My mom and I, (her son Caleb), were involved in a near fatal motor vehicle accident just a day before Thanksgiving. The near head on collision occurred November 22, 2016 on our way home from Texas Oncology, an appointment resulting in the decision for radical hysterectomy, scheduled for December 12. Cynthia is a single mother of two, (Caleb 22 and Gabriel, 20); we moved to Texas three and a half years ago, but don't really know anyone, too busy working to make ends meet, (we all live together to combine resources until things get better - hoping they will).
I'm extremely stressed out over this. It was difficult before but it's becoming next to impossible. Gabe just turned 20 today, and mom's birthday was on December 7. Although we are all aware it could've been worse, we are trying to remain grateful. While we were raised to sacrifically help others, and it's been very difficult to go without, it's getting overwhelming. I am a responsible person but I have prayed all I know how to pray and now I feel I must humble myself and ask for help. My brother and I were going to set up a fundraiser and reach out to social media, but every single time I research the subject, I always come up with one scammer after another. And apparently you have to have a social following, of which neither of us do. No time for social media because we're always working. That's not to offend anyone who can juggle more than us, it's just the way life is for some. Anyway, long story short... this is the morning of her surgery and there is a long day ahead of us. I decided to forgo the fundraiser idea and just ask for prayer. I don't have time, the experience or the emotions right now to be able to discern which go-fund-me like sites are real or just people trying to make a buck off of others and then scam them out of it if they don't meet their hidden criteria. And I don't want to see anyone contribute and unwittingly get hurt in the process, much as we need help. So please pray. If there's one thing I've learned living with mom, it's that prayer moves mountains.... you just have to dodge the avalanches when they come in order to survive!
So here's the story:
While this whole car issue is still under investigation, the accident was more than likely caused by one or more Toyota recalls that the dealership did not disclose. My brother was stuck at work that night, while our mother was rushed to a neurotrauma center. My dad lives about a 5 hour drive away in Tulsa, but he wouldn't come, had some church thing to deal with. I won't even go there, because you can't fix stupid. I would never leave my kid alone when his mother nearly died, but... I guess to each his own. My mother received treatment, and while I was terrified of the worse case scenario, miraculously God answered my prayers. When I saw her fingers and toes move, I knew she wasn't paralyzed, but I can still hear her scream that blood curdling scream during the impact. Nothing was broken, including the two very long metal rods fused to her spine. Another miracle. We called a chaplain to the ER, they sent a social worker. Okay, I guess that works too. LOL We had no way of getting home, and I had about 20 bucks in my pocket until payday, 4 days from then. So they called a taxi to get us home. They said medicare would only cover her, and not me, (even though we were going to the same place), so... how stupid is that? So I had to fork over my lunch money for the week just to get us home. Pathetic government we have. I've grown unfortunately accustomed to living paycheck to paycheck, and while I hate it, I am grateful to have a job I love, even part-time, with really great people who have given me rides to and from work when I can't afford Uber since then. And my brother... he works a few miles from home, and when the managers saw the pictures of the car, they got together and bought him a bike so he could get to work. Nice people...God bless them.
The taxi ride home was extremely difficult, but they wouldn't let her stay the night. I never got my knee checked out even though it hurt like hell because they would've separated us and I didn't want to leave her side. Medicare doesn't care, it's nearly worthless in my opinion. But we got home, the taxi was 17 bucks, and her medicine was a whopping 438 dollars, 149 at Target with a discount. Something called Skelaxin, a muscle relaxant. She went without. She is still going without, living on Tylenol and Ibuprophen for pain like they were M&M's. Thankfully she can't take narcotics, they make her really sick, but my heart goes out to her. Especially those first few nights. She would wake up screaming in the middle of the night, I think I've gotten 3 hours total sleep in the last week. Maybe more, but not by much.
She has been recovering much faster than we'd anticipated at home but still can't really do much. Suffering many bruises, whiplash, shock and trauma to her cervical and lumbar spine as well as issues relating to blunt force trauma to her chest, sterum, and internal organs from the seat belt, she is easily discouraged by the little things she can't do yet. Like the luxury of sitting upright for more than a couple of hours each day... but she'll get there. She could probably benefit from physical therapy but with no way of getting back to the doctor, it's pretty pointless. She's focussing on getting through her surgery on December 12 and I guess we'll just work over the holidays, because it's just too depressing to think we'll have one. I hate Christmas to be honest. We haven't had one since... I can't remember when, but that's okay. Not saying it to pour on the pity because everyone's got their lot in life and this is ours. I just don't like it, especially when I see such waste everywhere I seem to turn. But I'm grateful that we've got a roof over our head and we're still breathing. All about priorities. Glass half full.
The airbags in our car never deployed, which is probably a good thing because of the fatalities surrounding schrapnel flying out due to faulty Takata airbags that are in a current global recall. Gratefully, my mother still has function of her limbs and is able to walk, but not for more than a few minutes, albeit with intense pain because of the trauma to her spine. Those microwave heatpacks are getting their workout. This, compounding her already limited mobility from her pre-existing disability.
I, (Caleb, her oldest,) accompanied her to the Oncologist just a couple of hours earlier that morning, (Gabe wasn't able to get off work), and managed to miraculously walked away with a minor bruise on my knee from it making contact with the glove box. Shock is an amazing thing when you put it to good use because I think that's what I've been in, barely functioning, since this whole thing started. Praying for reprieve but there seems to be none in sight anytime soon.
Our auto insurance says there will be no financial recovery because of the preditory lender and GAP insurance policies, (a "pastor" working at DriveTime in Arlington, Texas sold it to us last year, and we've had nothing but problems with it. There's a special place for people like that. We trusted him after our Saturn died in the parking lot... in a 107 degree weather. We were at the dealership for 7 hours, trying to finance something we couldn't afford, and we still got screwed. I say "couldn't" because when the guy told us the monthly payments... by the time the contracts were signed, they magically turned into bi-weekly payments. So basically, for the price of a Mercedes, we were driving an 11 year old Toyota. And now, we can't even recover the expense for the brand new tires we put on just a few months ago. Payments on that card were interest free until January of 2017, but I haven't even started paying for them yet. So, while DriveTime makes out like a bandit, collecting some 23.5% interest, (which is about 13 grand on a vehicle that wasn't even worth 5 thousand), I get to be in 600 bucks more debt with brand new tires we don't even have anymore, while my mom gets her disability compounded with more pain than anyone deserves in ten lifetimes... for the rest of her life.
What a horrible blow, it's just not right. We have consulted multiple attorneys but adding insult to injury, they were told that they are unable to sue Toyota for product liability because "no one died and there isn't any money in it". This accident has greatly exacerbated my mom's pre-existing disability, (a spine fusion she's had since 1980), but hey, since there's no money in it (for them)... oh, and did I mention the 238 dollar ticket the cop mailed my mom? He was a nice piece of work, even the FD and EMT's thought so. Must've had a bad hair day or something. Failure to control speed, going around 25 miles an hour. We spun into a truck after the breaks siezed up and the steering wheel froze, on a slightly wet road, hitting that oil slick just right. My mom has been driving forever and on wet roads she is neurotic when it comes to careful driving. It was the car's fault. She did everything possible and I am convinced beyond any shadow of any doubt, it was a mechanical failure. Can't prove anything because apparently the EDR (event data recorder) only captures about 5-9 seconds of data IF and ONLY IF the airbags deploy. And since they didn't deploy... there is no data, how convenient for Toyota.
Our hope, through this unfortunate circumstance, (hoping our mother survives her surgery and everything is benign or gotten rid of), is that we can go before Congress to initiate a Bill that will pass stricter laws against automobile dealerships dishing out high penalties for predatory lenders who commit fraud and take advantage of disabled and financially disenfranchised buyers, knowing they will have no liability in these events. It is ridiculous that we cannot make any sort of recovery when the rest of her life is impacted, and not in a good way. It's bad enough when you're able-bodied and get into an accident, but when someone is already disabled and that accident takes away the rest of your livelihood, someone should pay DESPITE pre-existing medical. Where is the justice?? We hope to bring this issue to the forefront of public scrutiny so that it doesn't happen to anyone else.
As I was praying about posting this, I know many people are preparing to celebrate the holidays with their loved ones. It's very hard for me to ask for help, but honestly, my brother and I are beside ourselves. We're trying to suck it up because I'm sure there are millions of other people much worse off, but... my mother is the most selfless, caring and sincere person I know. She can be a handful as a strong woman, but that's because she always seems to get the short end of the stick. She's very trusting and loves beyond compare. People take advantage of that, and it's just sad to watch. Seems everyone has ulterior motives. She bends over backwards for anyone who asks... and even for those who never ask, she just intuitively helps, mostly with random acts of kindness that no one else, (but God and that person), ever sees. And when she finally asks for help, they seem to disappear. She's got amazing talent, so much left to contribute to the world around her, and it just hurts so much to see her in this condition. We collectively survive on her fixed disability income and mine and my brother's part-time jobs. Rent is paid for December, thank God, but I have no idea what lies ahead with the mounting medical bills, daily expenses and everything else that seems to pop up on any given day.
Please watch the video below, share on social media and if you would like to help in any way, please visit THIS LINK if you would like to contribute to my mother's (our family's) recovery.
We're obviously hoping to find reliable transportation so we can get back and forth to work, with monthly payments and insurance that are doable instead of impossible, but we're also hoping to get her some things she really needs.
Some things you can help us pray for: while my brother and I need work done, our mother's is much worse, (that's been on her wish list for 15 years already. When we were little, she had to have her gall bladder removed because of tumors that were thankfully benign... but they gave her morphine, that she is allergic to... and she through some sort of siezure while she was intubated which caused her front teeth to chip out. The metal in her back has weakened them - probably because of metalosis over these last 35 years. Anyway... the hospital wouldn't fix them, they got infected, presumably with a staff infection, she almost died of septicema, and then a free dental clinic that was a two hour trip in the country (in Wisconsin), basically destroyed her pallet by yanking out 14 teeth in one sitting. My dad promised to pay for general anesthetic, but then he backed out. 14 shots of novocaine, 6 hours to get done what would've taken an hour. She went without teeth for a year. But now, with the continued infections over the years weakening her immune system, she has constant pain and decay, and it's just horrible that no dentist will take payments. She doesn't qualify for medical assistance because we all live together and they count our income. After all the trauma she's been through, with that alone... she just deserves a new smile. Oh yeah... no attorney would take that medical malpractice (giving her something she was allergic to during surgery), because it wasn't worth fighting a big hospital in Wisconsin. Only worth a few hundred thousand. That would've changed our lives forever, but they were too greedy. She always put us first, raised us by herself for half our lives. We watched our mother go through hell when we were little. I was only 8 then, and I swore things would get better when I got older. Still swearing... although not in a good way, these days.
We need to get her a portable electric scooter and we wanted to get her this model... because it's something she would never buy for herself due to the expense.
If we could, we would give her the world, but we'll settle for giving her more independence. This one folds up and would work with our living situation, (small spaces), and allow her to still do her craft shows and writing... and travel easily so we could get economical transportation instead of a van... which might as well be a billion dollars right now.
We were also hoping to get her a comfortable rocker, so she can get out of bed and use the shiatzu massager we got her a couple of years ago, this one would help greatly because of the high back it has... we don't have a sofa, so... it's either the floor or her bed. We still have a storage in Baton Rouge that survived the recent flooding a few months back, and there's no sense replacing furniture when all we need to do is collect it. Another expense.
We were hoping to fill a little freezer full of food just to get us through the winter so it could eliminate the expensive take out or cheap TV dinners... (versus not eating at all when we can't get out)... just little things most people take for granted.
This really sucks, because just before this happened, we were saving up to surprise her with a new washer and dryer she wanted. Not anymore, unfortunately.
She gave the set she had away 13 years ago to a family who needed one when we left Wisconsin to move down south so she could get out of the cold winters with the metal in her back. She figured it was easier than moving and God would replace them... and technically He has... through laundrymats we used to be able to get to. LOL I swear they rig the apartment machines because they're always broken. Oh well... what's another year, right? Gotta laugh... until you cry.
... and just to make her feel pretty, a gift certificate to a nice day spa when she feels better so she can relax and get all that girly stuff mom's seem to like (a mani-pedi).
If we weren't all alone out here, it might be easier... really disappointed in the churches we tried. It seems if you're not a tithing member, they could care less. I'm glad God looks at the heart, and doesn't judge people based on their need. If not for the trials, where exactly is the testimony? Perhaps we'll make some good friends in spite of it all. There's more, but... no time right now to tell. Maybe when she recovers, she'll add another chapter to another book, they're awesome, by the way. We will encourage her to put her payment links back up when she feels better.
Anyway, thanks for listenting. On behalf of my mother, my brother Gabe and me (on the right), thank you for your continued prayers. I know these are only "things", and God knows exactly what we need when we need it, I just really had to vent, and maybe wish a little. I love God with all my heart, I just don't understand why all the bad stuff has to keep knocking down our door. We might not be able to get any of these things on our wish list, but... if there's one thing we've learned living with our mother... it's that God is faithful... eventually. One way or another... all things will work for good. Sometimes it's just super hard to wait.
God bless you, whoever you are. If you would like to connect with us, just use the contact form below.