As most of you know, our daughter and her boyfriend were in a head-on collision three weeks ago. For their privacy, I am referring to them as “A” and “M” when writing about the accident.
I will start with M. He is still recovering at our home and has a long way to go with a broken foot, ankle, and ribs. He is getting around better but, after hearing the current orthopedist (#1) and his Physician’s Assistant (PA) change their minds several times on whether they thought M needed surgery or not, we are getting a second opinion. The PA told M last week that he “really doesn’t know much about feet”, which scared the daylights out of us. Shouldn’t he have told M that after the accident so that M could find someone with foot experience?! M is a chef and spends up to 14 hours/day on his feet during the busy season. To add insult to injury, M went for his MRI last week and, while they’d called in a foot specialist to see M that day, the specialist couldn’t get there in time because of the weather and M never got to meet with him, nor speak to him at all. We’re still not sure if he ever saw M’s xrays and MRI. To say we lost confidence in that orthopedist’s office would be putting it very mildly.
That orthopedist in particular is a hand and shoulder specialist so you would think he is the perfect person to be treating A, who has a crushed wrist. I was concerned when the PA put a full-arm cast on A two weeks ago because her wrist is cocked forward a bit in the cast (not straight) and I was very concerned that a crooked cast would lead to crooked healing. Of course, you know me. I loudly voiced my concern and the PA assured me that the bones would heal straight and that he made the cast that way because it was too painful for A to straighten her wrist. Call me paranoid but that wasn’t good enough for me. He even said that, ideally, he preferred the wrist be cocked back a bit.
We’ve been waiting a week for the new orthopedist (#2) to review the films for both of them. I received a phone call from orthopedist #1 this morning and he told me he was at a conference last week and that he took A’s films with him to share with colleagues to get more opinions (that’s how “complex” the injury is). He admitted that the hand and shoulder specialist (orthopedist #2) who is giving us a second opinion is in disagreement with him about the course of treatment. Orthopedist #1 did not want to do surgery on her wrist. He said he has a 17-year-old daughter and that he followed the course of care he’d have done for his own daughter.
Now, he knows money isn’t an option here so it is nice that he isn’t wanting to do surgery just to make an extra buck. There are three auto insurance companies lined up to pay the bills for her care and two medical insurance companies behind them (she has insurance through us AND through her school because she forgot to tell them to remove the insurance from her bill at the beginning of the semester). I am always happy when a doctor isn’t knife-happy. He told me during the phone call that he had to weigh the possible recovery result from surgery to install a plate vs. letting the wrist heal naturally and he thought the best result would be if the wrist were allowed to heal naturally. So, while I really appreciate his more natural approach, part of me (the paranoid part) is wondering if the injury was so bad that he didn’t trust himself to operate on it. Or, maybe he did make the right decision.
Bad news is, at this point, it’s too late for surgery. Worse news is he admitted to me that A will probably have lifelong problems with that wrist and that he suspects she has significant ligament damage as well. They will do an MRI after she gets her cast off. If it is healing (there was no change when they took her last set of xrays), she might get to move to a short cast next week (one below her elbow, which will give her far more freedom). Right now, she must rely on me and others to help her with just about everything, including fixing her hair each day, which must be put in a bun for her culinary classes. She is using voice recognition software for most of her schoolwork, which takes many times longer because she must then edit with her left hand (she is right-handed). Of course, she can’t do dishes, or laundry, or her craft hobbies…or much of anything because her fingers still hurt too badly to move them. She certainly can’t grasp anything like a knife or spoon (for her culinary classes), or even a doorknob and she still has significant swelling and pain.
A has known since she was two that she wanted to be a chef. A break to her right wrist is probably the worst break she could get for a right-handed person following that career path. A has even wondered if perhaps this accident was God’s way of telling her she’s on the wrong career path, which is unfortunate because all she’s ever wants to do is create beautiful, delectable delights for anyone and everyone. A was not home when her doctor called and I had a good cry after I got off the phone with him, worrying about my baby and knowing the challenges she may face in her career (we ARE encouraging her to continue with her dream) and more because of her wrist. While during the past three weeks I have felt pity for the young man who caused the accident because he was so remorseful for what he’d done (using his cell phone while driving), I am now so angry with him! I wonder if that is a natural response to something like this. I wasn’t angry at all before but, after speaking to the doctor this morning and having him tell me the honest truth about A’s prognosis, I am FURIOUS!!!
One more thing – A was in the car the other day when our son, Frank, was driving. Somebody pulled out in front of them and Frank had to slam on his brakes. A burst into tears. The entire family is more nervous driving now, even those of us who weren’t in the accident, but A is downright terrified if any close calls occur. That makes me even more angry at the young man who caused this. I really didn’t expect to get angry three weeks after the accident and it really surprises me and makes me feel not-so-great about myself.
Anyway, thanks for listening. We’re received soooo many good wishes by email and I’ve been forwarding them to A and M, and they are so very much appreciated! They especially like the ones that include stories of others who have been in bad accidents, but who have gone on to recover and live normal lives. 🙂
Today, I wanted to share some pictures of the van after the accident. It was a Chrysler Town & Country and the front extended pretty far (about three feet or so) past the front wheels. You can see how much it got smushed.
That’s A’s blood on the passenger side airbag. She got whacked by the airbag pretty good and it gave her a bad nose bleed and busted her lip in a couple of places. That airbag saved her life and M’s airbag saved his, too!
After Richard saw the van and after I saw the pictures, we knew the sheriff was right when he said it was a miracle that everybody survived that crash. We’ll be thanking God every day for the rest of our lives for the miracle we experienced on Valentine’s Day.
This Week’s (Somewhat Ironic, Based on the Story Above) Masonism: We were in the truck and it was awfully quiet so I looked back to investigate. Mason was in his car seat, sound asleep, and Max was playing a videogame. A few minutes later, the quiet was shattered by Mason laughing and saying, “I was pretending to be dead!!!”
Hugs to all,
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Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!