A few years ago, early one chilly morning, I had a very interesting day. It was one of those you say, I should’ve stayed in bed. This should have been a day like any ordinary day, so I thought. At about 8:50 in the morning, as I returned to my car to retrieve my portfolio, I was involved in an auto-pedestrian accident. Here’s what happened.
As I waited to cross the street, there was a car across from me at the stop sign. I figured the driver saw me because he idled for at least 2-3 minutes. After pacing back and forth and waiting, I decided to walk across the street. Since the drivers in this area don’t necessarily stop for pedestrians, I was forced to stall in the middle of the street as those to my right were entering the parking lot.
While standing there, I looked down at the portfolio. Daylight makes everything so pretty, and I was admiring its beauty and craftsmanship. Anyway, as I continued looking down, out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of the black hood, and sporty lights. I remember closing my eyes, as I exclaimed “aw shit!” The collision was inevitable! Here I was making sure to avoid getting hit from those entering, but it was the guy exiting that got me! I felt the car’s weight and the heat emanating from underneath the engine.
My feet were the first to get drag. The scuff marks on my shoes suggest that they were nearly at a 90 degree angle, and wedging beneath the fender. I felt a pop and a crack in my knee. The pain immediately radiated through my entire body. I instinctively used my weight to fall on my side. As I did, my feet followed me, and eventually up from under the car. The kid hadn’t seen me. He braked! As he did, momentum took over and I was hurled from the hood at least 10-12 feet. I landed on all 4, and ended up facing the opposite direction from where I was traveling. It’s funny how the human body contorts.
The pavement was wet and cold. The chill had brought with it a slight drizzle the day before. So as I sat there, on the cold, wet pavement, my first reaction was disbelief. Not to mention terror! I couldn’t feel anything from my waist down. The kid tried to pick me up, and so did his little girlfriend. I yelled for him to keep his distance. My main concern was to feel something in my legs. I thought I was paralyzed! I spent an eternity trying to wake them, until I finally began to feel. The chill was overwhelming. I was immobilized and stunned; I felt a burning sensation, but thankfully it was a feeling. I knew I would be able to “walk” away from this—eventually.
The kid called for help. I was pissed; I could not believe that the most important thing was to know my name. I could have been in a million pieces, and bleeding out and “help” on the other side of that cell wanted my name! Who cares what my name was! I could have been holding my gut in my hands!
I remember yelling, “Who the hell cares what my name is? Send help now!”
The next thing I noted, apathy is alive and well in the world. At least 15 cars passed at my back, and none of the drivers stopped. Not one! Some guy from way out in the parking lot did begin to run towards me. I look back and see him almost running in slow motion. He was yelling if I was ok. The first thing out of my mouth was, “don’t touch me”, and he ran back. But I was so scared. This was still the time I was thinking I was paralyzed.
Eventually I made my way via ambulance to the emergency room. The ER had triage for me. The doctor wanted to cut my pants. The exchange with the doctor changed the direction of my care dramatically. Since I didn’t allow for them to cut my pants, my pants, I had to lower them myself. I unzipped them and wiggle them down until the nurse helped me take them off. The doctor noted that I was healthy enough and that the only trauma was to my knee. The knee was x-rayed, and later I was released with a splint, crutches and a prescription for pain killers. Despite that I noted back pain, I was released—this never made it into my report. Also, both my knees had trauma, but only one was noted.
I asked to see the ER doctor several times after the initial contact. I told the nurse that there was pain in my back. However, the doctor had already made up his mind and sent the nurse to tell me that I should tell that to my regular physician the next day. (My dear friend, I know you are reading this, thank you for your concern, your compassion and your friendship—you picked me up, remember?)
So the next day, I visited my doctor. I told him everything. I even told him that the ER dr. avoided my back, and my other knee. This doctor, my doctor for at least 9 years, also ignored me. It took me 6 months to finally get a diagnosis from an out-of-town doctor who confirmed a fractured knee. And it has taken me over two years to finally get an “accurate” diagnosis. And the help I need.
In the end I ended up with a fractured knee, and a herniated disk associated to the trauma. My physician was either inept, lazy or scared to go back and review my case! Worse yet, I think the impairment rating I received was fixed. Despite me trying to get the final page to one key document, everyone denied its existence. I finally saw it 1 year later. I never gave up hope. I was relentless to get the care I needed and to remedy an injustice.
Not all doctors are the same. There are some that serve their patients with so much compassion and care. You can see it in them. The love they have for their profession. Hopefully you will be luckier than me.
I wasn’t just hit by a car; I was also thrown under a bus by my physician! If this happens to you, never give up. Get a second opinion.The insurance companies will get away with taking care of you as little as possible. Always get a second opinion. Regardless of insurance constraints, worker’s compensation, etc, there are remedies. Find the remedy that best takes care of you because big insurance is only out for themselves.