Effects of car accident on someone who already has fibro

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by mtnmama, Jul 10, 2003.

  1. mtnmama

    mtnmama New Member

    I was dx'd with fibro about 20 yrs. ago when it was called fibrositis. 3 yrs. ago a utility truck illegally pulled in front of me and I slammed into it while my body was totally braced...I was trying to avoid hitting him. We had to sue the utility co. because they weren't addressing the case and the statute of limitations was almost over. I could do almost anything I wanted to do before the accident as long as I paced myself. I can now do almost nothing. My family is burdened by my care and I am basically limited to sitting in my recliner or being in bed. I only get dressed when I go out...almost exclusively to doctor appointments. We admitted to "worsening of pre-existing conditions" and "new injuries" in the suit we filed. Even my lawyer believes that most of my problems are related to the fibro and is wanting me to settle for a very small amount of money. I am 54 and my grandmother was 96 when she died...my mom is now 85 and I haven't seen her for 2 1/2 yrs....she lives about 3 hrs. from us. I could have MANY years ahead of me. I don't like being a burden to my family and need someone to help with the cleaning, shopping, cooking and basic things that I can't do. I used to be very busy, did needlework of all kinds, played the piano, etc., etc. I tried to hold an infant and almost dropped him from the pain in my wrists and shoulders. If I have grandchildren, I don't even want to think of how I'm going to deal with the limitations I have. I need suggestions about how to educate my own attorney (I'm interviewing a new one on Tuesday) and also how to convince a jury or those involved in a mediation session concerning the seriousness of my problem. I can't drive because of the pain patches I'm on and the pain it causes me to turn my head from side to side. Sleep deprivation has turned me into someone I don't even know. Thanks in advance for any advice you might be able to give me.

    J. Currence

    ajcurr@citynet.net
    alanjanc@aol.com
  2. Jen F

    Jen F New Member

    Especially ones familiar with fibro and with pain management.

    I can't help you with that, but your local FM organization might, and hopefully others on this board.

    Get all the medical support you can, not only from one MD but from chiro and physio etc..

    Sorry to hear you are in such rough shape.

    Perhaps a physiatrist or Osteopath would be of help to you. [that's the advice I've received lately]
  3. mtnmama

    mtnmama New Member

    Thanks for your compassionate, understanding replies.

    We live in West Virginia. Because of a major insurance crisis, it's been difficult to locate and maintain good medical care. After the accident I first went to the same doctor I'd been seeing for quite some time. He did his best to help me. Then, he went to full-time practice at a local hospital. He apologized, but said he had to keep his family's needs in mind. After several "false starts" with other physicians, I feel I have someone who at least knows how to refer me to the right people to get the right kind of help. I'm definitely NOT in a hurry to get the case settled. I think that the new attorney we're going to see on Tuesday will be able to get extra time, since we're having to get a new attorney. We DID have a great attorney in the office we have been in, but he left for "better pastures" and couldn't take the cases he'd been working on with him. He is the one who was at my original deposition. It worked out well...he was willing to ask questions and also listen carefully when I gave him my best efforts at explaining the details of my current life and how it is so very different from the life I used to live.
    He was being patient and was willing to follow up on each doctor I'd seen before and after the accident. He was willing to be patient to let me see everyone I needed to see and kept me apprised of any court ordered meetings I needed to attend, including a useless IME. The senior partner is the only one left now. He isn't willing to try to understand what fibro really is and is going more on the information he's gotten from the attorneys on the other side. In the process of seeing various doctors, one of the office staff gasped and covered her mouth when she learned who I was seeing for an attorney. I'd been in this doctor's office before for the same problem and she tried tactfully to get me to find another attorney shortly after we hired his office. That was a difficult thing to do, since many of the better doctors and lawyers had already left the State. I've since tried to see anyone who might be able to help me. I don't have the stamina to go out of state for help and my husband's new job doesn't let him have time off to go distances with me and there would be repeat visits to consider. Also, his downsizing has left him with a job with fewer benefits and much less time off to go with me elsewhere. I'm sure there would be poaaible surgeries and follow-up visits. The new attorneys we contacted said that we shouldn't worry about the fact that there's a scheduled mediation hearing and a trial scheduled already. They only heard a few things about the case before they agreed to see us on Tuesday. In the meantime, we plan to continue to keep all doctor appointments and follow all referrals we're given. Because of over-doing things...it's hard to stay home all the time...I recently had a dizzy spell while getting out of our minivan and grabbed the door with my arms all the way around it. My daughter got my walker to me as soon as possible and I kept shopping....I'm so tired of her missing out on normal life..., AND for a teenager, this includes shopping. We then bought some fabric at the store we were planning to go to in the first place. I became more dizzy as the afternoon went on and we finally gave up and went home. The next day I became dizzy and almost fell while trying to reach a lightweight jewelry box on the top shelf of my closet. I had wanted to go to church and I was looking for things to wear the next day. We tried everything up to that to cooperate with both doctors and the attorneys. It wasn't meant for me to go to church. I ended up in the ER instead. They encouraged me to again see my new primary care physician. I did that and now she is planning to get an appointment for me to see someone who will do a CT scan on my head. I will also see a new doctor to help me use my fingers better. This one is connected with some doctors who are better qualified to help. It looks like I'm going to have to be patient until we get to the right doctor. I have had trouble even writing this email. I keep going to sleep every few minutes and wake up after I've typed gibberish. I'm even going to sleep while walking through the house. I was dx'd with sleep apnea at Ohio State Univ. about 12 years ago. Now, I can't stay awake for very long at all. One doctor wants me to fight that and only sleep at night...my therapist told me yesterday to "go with it" and nap when I get sleepy...that I've lost too much sleep since this nightmare started and need to catch up on it.
    I'm also having to try to sort the source of the apnea. I'm going to have to be careful until I have a new lawyer. The former lawyer had had me keep a detailed journal of things that happened daily since the accident....including all of the things I couldn't do. So much of me is damaged from the accident that I'm going to be seeing several different doctors before we'll be ready to go forward. I can barely do anything independently now and the pain patches and pills I was given at the ER are helping. I was also taking Lortab, which I was taking before the accident on a limited basis. I tried to take as little as possible, because I did't want to become addicted. As a result, my blood pressure was continually rising because of the pain. With the new meds from the ER Doctor. I believe the opposing attorneys are trying to wear me down so that I will just settle the case to get it over with. We've been advised by several people to not let this happen. We NEED the money for people to help me and to relieve my husband and daughter especially from having to spend so much of their time helping me. Being off of my feet seems to be important so that I won't tend to fall as often. My TMJ problems from the past have been made much worse. The old problems are on the right side. The pain and clicking now are on the left side. If I don't wear the new splint regularly, I get headaches and TMJ pain. If I DO wear it all of the time, a lesion keeps growing on my tongue. I've had that happen before when I wore a splint. I've had 3 tongue surgeries to remove the lesion with many silver nitrate treatments to avoid more surgeries. I have already made an appt. with my tongue surgeon. I'm hoping that silver nitrate treatments will help me avoid more surgery. Tongue surgeries are very painful.

    Thanks to those of you who have answered me. I especially need stories of those who have been in car accidents and have had to limit their lives further from the effects I'm having. I know it is difficult to sort out the various past conditions, but we have a huge witness list of people who knew me before and after the accident. The attorneys have only deposed a few of the doctors and friends. They're trying to avoid finding out things that might hurt their case. They wanted me to go to a fibro specialist in NC, which I'd love to do. But, I can't go by myself and I have no one who would be able to take me. Also, I won't go to their suggested specialists UNLESS they include doctors who will address all of my various medical conditions at the same time. I hate being worse and not being able to get them to talk with them. It's becoming apparent that a trial will be necessary to get the money necessary to meet my future needs and the needs of my family for things I can no longer do. There are many other details, but I can't put them all in one email and I keep falling asleep as I type. It's very hard to function when I'm this sleepy. I couldn't keep track of the times I've had to backspace and retype just to get this email finished.
    I'll try to update you as things progress. Again, please send me stories if something like this has happened to you and you have had successful results in dealing with the legal system. I'm learning thoroughly the importance to be involved in "victims' rights" groups. I'll stop for now and get some breakfast. I've been up almost all night in pain, trying not to awaken my family. I'm sorry this is so long, but I need as much help as you can give me. It's quite possible I've had fibro since I was a very young child. I've had sleep apnea since I was in college (earlier maybe, since I'm an only child and no one slept near me to tell me about the time I wasn't breathing at night before I had college roommates and then, my hustand. He is very scared about my health. We're definitely going to have to keep on pressing forward on this. I also know that it could set precedents if I am successful in making the truth of my case known and get an appropriate settlement for my family. My current attorney accused me of "seeing every doctor from one end of the valley to the other". While that isn't true, I HAVE seen many doctors. I'm sure this has been a common occurrence for many on this list, too. I will be looking forward to hearing from you. Also, please add a statement allowing me to share your information with my attorney and others involved with this case. I don't want to break anyone's confidences and know there are rules about not sharing publicly the things we learn from each other on this list (and others I've been on in the past).

    Thanks so much.

    J. Currence

    (P.S. I have had to stop typing this several times to use the small garbage next to me to throw up. I've been doing this a lot since the accident, but it is happening more often.)