The Accident Details

The details of the car accident and injuries that resulted in my back being buggered (that’s the technical term my chiro uses) and my having all this time to paint and write and write in this blog! Scroll Down for recent updates

So what happened?
12:30ish 10/07/04 we were leaving a party and going through the intersection at station street and Canterbury Road Box Hill. We were going down station St and were hit in the drivers side door by a person traveling down Canterbury. We were spun twice and ended up facing down Canterbury. I don’t have a whole lot of recollection as I was pretty much a pinball and my glasses ended up in the back seat. Liam drove beautifully and got the car enough under control to stop spinning and stop. We were rushed off to hospital and the cops were called. Both cars were destroyed.

So if you weren’t driving how come you are the one who is hurt?
First up we are both incredibly lucky. If our car had not been the safety beast it was we would have both died. The 1977 Mercedes was a tank of a car weighing over 2 ton. The structure of the car saved Liam but due to the solidity the inertia transferred to my side causing me to slip out of my belt and become a human pinball. Liam was buggered for a while but he is a good healer.

So who’s fault was it anyway?
well, that is really for the lawyers to decide at this point. What we know from our side is our light was green, she was speeding and that there have been problems at this intersection before. It appears that both lights showed green and have been reported as doing so before. As I said this is for the lawyers to decide at this point. *sigh*

so what the hell is wrong with you anyway?
ok, there is a 3 page essay by my chiropractor on this topic but in a nutshell I am buggered. My skull is on my neck wrong, there is a problem with my neck at the cervical juncture (hehe cervical) there are issues with the middle of my back and one of my hip bones has been moved on an angle. Apparently I have neuralgia and some other problems as well. My xray is pretty! I spend a lot of time with Dr Josh so I am very glad we get along as well as we do, he is good fun to see and he helps me keep my spirits up.

So are you getting better?
god I am sick of people asking how my back is, it HURTS! I have endured 8 months of agony and am sick of trying to distinguish between the different nuances to listen to what it tells me. Yes, I am improving, it is incredibly slow and usually it is two steps forward one step backward. My mobility is improving and I can now walk around the block. I have a cane to help me but I don’t want to carry it around everywhere. Two kilos is a stretch.

So what do you do?
I play on my computer, I have cable TV, a kitten and a cane for “mobility”. Everything is set up so I can lie on the couch and do everything. (I stand to paint though) I cannot sit down for any length of time. This blog is a diversion. I also walk. sortof.

What happens with work and money?
I had to quit my job, when it became clear that I would be buggered for a while I couldn’t in all consciousness keep a role with responsibility when I didn’t know when I would recover. It also reduced my stress not having to worry about work. It hurt a lot to leave DeakinPrime, I thoughoughly enjoyed working there but I know I needed to. I am currently on TAC payments and my medical bills are all covered. The TAC are excellent if you need post accident care, I didn’t even know they existed – it just goes to show really. Never whinge about rego again, you never know when you will need this service!

Update: August 3 2005

Where are you now?
Still in pain, still pretty debilitated. I am looking towards long term management – I will be buying a cane to help with walking and looking at grabbers and stuff as well as carer support services for Liam. I want my independance more than anything else and to let him move on.

So what is going on with it?
Ok I have a vague diagnosis. My doctors believe that I have Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. this is a serious nerve condition. they believe that it is the RSD that is causing the abnormal swelling and the acute symptoms over a year down the track (remember acute symptoms should only last a week or two!). It can cause oedema, excessive heat, debilitating pain, loss of mobility and more. There is a faulty signal going on in my nervous system that is still causing localized nerves to treat the injury as if it just happened.

So is it real?
Oh yes. it is a genuine and serious problem (although it seems silly, especially when Dr Erin or myself do the finger wiggling explanation!!) it can cause permanent disability or impairment. My doctors are hoping to cut the pain down but are letting me know that it may never be 100%. I admit I was preparing myself for that anyway.

is there a real injury?
Yes. see above (there is a section on my other injuries further up – there are a lot of random problems with my neck, spine and hips.

What can you do?
I am currently taking some new meds for my nerves – they are designed to soothe the nerves down and try to stop the panicking as well as trying to help me sleep because that is still the best medicine. I can try several kinds to see if that helps. other than that we can isolate the nerves and deaden them (urg) or look at blocking. There are plans but it will be a slow process – I hope the meds work!!!

Other than that, I am still covered by the TAC and am using the time to paint and study – I am happy to have a diagnosis and a way forward – I had almost given up.

Update: November 23 2005

What do you mean when you say Physical Setback?
I have had some confusion over this from people so I thought I would clarify. when I say I had a phyiscal setback I mean that I have had a fall or a seize up that has set me back to square one. I cannot go to the bethroom on my own or get up or down on my own. I cannot stand for 10 minutes or walk more than about 10 meters. It is not good.

I have seen you at a party – that means you are better right?
NO! I go to the occasional party because I get sick of living in a bubble. I want to see people and try to reclaim part of my life. I have to assess whether it will be worth going to and then I suffer for days after. I have a physical setback after almost every party (see above). I choose not to let my pain and disability get in the way of my life and I try not to show it at parties. rest assured it is still there.

Care of your Jennie Unit
I like to go out! I like seeing my friends. I don’t like being treated with Pity. or looked at with pity. I am still me. that gotten out of the way, I appreciate when people are aware of my needs. I have great difficulty with stairs, I can’t sit for long (I shouldn’t at all) and a place to lie down is very welcome. I also need Liam’s help a lot (especially in the loo!) and it really hurts if I get knocked.

Most importantly, just because I say that I am fine does not mean that I am not Hurting. a lot!

Update: June 10 2008

Wow it’s been a while since I updated this! where am I now four years down the track?

Is it Permanent?
it’s now considered a permanent disability. It is officially CRPS or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (the same as RSD mentioned above but apparently CRPS is the name that doctors prefer these days). it is still very painful. unfortunately this condition can be degenerative so I am working very hard at my walking and so on to make sure it doesn’t become worse. I am managing stairs a bit better now which is great. While this is a permanent condition I am trying everything I can to make sure it doesn’t get worse and to ensure I am taking minimal drugs for the pain. it is very easy to take harder and harder painkillers but I don’t want to be a morphine addict thankyou.

How do you cope?
I paint, I write and work on marketing my art. my career is a huge thing to me now, I would probably go insane without it. I play with my kitten and play WoW. I watch DVDs and anime and see our friends as much as I can. it’s easy to shut myself away and I have to be careful not to be too reclusive because that leads to depression. depression is probably the next biggest enemy, it’s hard to beat so I throw myself into work instead. chronic pain has a very high suicide rate but I am waay too stubborn for that. mostly I don’t want this to beat me so I fight it as much as I can.

What was the deal with your tattoo?
Getting my tattoo randomly interrupted the pain signals in my spine and the pain lessened to a certain extent. a delightful feeling! Unfortunately it didn’t last and the crash afterwards was the worst. but I used the time while it was doing better to improve my range of motion. I can now bend more than 45 degrees! and yes, I do see this as an excellent reason to get another tatt – not that I really need an excuse.

What about Kids?
Liam and I want children. we have been planning them for a while now and I have been building up my strength even more in preparation. it will be hard. really, really hard. but it is also worth it. we are ready, I’m ready and hey, I’m really good at planning so even though it will need more planning I’m sure we can do it!

What about disability benefits?
*sigh* I am now officially a pensioner. I also have a parking permit and Liam gets carer payments. we are looking into other benefits as well.

3 thoughts on “The Accident Details

  1. Dear Jennie,

    It is really nice to learn the resilience with which u r trying to come back to independence. Wish u all the best.

  2. Pingback: Upcoming Solo Show - Purity « Jennie’s Palette

  3. Im sorry to read that your condition is considered permanent now – I hope that it does continue to improve though. You are working so hard to achieve and maintain your independance and foster your artistic career. I wish you every success and I will see you at the opening.

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