"I busted a mirror and got Seven years bad luck but my lawyer thinks he can get it down to Five."
The is the fourth installment in the tale of FrankenKristin's brain.
If you would like to catch up, read:
Ch. 1 - That's Fronkensteen!!
Ch.1.5 - Point of Clarification
Ch. 2 - You Know, I'm A Rather Brilliant Surgeon.
It is now the end of June 2005 and we are back from New York and our visit to The Chiari Institute. It has been almost six months since Kristin had her car accident and she has yet to have a pain free day. While she has found some relief from the low back pain, the symptoms in her head, neck and shoulders continue to get worse. She has trouble lifting anything heavier than a half gallon of milk, is experiencing almost non-stop numbness and tingling in her hands, has constant pressure in the back of head and regularly feels as though she has a knife stuck in her back.
Where she used to climb dozens of flights of stairs at work rather than take the elevator, she is now unable to climb even one flight with out stopping to catch her breath. Not only that but she found it increasingly difficult to ride in a car or lie on her back. She had taken to wearing a collar during the day in order to provide support to her head and bought a special pillow that follows the contour of her head and neck. Helpful, but certainly no remedy.
As for medical intervention, she has tried chiropractic, acupuncture, physical therapy, pain killers, pain killers, muscle relaxers, yoga, and myofascial massage therapy. Following the local neurosurgeon’s advice she even discontinued all treatment for a few weeks, but not surprisingly, things continued to get worse. Over the last six months she had an average of three medical appointments per week. She had six MRIs, a CT scan and three sets of X-rays. She had been poked, prodded, manually manipulated, and attempted all manner of stretching, healing, and strengthening exercises. About the only things she hadn’t tried were shamanism and faith healing.
At the Chiari Institute, we finally found what we hoped was an answer, and a solution. They acknowledged that, while some of what she is experience is typical of a car accident, her symptoms are clearly exacerbated by the Chiari and may not be resolved if that is not addressed. Unfortunately we had to fly halfway across the country in order to find someone competent enough to figure that out and it looked like we would be making several more trips.
At this point you may be saying to yourself, “My goodness, that’s terrible,” or “Oh my, how could it get any worse,” or even, “Stop you’re bitching, it’s not that bad! People get in car accidents everyday, at least you’re not dead”. You wouldn’t be alone; we said those things as well.
Then came July 23rd, 2005. The day started out like any other, routine events throughout the day kept us busy and that evening we had plans to attend a wedding reception for a friend and then stop off at a going away party for a couple of friends who were leaving to spend two years teaching in Tanzania. All in all, we were having a great night, eating, laughing, visiting with friends and singing Karaoke. After the going away party, we said our goodbyes, got in the car and headed for home. Just two blocks from the party, we were stopped at an intersection in NordEast Minneapolis waiting for the light to turn from red to green.
That’s when it hit us. A late model blue Eagle Talon, to be exact. Right square in the back of our car.
The force of the impact pushed our car into the middle of the intersection. Thank God there wasn’t any opposing traffic or I would likely not be writing this. The other car was traveling at least 45-50 per hour, much faster that the posted 30mph speed limit. Based on the lack of skid marks it was clear he made not attempt to stop.
Not only that, but it turns out he didn’t own the car, did not have a license and was drunk. We found out several weeks later that his BAC was .16, almost twice the legal limit in MN. Sadly he had two passengers in his vehicle as well, none of them were wearing safety belts.
Because the crash was only two blocks from where we had just been several of our friends heard the crash and came running to help. At the time I was more startled than anything else. Kristin however, was a mess. The impact caused her head and neck pain to go from bad to excruciating. She immediately experienced stabbing pain in her ears, blurred vision and could hardly move. When the medical responders arrived I informed them of her situation and they insisted she be transported to the Emergency Room for evaluation.
They moved her from the car onto a backboard and put her in the ambulance. Even though she repeated over and over and over that she could not lie on her back because it was too painful they refused to allow her any assistance until she arrive at the hospital. To make matters worse she was transported in the same vehicle as the driver of the other car. And they refused to let me accompany her. I had not yet determined whether my car was still drivable and yet they insisted I find my own transportation to the hospital.
Four hours and a shot of morphine later (for her, not me), we were sent home after being told that the X-Rays revealed no fractures. They did not address the Chiari.
As a result of the second accident her symptoms had gotten so bad that she spent hours in bed or on the couch because she couldn’t move without pain. The drugs didn't help. Before this incident she still had reservations about surgery, primarily due to the cost. After informing The Chiari Institute of the latest developments, and with what she was experiencing now, there was no question we would be going to New York. Even if I had to sell plasma or turn tricks to pay for it.
In fact, September 28th couldn't come soon enough.