January 14, 1986 – A Day That Changed My Life

Update: In response to a Facebook question, yes this is a real event and it happened to me. I left out how much pain was involved in removing the cath or the threat of putting it back in due to lack of bathroom usage which thankfully didn’t happen as I made it clear they were only putting it back if I was either unconscious or heavily sedated.  For those interested in where this happened, here is the Google Maps location  https://www.google.com/maps/place/East+61st+St+N+%26+Rock+Road,+Bel+Aire,+KS+67067/@37.7958989,-97.2472519,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x87bb02dfc9e28f9d:0x1f9b5f1684c9923!8m2!3d37.7958989!4d-97.2450578

It was a little before lunchtime and I was a front-seat passenger in a car heading from Towanda, Kansas to Wichita, Kansas. I was just waking up from a light nap so I didn’t tense up when the wreck happened. Corner of Rock Road and 61st Street North. We were turning south onto Rock Road when the other car hit the front passenger wheel area. Not tensing up probably saved me from more serious injuries. I had a deep cut on my neck as I hit the passenger side window. It took a lot of internal and external stitches to fix. In addition to that injury, I also suffered three (3) broken bones – lower jaw (mid-section below the nasal area); right upper arm, and right shoulder. I also suffered the loss of two (2) teeth (happened soon after the wreck but a direct result of the wreck) and two (2) root canals on other teeth about where the jaw was fractured. I went in shock about the time I hit the side window. I briefly came out of shock to see a fireman standing over me. I recall being put on Lifewatch helicopter, but went back into shock. I next woke up being wheeled down the hallway to the E.R. in Wesley Hospital. I always wanted to ride a helicopter, but since I was unconscious for the ride, I don’t count this as done on my Bucket List. The chopper ride was cheaper than the ambulance ride to Wesley for the driver and I had both oxygen and an I.V. as part of the chopper bill. They were concerned my neck might be broken and I recall the neck brace. Turns out my neck wasn’t broke or seriously injured from the wreck.

I was in the Trauma Center for 75 minutes (at least I was billed for five (5) 15-minute intervals at $650/15 minute session, not counting anything else done during the trauma center visit. During the procedure, they set my arm, no biggie until they asked how it felt. Apparently, it tingles was the wrong answer as they reset it and this was the first half of what brought me out of shock. At some point, they sutured my neck because I was bleeding enough, but not enough for a transfusion. Next, they gave me a catheter. That fully brought me out of shock. If you have never had the experience, it’s best to have it done while you are under sedation. They noticed blood in my urine (probably due to the insertion of the catheter) so they did X-rays to rule out kidney or bladder damage. Side effect of the catheter was a bladder/UTI that was treated with antibiotics. They thought I would be in the hospital for a prolonged period (longer than Tuesday- Friday that it turned out to be). Let’s just say that having me flip – back – left side – right side every few hours was painful when they put me on right side. As a result of the accident, I was without glasses for several days because I was wearing a contact at the time. Eventually my glasses were returned to me. I was able to give them contact information for somebody in Wichita and my sister who lived in Mississippi. I don’t recall them mentioning my broken jaw (saw it later on a bill and had to look it up since I didn’t know what a fractured alveolar was). They informed my sister, based on a later conversation with her, but I don’t recall them informing me.

Some take-aways from the wreck. I hadn’t eaten lunch as we were going to eat lunch in Wichita. They let me have some kind of nutritional milkshake during the day, but because the driver threw up, they wouldn’t let me eat supper. The next day, the “dentist” (he got me mad when I saw him the next time and called him a dentist; he informed me he was an oral surgeon) installed archbars (silly me, I asked if it would hurt and he said no more than when braces are put in – NOTE it hurt a lot and he didn’t leave instructions for painkillers so the staff would only give me Tylenol which I declined). This visit and archbar placement happened shortly before lunch and I wasn’t in the mood to eat because of the pain. It was dinner/supper before I was able to get a decent meal.
On Friday, the doctor came in the morning and asked if I wanted to go home later in the day. I thought he was joking, but said yes. I was discharged after lunch. My doctor of record for the hospitalization I would not see until the next week as he had some kind of accident himself. My pastor came to visit me shortly after the accident and I was impressed because he doesn’t like hospitals. After a couple of days, I was moved from ICU to a semi-private room. Turns out under Kansas law at the time, my insurance was initially responsible for paying my medical bills even though the car was driven by someone else and the car was owned by her parents. End result, my insurance paid the medicals bills and the insurance company of her parents reimbursed my insurance. I was out of work for over six (6) months and received partial compensation from the insurance company to cover lost wages.

I spent several weeks in a sling for the broken arm and it was removed too early which has caused loss of strength in the arm. There was no P.T. (Physical Therapy) and didn’t realize it should have been provided. I was back to driving as soon as I was allowed in the driver seat.



About ICT Genealogist

Originally from Gulfport, Mississippi. Live in Wichita, Kansas now. I suffer Bipolar I, ultra-ultra rapid cycling, mixed episodes. Blog on a variety of topics - genealogy, DNA, mental health, among others. Let's collaborateDealspotr.com
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6 Responses to January 14, 1986 – A Day That Changed My Life

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