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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Over the hills, and far away... (What the lawyer said)

Yesterday, I busied myself with packing up my things, and was ready to go, except for breakfast.  I'd been upstairs, sorting, and packing.  I didn't want to get distracted by going down stairs, but I also didn't realize how much time I was taking.  I figured it would take over an hour, but my clothes were in 3 diffent  bags, from laundry, and visits, and gifts, yikes.  It was a bigger task, than I'd assumed.  I hoped to leave with less bags, than I'd arrived with.  No such luck.  My dad arrived, and willingly schlepped everything down to his truck.  The truck is a classic Maine rig.  It's a 1988 Chevy with intermittent heating capabilities.  It's never warmer than 50 degrees, even less on sub zero temp.  I found myself putting on another pair of  wooly scks, partway into the drive.  It was trying,but my feet couldn't stay warm.  It wasn't the usual 45,minute drive to Belfast, it was a grand 3 hour  jaunt to Bangor.  Bangor is relatively foreign territory for me.  I never went up there as a kid, although, I've made several trips since acquiring this injury, it still seems unfamiliar, and strange.  I also think of Sean, now, since he brought me up there once.  My lawyer is based up there.  Last summer, I got a letter informing me the lawyer I'd been working with, had passed away from cancer, and a new lawyer had taken over my case.  If you're curious, we are suing Bayer, the drug company that manufactured Yaz.  I was taking Yaz, when I suffered the cardiac arrest, and it was later determined to have been the cause of my impromptu cardiac arrest.  The fact that I survived, and have regained as many connections in my brain, as I have is un fathomable to me.  6 years later, I'm quite happy to be alive. Feel like my perspective on life is invariably unique, however, still similar to myself,  prior to losing the life. To which I was accustomed.  You know, stuff like independence, mobility, and oh yes, the ability to see.  I see well now, but I had a trying couple of years, where my brain could not process what my eyes said, they saw.  That may seem like an odd analogy, but sight is a sense.  Your eyes tell you what's going on around you.  The synapses that relay the message ny eyes give my brain, disappeared.  I still don't see as well as a normally sighted person, but I'll happily take what I can regain.

I've never been so mentally together, as I am today, I'm still not where I was, but I'm happy I can recognize those differences now.  It's taken my brain a long time to realize the differences, outside of my physical difficulties.  I'm okay, that I will never again be who I was at 23.  Although I'm livid, that I did everything I could to maintain a healthy, safe (relatively) lifestyle.  I was very active, had trained for, and completed my first sprint triathlon, and  had gone on a week long backpacking expedition in the Adirondacks, weeks before my heart stopped.   I was stressed about figuring out my next step, until, an amazing. Opportunity fell in my lap.  My dad had contact with a woman who ran a nonprofit, bearing her name.  I met her, discussed what she was looking for, and accepted the position, or an offer to test the waters.  The major caveat? I'd need to move to Texas.  I even had family there, and wasn't happy about moving to a red state, on my own.  But, I knew that job could be a very helpful stepping stone.  I left September 12th, to get the lay of the land, decide if I'd be the right fit.  Of course stress is a factor not to be discounted, in mcardiac arrest.  Although, if I look at the stress I've endured since my heart stopped, sep. 11th, 2007, I should've suffered at least 3 more cardiac arrests.  Losing Sean was the most difficult experience, I could've imagined, he'd been my lifeline, and my reason to stay afloat.  When he left,  I drowned in my own misery for longer than I'd like to admit.  Just as I'd begun to develop my self assurance, and willingness to push myself, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I knew I couldn't help, directly, so I tried to push through, by mentally distracting myself with school.  The busier I stayed, the less the idea of losing my mom, was on my mind.  It's hard for most anyone t see a loved family member so very ill, with an uncertain outcome.  Of course, she did make it, and still struggles with lasting symptoms, and ill effects.  I could draw some comparisons, of which there are plenty, but she was able to recover her presiding life, within a year.  Living independently, got her horse back, and her physical mobility back.  Her life is different, but still has her passions.  In that sense, I can't relate, I lost everything, physically, and mentally, and I still haven't reached any kind of self dependence.  Nor do I have the ability to get up, and go do the things I love, right when the inclination strikes.  We all lean on oneanther, to clear the major hurdles, but when the dust settles, you have to rely on yourself to pick up the pieces, and put things back together.  

Seeing a lawyer to discuss the possibility of financial compensation for what happened to me, seems preposterous, in the harsh light of day.  I chose to take a prescription to avoid becoming pregnant.  The drug made me relatively ill each day, but, I didn't get pregnant.  If I could've known I was choosing between poor timing to have a baby, and the strange, ridiculous manner of living I've needed to become accustomed to, I'd much rather be a single mom, over the anomaly, my life is today.

My previous lawyer Sam, passed away from cancer.  He'd been quite impressive, very on top of things, in the know, with regard to my case.  Lobbying the Senate to support lawsuits involving the manufacturers of prescription drugs.  In my case, I need to go after Bayer, who manufactured Yaz. The contraceptive which stopped my heart.  Really, death was not my ideal form of contraceptive.  Sure, it's effective in preventing pregnancy, but let's face it, it prevents everything else too.  Really, not what I had in mind.  Thanks to the quick action of Sean, and imaginably my roommates, I made it to the hospital, and perplexed countless doctors.  I was young, in good shape, mo addictions, there was no clear reason as to why my heart stopped.  Eventually, a possible link was established, between Yaz, and my cardiac arrest.  Labs also indicated that I'd had a lower than normal level of the essential acid, creatinine.  According to my doctor friend, low is normal, and no real cause for alarm.  My lawyer also said a similar thing, when I asked what the indication could be.  I will be livid, if my case in gets dismissed, on such a trivial detail.  Suing, in my opinion, isn't fair restitution, for the damages my life sustained.  Yes, money can be helpful, but it also comes with more regulation, concern, research, etc.  it could make life easier, in some respects, but I would need to learn to manage it appropriately.  Although, given that I am 1 of 23,000, or some ridiculously high number of women, seeking retribution for damages, in a mass claim, I very much doubt I'll see much of anything.  It's absurdly maddening to think about.  Also horrifies me that Yaz, is still on the market, under a different name, Ocella, now.  Money really does rule the world, and apparantely, indidual lives are a minor cost, in the face of a billion/trillion? dollar corporation.not so proud to be American,bright now.


Julie/Mom said...

What an incredible journey you've been on and still continue to be...Things happen for a reason, as I/we all know but most times it's difficult to understand why. I love that you are involved in writing about your recovery and hope very much you continue to do so.
Hopefully your new lawyer will carry on with this case and in due time it will be settled for you and all the women affected.
Love you the most, Mom

Lucía Torrecilla said...
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Lucía Torrecilla said...

ohh, Darling. I'm really happy you share your experience again...
You have too much strength!! That's for sure!! I just hope you keep being such strong person to be able to achieve what you expect on this NEW LIFE, even going through against as any difficulties as u come up against.
I definitely admire you a lot!!

P.S."I met you at the Brain Injury Annual Conference of Vermont Asosiation. I'm from Spain!!

Courtney Blasius said...

Hi Lucia! I remember meeting you! It was so wonderful to connect with you! I hope that you also stay strong, and that wee can continue to keep in touch!

Courtney Blasius said...
This comment has been removed by the author.