from the day before, until 6 weeks after - it's a total blank.  But, I was not charged with anything and there was a police car in the traffic, and another responded (along with 2 local girls).

It was a major change in my life - I no longer had a job (since my doctor. put me off long-term), had reduced pay, reduced friends, and the one thing that haunts me -  NO LICENSE (like most things you can't have)...but I had my life, although it took 6 weeks to realize this.

Although there were enough positive things that I became aware of after I woke up on Dec. 19, 2011 - like my family and their welcoming visits and calls! I don't think I would make it this far without their help.... specifically my son and wife.  My son was the first (likely I was not the best thing to see), and last family member to see me in the hospital and visited regularly. My wife helped me beyond any description I can think of, and I would have to rely on her a great deal more - till day 605 (which I was not used to).

One other important thing I had to relearn, was that my mother died between my latest 2 accidents.  I was there, I lived it, but my memory could not be relied on for a long time, and this important thing had to be relearned unfortunately.

As I explained in last blog, after about 80 days, I returned home.

Here I had to first sleep on a craftmatic bed (that we bought after the accident 6 months before). It was setup in the living room for about 2 weeks with my wife beside me. I eventually advanced to go downstairs after my son had to leave to go back to his place. It was an adjustment to see him finally leave, but I used the same bed to sleep in my son's room.  My wife slept in the other bed beside me, where we both slept for a couple more weeks. I then swapped beds with her for a period of time, then it was time for the biggest change. Things became much more normal when I was able to graduate to OUR bed in OUR room!!

Only 13 days after getting home, I had an appointment to see an occupational therapist at the local hospital in early February 2012.  Many professionals would play an important role in my life, and I looked forward to their appointments through the week.  I saw the O.T. for much longer than I thought was possible, and she helped me adjust to the real world a great deal, and would be helpful in many ways beyond my imagination.

In early March 2012, I began seeing a speech therapist at the local hospital.  Although I knew how to speak, I learned that these appointments would be about understanding and interpreting speech.  The bleed on my brain gave me more problems than I thought, and speech and memory were affected.  It wasn't easy, but after being a patient in the hospital and not knowing the difference between a rooster and fork at one time (after being aware), I had no trouble accepting this speech therapy.  This therapy started pretty basic, but it soon increased to make a lot of sense.  I had numerous appointments over the months until there came a time that the therapist had to leave work due to pregnancy (early October 2012).

Later in March 2012, I had to go to Moncton to start seeing the 2 surgeons who operated on me.  I learned that my license would be miles away, and I had the "1 to 2 year range after a head injury" to consider.  When I first saw the surgeons, I wasn't totally there, and from what I remember, the early appointments had most of the conversation directed to my wife. It would be this way until I recuperated more.  A short time later, I met with the other surgeon. There were a few appointments with these men, until there came a time in October 2012 that it ceased with questions by me which I considered high priority.

During these months, I also saw my local General Practitioner more than I thought a person in my position would. But like all these types of appointments, I wasn't going to refuse any. One thing that seemed major to me during the summer, was I learned to sneeze! I had major trouble THINKING about sneezing before this date, but finally I was able to without blowing my head off my neck!

In September 2012, I began going to physio therapy at a local company twice per week. Yes, I did physio in the hospital, and this was quite a delay since January, but I wasn't going to complain over help.  I saw the physio girl at first, and she worked on my shoulder and arm and did magnificent work on each.  I was also shown how to use stretchable bands that needed different strengths to pull each.(many different colours over time). I mostly did these at home along with a large stick for initial stretching, and worked mostly on my right arm/shoulder. It took awhile before advancing to the next harder colour/strength.

The last accident came in handy (usually you don't mix those 2 thoughts together) since I already had some of these bands from then.

The physio continued, until I advanced to the gym section in October 2012.  This was very very welcome, and I couldn't withstand my love of the change. I continued to use the stretchy material there and at home. Other than the stretches with a rigid pole, the elastics continued for 11 exercises, but having BOTH arms worked through weights was a pleasure. The 3 free weights, and 7 stationary weights has increased over much time as the months went by. The stretchy bands continued at home 3 times per day.

In early October 2012, my speech therapist left due to pregnancy. She wouldn't be replaced till mid April 2013 (6+ months) by another girl for 8 new appointments. She then invited my wife in for a short wrap-up meeting, but let me know she wanted to see me for 8 MORE appointments. But they got interesting with more and varied brain exercises.

In December 2012, it was time for me to stop taking warfarin to thin my blood due to a blood clot that a doctor found while I was in the hospital. During this time, I could not drink alcohol, but this day it changed. I didn't turn into a drunk, it just meant I could drink it occasionally like before the accident. But like anything when someone tells you that you CAN'T do something, and then it's cancelled all of a sudden, makes you more of an appreciative drinker haha. So gone, was me telling people that I COULDN'T drink. Also gone were the stresses on my wife who tried her best to stick to a strict diet that kept my blood levels in a certain range, and no need for adjustments afterwards after weekly blood tests (and accusations) and changes in warfarin due to strange readings during those tests.

In April 2013, I began seeing another speech therapist to fill in for the pregnant one. This was different than the last, and I went till late September. It was late, but appreciative.

In late spring/early summer 2013, things began to change......
  • Speech therapy continued, but would soon wrap up.
  • Physio continued until the Spring of 2013 when I decreased to 2 times per week. It continued till late July, when it decreased to once per week and after about a month it ceased.
  • Occupational Therapy had begun decreasing, and I would only go there periodically.
It's much easier if you have a license to go to multi-appointments, so asking someone to drive you constantly gets challenging for both parties (although my wife thankfully never minded).  It would be easier if there was public transportation (municipal or provincial), which would lighten the load of constant drives to many appointments.

A big change happened after an appointment was cancelled "sometime in July" with my doctor in Fredericton at Stan Cassidy, I was able to see my local family doctor as an outpatient. An appointment was to fall at the end of July, but thankfully I'm married to a gal who won't take no for an answer. She again made phone calls to arrange that I see my local Dr. as an outpatient.  The day was going to be July 4, 2013.  I went to my scheduled appointment, and after going through some basic tests, she stamped my license paper. I left the hospital and then realized that I needed to return after not seeing her signature. So back in the hospital and waiting a long time, the form was returned to me completed.

The next stop was at the motor vehicle location and taking the form by the doctor.  I was the only person there, but after a conversation with the attendant, I was told that I`d have to wait till the form was sent to Fredericton and they met to analyze it weeks later.... I was DEVASTATED!  

I left with my driver wife, who saw my disappointment, so after arriving home, she made some phone calls (again). She talked to the Motor Vehicle head-office in Fredericton. She reported that it was for a Class 5 license, and she was told that the flag on my license was now removed, and says I should return to Motor Vehicle.

So we drove back to the license office, I went inside and the previous girl was leaving.  I was told to wait while a different girl looked into it. After enough waiting, I was told to come to the desk. To my surprise, she reported there was a change in my license status, and she had my license printed, and HANDED TO ME!!!  The only reaction I had was to let out a big HOOP and had a disbelief in actually having it in my hands! It had been 605 DAYS!

After leaving, I saw my wife with the camera ready to take my picture with my license in hand!  It was time for ME TO DRIVE! So I hopped in the driver's seat, and drove to the Eel River Bar to soak up some sun, then upriver to Canadian Tire to splurge on excessive wants, then across the river to Caisse-Croute/Mamic a place for lunch.
The days continued with ME driving to occupational/physio/speech therapies and other appointments. Independence Day (July 4th) brought freedom, and less appointments. 

Minor appointments would continue to the end of November 2013, with one to the occupational therapist and finally an MRI Scan. The occupational therapist was harder to finish since I had seen her soon after I was released from the hospital and continued to a week before the MRI. It all was a little odd to go from multiple appointments taking up lots of time (thankfully), to stopping them all after 750 days.

I feel very fortunate to have received many appointments from professionals (5 doctors, 2 speech therapists, 2 physio therapists, neuro-psychologist, and occupational therapist). I feel extremely fortunate about my family who cared and put up with me through many days. I know there's many people who are worse off than myself, but this is what consumed me for 750 days.

One trip I made (by car) later through the same route, I stopped into the place where I had the accident. I talked to the owner of the house to discuss it, and I took some photos in the ditch where my helmet came in contact with a ridge of many rocks embedded into the grass. This was my final place after the collision and flying high through the air.

I'm not the same person I was before the accident, but super lucky that I woke when I did.