On October 11, 2013 my husband had a motorcycle accident. His bike was in the shop and he left his helmet with the bike. A buddy let him borrow his motorcycle because of time and vehicle conflicts for getting him to work, and also so he could release a little stress. It was the one time he was driving to work without a helmet. He was 3 houses down from our driveway. He almost died.
He doesn’t remember that morning, but I do. He was worried because he didn’t have a helmet and the state he works in has a helmet law. He was excited cause he hadn’t ridden in awhile because his bike was in the shop and riding was his stress reliever. He came into the bedroom where I was with a beanie on and asked if I thought that would work. He was worried about getting a ticket. I heard him leave, I should have heard the bike for a lot longer than I did, but it was early and I was tired and I didn’t think anything about it, at least not until afterwards. A few minutes later all I could hear were sirens. I sent him a text. It said “Jesus Christ there’s like a thousand sirens going somewhere close. Let me know you made it to work ok please? Love you” He didn’t read it and he never answered.
A few minutes after that there was a knock at the door. He had been in an accident. I ran outside and looked down the street to see firetrucks, ambulances, police cars, and a helicopter. That’s when I became hysterical. I jumped in my truck (it was 3 houses down and I was in full blown hysteria, wth was I thinking??). The officer that came to tell me was parked right beside and behind me. I sideswiped his car trying to get out of the driveway (sorry officer). I drove down the street, jumped out of the truck and was instantly grabbed. They wouldn’t let me anywhere near him. I could see the bike on the ground. I could see a bunch of people. I couldn’t see him. I was still hysterical. I was sobbing, I was yelling, I was trying to pull away to get to my husband. I noticed some jackass holding his phone up and realized he was recording. I went after him, yelling, screaming obscenities, and I was gonna beat the shit out of him. The cops held me tight and the guy took off. I have no idea who he was but if I ever find out I will still kick the shit out of him.
That’s when I saw my husband on a gurney being wheeled to the helicopter. They had cut off all his clothes. I started yelling “Where’s his cut??” Of course the people looked at me like I was insane, but I was referring to his vest. So I yelled “his leather vest, where is it??” They brought me his cut, his leather jacket, and his clothes, all of which had been cut off. I threw them in the truck and watched the helicopter take off with my husband in it. I had no idea how bad it was and no one would tell me. I noticed his boots were sitting on the ground on the far side of the motorcycle so I asked if I could get them. I walked around the other side of the bike and that’s when I saw the pool of blood on the pavement. I lost it again. I don’t remember who grabbed his boots.
They told me they were taking him to the MED in Memphis. I had no idea where that was and wasn’t in any shape to drive. One of our neighbors, a pastor we had spoke to a few times and was an absolute God send that day for more reasons than one, offered to show us where it was. Stefanie drove and we followed my neighbor. When we got there they put me in a small, empty waiting room. I sent Stefanie to get Willow out of school cause I had no idea how bad it was. I’m not sure how Stefanie made it to the school cause Willow told me when she got to the office Stefanie was bawling. The pastor sat with me, brought me a drink and tissues, prayed for my husband, and was just there for me. I can never repay him for that.
It seemed like hours until they came to talk to me. I don’t remember what exactly they told me except he had been unconscious, he woke up briefly and was combative and pulling out tubes and wires so they put him in a medically induced coma.
He was in Trauma ICU when I finally got to see him. He looked horrible, he was in a coma, he was intubated, bandaged, still bloody, but he was alive.
My strong, fierce, genius husband had taken the brunt of the impact on his head.
Right subarachnoid hemorrhage.
Right internal carotid vertebral dissection with pseudoaneurysm
Traumatic right middle meningeal artery dural arteriovenous fistula
Medial orbital wall fracture
Right zygomatic arch fracture
Right maxillary sinus fracture
Right palatine process fracture
Right temporal fracture
Right sphenoid sinus and left orbital canal fracture
He had to have a tracheostomy. It was so hard when he finally woke up, not being able to communicate with him because of that damn thing. He also has Traumatic Brain Injury. Surgery fixed the majority of the issues listed above, but there is no cure for TBI. There is only rehabilitation, therapy, prayers, and time.
He went through inpatient rehab and was discharged with the doctor saying he thought he didn’t need any further rehab. The doctor was wrong. We realized almost immediately that further rehab was necessary. His Primary Care Physician (Dr. Quack) told us that he didn’t have hospital privileges at the MED and couldn’t refer him. The outpatient clinic told us we needed to talk to the rehab doctor when we went back for follow up.
At the MED, each specialty has outpatient clinics on certain days of the month, for instance, the 3rd Friday of the month in the afternoon between 1 and 4. Or the 2nd Monday of the month int he morning from 8-11. His followups were scattered through several months because they can only see so many patients so we just had to take the first available appointment, keeping in mind I had to get Willow to school and picked up after, we live 30 minutes away from the hospital, and my husband can’t just get up get dressed hop in the truck and off we go. A lot of the times he is extremely confused and agitated. He has a difficulty determining dreams from reality. One night he woke up in the middle of the night, I thought to go to the bathroom, and then I heard the front door open. I jumped out of bed and ran outside to find he was at the side of the house against the fence. The yard was tore up from when we had some drainage issues and is muddy and rough terrain. I’m not sure how he even made it that far but once he got there he was stuck. I had to get him up and through the mudpit that is my front yard and back into the house. He told me he was helping his buddies move a canoe. I had to prove to him that there was no canoe before he would believe it wasn’t real. Sometimes he thinks there are other people in the house. He’s told me there is another lady in the house who says she’s his wife. The house changes on him, for instance everything is backwards, or at one time it was 60 ft long with fences keeping him from getting where he was going. He still gets confused about where rooms in the house are. He has severe anxiety issues. He’s depressed and frustrated because he’s no longer the same person and can’t do the things he used to do. He’s had PTSD from his army days and it has come back full force. He has a few other issues that are embarrassing to him so I won’t go into those. His back has gotten worse and his right leg is very weak and at times his left leg goes out so he has issues getting around. He has multiple bulging discs and is in huge amounts of pain. We finally get him referred to a pain management center and the day of his appointment there I got a phone call. Bryan’s FMLA is up and our insurance is expiring in a week. He still has outpatient followups, all scheduled for after our insurance would lapse. The pain clinic needed him to see another doctor before they could really do anything, and they had no openings until after our insurance would lapse. There is so much help that he still needs and now we have no insurance. They sent us a letter saying we could keep our current coverage through COBRA for $1063 a month. Currently, they are in the process of switching his short term disability over to long term disability. Short term last sent him a check on Dec 15. I was told long term should kick in the end of January and pay retroactively. The end of January I get a call from long term disability and they are just starting their investigation. It’s still under review, but I have sent them every scrap of paper pertinent to their determination. We are absolutely broke until that comes through.
My husband is on a blood thinner due to one of the injuries in his head, not sure which one, but it’s either the carotid dissection or the av fistula. He has to get his blood tested every 2 weeks. His primary care physician had been doing it, the last time we went in was January 28. We were talking to him about some of Bryan’s other issues and he told us, his exact words were “You’re too complex a case”. Then it took almost 45 minutes to draw blood, which hemotized and I had to take him to the ER lab to get it done the next day. Earlier this week we got a letter from his primary care physician. It states:
This letter serves as notification that our office will be unable to provide continued medical care for you. This decision was based on your verbalization to me of your lack of confidence in my ability to provide adequate medical care for you. Because of this statement, you need to form a new relationship with another physician.
He fired my husband as a patient due to verbalization of lack of confidence in his ability to provide adequate medical care AFTER he said to us that my husband was too complex a case. I will be sending a complaint to the Arkansas State Medical Board. He’s refusing to see him, when he knows we just lost our insurance and it will cost a crap load to get a new doctor and he HAS to have blood tests every 2 weeks. Also, my husband has a TBI Survivor card from the Traumatic Brain Injury Service at the MED that states on the back:
The purpose of this card is to educate you on some of the symptoms of a brain injury so that you will understand, if necessary, that I am not being intentionally difficult or hard to get along with. I am not mentally ill, I am a brain injury survivor.
Because my speech, vision, hearing and/or sense of understanding might be impaired, I may be unable to hear or respond to your questions clearly. My coordination and ability to control muscles might be impaired so I may be unable to perform or complete the physical tests occasionally requested by law enforcement agencies.
My injury may also cause me to laugh or cry excessively. I may be restless and exhibit signs of agitation and anxiety. My responses might be very slow and deliberate. If I’m having difficulty with short or long term memory, I may be confused, disoriented, or easily angered. I may also have excessive physical reactions to confrontation.
I will work with you to the extent that I am able and I ask that you contact the person or persons listed on the back of this card as quickly as possible.
Apparently, not only is my husband too complex a case, but the doctor doesn’t understand Traumatic Brain Injury either. BTW, the emphasis is exactly as it is on the card, not mine.
So, no insurance, the promised income has been delayed and they can’t tell me for how long, no doctor. I’ve been buried in paperwork and phone calls, and I am the sole caregiver of my husband whose brain is severely damaged. We have no support system here and I’m trying desperately to move us home where our families are.
The cherry on top is, as you all know I’m bipolar. I have been on lamictal and Pristiq which were working fairly well all things considered. For some reason my body decided to become allergic to my meds and I started getting the rash, so I had to stop taking it immediately. My psychiatrist told me that Pristiq can also cause a skin rash so he took me off that as well. Until it clears up, I can do nothing. He wants to try to get me back on the lamictal if he can because it is the best, in his opinion, for bipolar 2 and it was working so well for me before the rash came up.
There’s so much more. I spent 3 days on the healthcare.gov site trying to find a decent insurance package, which in itself was exhausting and frustrating. I finally found one but we have to pay the premium by the 15th and then it will go into effect March 1st. I was planning on paying it with the long term disability so I can get my husband back into medical care. Now they can’t promise me it will be done by then.
Some more about our neighbor, the pastor. When we moved, my husband never updated his drivers license, so the police had no idea who to get ahold of and why some guy from Harrison, AR was in our neighborhood. The pastor is the one who told the police where he lived. If he hadn’t, who knows how long it would’ve been before I found out. Bryan’s phone was locked and the police ended up disabling it trying to get into it. The pastor would come to check on me and my husband’s progress, he brought us bags full of groceries, his wife came over and brought us food. A few of our other neighbors came over with food as well, as we had a steady stream of people there in the beginning. I made sure there was someone with him at the hospital 24 hours a day, we would take shifts so that we could all get some rest as well. Just being there was exhausting.
When he got out of the hospital, we had to move. There was no way we could afford to continue living in that house. I wasn’t sure how long it would take to find something with our few requirements (Willow’s same school district and allow dogs and not cost an arm and a leg). I informed our Property manager that we were going to have to move as soon as I could find a place. I wasn’t sure if it would be end of November or end of December. As usual, he was a huge asshole, only talking about how if we moved out we would have to compensate the owners of the house. I say as usual, because every time I spoke to him, regardless of what the issue was, he was a huge asshole. The majority of the time I couldn’t get ahold of him though. If you’re looking for a place to rent in Marion/Memphis area or Orlando, FL area, I would avoid using the Jander Group at all costs. I’d rather live in a shack than deal with someone like him again.
I want to thank the IOMC for all the help they’ve given us. When we had to move, they brought trucks and trailers and big strong motorcycle dudes and swept in and swept out and BAM everything was moved. We seriously couldn’t have gotten out of there in time without you guys.
OK, I’m exhausted and have to set out his meds for the week. I have more phone calls to make Monday and stuff to mail, and I need to find out where I can get his blood levels checked that won’t cost us a bazillion dollars.
Moral of the story, PLEASE always wear a helmet.