Jen's Medical and Car fund
Why we're doing this
As you can see from the photo of the news article above this happened to Jennifer on January 9th, 2015. We are here hoping people will be willing to donate any amount of money, or at least spread the word, for a situation that greatly changed her life and the life of her household. Jennifer ended up suffering a broken L2 (lower lumbar spine), as well as serious left knee issues and shoulder pain that will take many months of physical therapy to recover from. At the time of the accident massive gashes (road rash) were on her head, which had bled off and on for a whole day. Thankfully no lasting cranial trauma was present. Among all the physical trauma however is the expected psychological effect that such a serious accident can give a person and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) is not far from what she unfortunately has been suffering through.
What made matters worse was the fact that to keep their life more economical, herself and her fiancé Jesse had been sharing a car for over a year. After this accident, the car was a total loss, and therefore there was no vehicle for the entire winter due to how tight money was. Jennifer was disabled in a back brace (due to her L2 fracture), and she was further assisted by a walker for months. She still uses a cane and has limited mobility. Her fiancé continues to take care of her in his spare time as she couldn't do the simplest of things, and she has been under continuous bed rest for over three months. It's stated officially that she won't be fully up and able to work normally for another 8 months or more, making it to be around a year after the accident.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, money is in the gutter and they need support to become more stable. No amount of Jesse overworking and abandoning Jen to fend for herself all day will make up for the loss of income in a short span of time. They've been set back months and need a financial push to help them fend off the remainder of this year.
Why did you not post a gofundme sooner?
The emotional damage such events can create in a life can greatly slow down progress, and it can also make it hard to communicate feelings that need to be heard. It also makes it difficult to ask for help when your generally a very giving person and the act of asking for money can leave a sense of guilt. It's taken months for Jennifer to be able to allow this page to be opened to the public.
Having a shared income in your household can mean tough times when one person is disabled, but Jennifer felt that a gofundme page wouldn't be helpful, and that the majority of people simply wouldn't have the money to assist her with her financial issues after such a devastating accident, nor did she accept that her situation was worth making a fund for at first. The truth is that income has been cut 50% between herself and her fiancé, Jesse. While Jennifer had the assistance of her own car insurance in regards to the accident, as well as third party insurance to cover basic medical costs, it was a pull-teeth scenario that quickly began to spiral out of control, making the situation worse, especially emotionally.
Thankfully, there was a payout to equal the cost of the car, which was one large reason a gofundme didn't appear sooner. But shortly after receiving this money, another devastating event occurred; our six year old golden retriever, Nyssa, suddenly developed severe heart cancer and had to be put to sleep within three days of the symptoms first appearing (read more about her below), the cost of which was nearly $5,000, and this just happened to be all money from our car payout that we were safe keeping when they would've bought a new (used) car within another month. From the psychological turmoil of the car accident, having limited mobility, and no vehicle, life felt pretty messed up and hopeless at this point, and no amount of moral support felt to reduce the stress.
The winter of 2015 was very harsh for us New Englanders, as it was for many others. Parking became limited, and the reason for a car became scarce in a life where one person could simply walk to a part time job temporarily, despite the harsh weather, and where the other person was bed ridden and not able to work at all, it felt pointless to rush into getting a car when so many other things seemed more important (thankfully we were able to borrow family vehicles on a limited basis for basic needs). We'd like to think that we didn't get a car right after getting a payout for the sole purpose of assisting us in making the right decision with our wonderful and beautiful Nyssa, who died way too young and at a time when her emotional support was much needed.
How exactly did this accident happen?
While the Concord Monitor and other news outlets had some basic information as to what had actually happened (see the photo of the news article above), there are a few things that were missed and Jennifer would like to clarify.
Jennifer had been driving home in the late morning on Friday of January 9th, It had been snowing a bit, and the previous night’s temperatures were far below freezing, leaving very slippery conditions. It was clear that the city of Concord had not put any salt down on the part of the interstate where Jennifer had slid. Two cars in front of Jennifer started to fish tail as they were trying to slow down before the lights at the end of I-393 (heading west).
Since the people fish tailing were in the right lane, Jennifer tried to slow down and coast safely into the left lane to avoid a collision, in the way anyone should approach such a thing in the conditions she was experiencing. But at this moment it was too late. She knew she was not going to be able to stop in time. At the point she entered the left lane she hit a batch of ice. She hit the front drivers side of her car on the cement block in the middle of the road immediately after as she tried to stabilize the car.
Thankfully, at this point, she wasn't in any real danger aside from bumping her car on some cement. She then managed to safely, and slowly, get her car under control and she pulled it into the break down lane, against the guard rail on the right side of the road. She switched on her emergency lights, and waited for cars to pass. At this point she took off her safety belt and got out of her car to make sure it was still drivable.
One person stopped a ways in front of her to check if she was alright. They both noticed it was going to be a basic paint job so no real concern arose from Jennifer or to the kind person who had stopped. The man walked off after finding out Jennifer was fine and headed back to his car to drive off. Jennifer then carefully walked to the front driver side of her car and waited for a clearing in traffic to get in and begin driving home safely. As she was about to take her first step to the driver’s side door, that’s when the real collision occurred.
"Time seemed to slow down. The next thing I remember was seeing the sky as I had been thrown back by my own car hitting me. I knew in that instant I was going to hit the pavement hard and god only knew if I was going to land in traffic. It was at that point I closed my eyes and hoped for the best."
The crunching of two cars impacting on the ice, as well as the loss of awareness and focus as to what was happening around you, is something that few know but the ones who do will never forget. The sudden moment of terror that can hit your gut and the realization that this might be your last moment alive. These were all things Jennifer experienced this day.
"Once the sounds stopped I opened my eyes, only to notice I was surrounded by darkness with the only light coming from the front of the car, somewhere above my head. It was at that point I knew I was stuck under the car, my own car. I started to scream right away hoping that maybe the guy from before was still there. It was at that point I noticed the blood started to pour out from somewhere... I didn't even know it was my head as my entire body was in a state of shock."
After a few minutes a few people had showed up to see what had happened, including the one who had initially pulled over the check on Jen, but it took them a few moments to even realize where she was. Jennifer was trying to get air into her lungs to have enough energy to scream again as the car was pinning her tightly against the ground.
"The thing that put panic in me the most was when I heard one person ask where I was that they had no clue I was under the car. It's such a terrible feeling when you’re trapped, dazed, in lots of pain, and where no one knows how to save you, if even for a moment. I eventually got enough air into me and let out another scream hoping it was loud enough over the traffic sounds for them to find me. They did, and once more people showed up. A good thing too, as they had to lift the car off of me and it was far from a one-person job."
Jennifer was found face down with her body twisted and they didn't dare move her at first. The ground was cold enough to cause slight hypothermia. One person grabbed one of her sleeping bags out of her car and placed it over, trying desperately to keep some warmth for her before emergency personnel showed up.
It took more than a few minutes for them to get to her as weather had been harsh enough to make road conditions unpleasant for everyone. By the time she got to the hospital they had to keep putting on hot blankets to try to stabilize her. She ended up having a full body CAT scan. She was then in the ICU for half a day before heading off to a room for three days. The reason she was let out at this point, when in all reality she should've stayed a bit longer, was due to her lack of health insurance. She was in the process of receiving Medicaid, but it wouldn't come in time, so the hospital wouldn't keep her any longer, no matter how much discomfort she was in. Furthermore, any medicaid charges that have actually been made since first receiving it in February are being reimbursed with car insurance due to the situation we're in by law, so no money is being saved through using medicaid in relation to medical costs, if only to save direct out-of-pocket costs before everything is said and done.
So why are you asking for money? Do you really need it? Isn't insurance covering your medical costs?
Having your income cut in half can be detrimental to your living situation. It can have far reaching impacts further when whatever insurance compensation you’re supposed to receive is slowed down or spent on other emergency expenses which come up and can't be ignored. At the current moment Jennifer and Jesse's financial burden is very high and has set them back months, putting them in a state of borderline bankruptcy. But bankruptcy is not an option, nor is leaving Jennifer alone to fend for herself home alone when she still needs assisted living, even when money is so tight. Even if Jesse ends up working twice as much as usual, Jennifer still needs that support of which would be cut in half, and much of the extra money made would be spent on her necessities as well as to begin paying off newly charged bills that will take years to pay off, even if we dumped all our money into them (this is not including the charges insurance will cover as MOST of that will be covered). The need to pay down a few bills quickly so the financial weight is alleviated is high, if even by a little. This will open up free monthly income Jesse is making and give them more flexibility with what they can accomplish financially.
Her initial hospital stay ended up being close to $32,000. Her initial CAT scan was a bit over $1,000. The ambulance ride was also around $1,000. Each of her doctor appointments at Concord Orthopedics cost $300.00-$400, and includes additional x-rays and a doctor chat (which happen twice a month between two separate doctors). Having hassles with third-party insurance (of the person who had initially hit Jennifer on the 9th), as well as limits on what money we could access, a lawyer was needed to put financial woes associated with the accident in order.
It's estimated that the total costs, after close to a year of physical therapy, further x-ray's, an MRI, and other unexpected expenses may exceed $100,000, which is the total third-party insurance will give us, and which means any additional medical costs will spill into our own personal funds. If the cost remained below this maximum then we would get some sort of payout in another year, but this is not set in stone, and with how fast it's being eaten up it's becoming increasingly unlikely. Furthermore, the direct medical coverage that her personal insurance company will give her (note: seperate from her past received car payout) is not much in comparison, nor have we received it yet, and even when she does it only pay for a low to mid quality used car, not unlike the state of her Forester before the accident.
Due to the fact she is out of work until 2016 and many additional costs have accrued, from over the counter medicines and hygienic supplies (oxycodone, lots of Tylenol, gloves and wipes, doctor prescribed dietary supplements, etc.), medical assistance supplies (such as a cane), as well was the fact that personal savings have all but completely dwindled to pay for additional emergencies, it's without a doubt that her and Jesse will experience a very hard economic time within a short period of time, even greater than what their experiencing now.
While family assistance has been there from the beginning in the form of clothing, car rides, and moral support, it's been limited, and it's not right to demand too much from the people closest to you, especially when money is tight for all. Occasionally borrowing a car for doctor visits or grocery shopping is also not expected to last forever, so additional funding to get a worthwhile car beyond what they had before the accident would make Jennifer's life, and Jesse's for that matter, a little more stable (Jesse is the only one who can drive until she's completely healed). While a decent used car can be found and purchased for a variety of low price ranges, they need reassurance that what they get will last for more than a few years, and one that holds up well and gives a sense of security.
Jennifer and Jesse are asking for at least $5,000 to help with food, miscellaneous medical costs beyond what insurance can pay, and hopefully manage to do a down payment (or complete payment) on a decent car so Jesse can start working a second job to make up for the loss of income. The money would also insure that gas money and any initial or regular maintenance of having a car in the first year is covered. As of now Jesse has been walking to work at night and primarily on weekends, leaving most of his schedule open to be a full-time care giver for the woman he loves and wants to support. While it's spring now, he suffered through wintry conditions and slippery sidewalks (or no sidewalks at all), just to make enough money to help with basic costs for Jennifer and keep them afloat.
To clarify regarding complete insurance payouts, and as to why it's an issue at the current moment, Jennifer won't receive a penny until all medical visits, including all physical therapy, is concluded. As mentioned prior this is expected to be in early 2016. . While that's the third party insurance, a setback with her direct insurance has greatly slowed down her $5,000 coverage that she should've had months ago, and her insurance company in fact broke state law. Her lawyer has had to talk to their corporate headquarters to get the issue straightened out. They had sent the money to the hospital without permission, and the request for them to reclaim the money and send a check to Jennifer has been ongoing. If and when that money shows up it will only be used for a vehicle, which leaves open a slew of other issues to be dealt with.
The loss of Nyssa and why it was so rough:
Jennifer has been an in-home local dog trainer in the Concord area for a number of years. While it's been a fledgling business and was just beginning to take positive roots, she loved it with all her heart. Dogs are not only a large part of her life, but a beacon of support, love, and compassion for herself, and she want's nothing more than to see happy families by using positive reinforcement (as in no forms of negative punishment) to help train countless dogs the right way. She also has had dogs her whole life at home and has always give all her heart to her two golden retrievers, Aya and Nyssa
Nyssa was Jen's best friend next to Jesse; she was there when Jesse was working; she was there when Jennifer was sad; she was there when times were rough. Nyssa was also her demo dog during training sessions, and not only had Nyssa helped many families in aggression cases to help train their dogs how to live better lives, she also taught families how to deal with fearful children as well as how to train without the use of force. No person was as hard working and compassionate as Jennifer was in her line of work, nor was any bond greater than the one she shared with Nyssa. In the first month after her accident Nyssa was there for moral support, as a warm body to cuddle with, and one to give her smiles at all and any hour. Nyssa knew something had happened to Jennifer and quickly began to become an emotional support dog in her own way, far beyond what many would have ever expected from their furry companion. If Jennifer started to cry in the middle of the night Nyssa would get up and spend time with Jennifer until she would fall asleep again.
Around mid-February Jennifer and Jesse began noticing Nyssa was sleeping a lot and seemed to be out of energy. She wouldn't eat her food, not even special treats. It was at that point Jesse took her to the vets on a cold Saturday morning. The first vet had no idea what was going on with her, but she recommended an ultrasound at CAVES (the local emergency vet clinic). We then rushed her to CAVES, only to find out her heart was being crushed by liquid in the sac around it. They ended up doing a draining of her heart to see if she would stabilize, as they weren't fully aware as to what was going on yet (an expert was supposed to show up two days later). After a rough weekend of constant worries, multiple draining’s, and hearing mixed feelings about her current state, we got the sad news on Monday that Nyssa did indeed have a heart tumor. By the time Jennifer was able to get to the vet donning her back brace and walker her dog was pale white and in such a poor state that there was no hope. The right thing to do was to let her go, and after about two hours of saying our goodbyes and a simple walk around the building, we kissed her goodbye.
The only humane option was to have her put to sleep. She was only six years old and she was the world to Jennifer, and meant just about as much to Jesse. With her broken back Jennifer wasn't able to hug Nyssa goodbye the normal way, save for Nyssa's final hind-leg up lick on the face before the final moments. It took Jennifer a week to be able to eat and keep food down from the constant crying and cramping in her abdomen. To Jennifer she didn't just lose a dog: she lost a daughter, and powerful emotional support after such a harsh, life changing accident just a few weeks prior. It was a daughter she did not get to say goodbye to in the way she had hoped. The reaction to the death was obviously made worse due to the recent turmoil already present in her life.
(Picture below: Nyssa having her last walk with her family at the vets).
"I began to think this was my punishment for living through the car accident, as if it was a tradeoff for not going along with the car. All of my doctors kept telling me I should be dead, so it started to hit me deep. And now I lost my daughter. The cancer the vet said was a rapid form. We could have taken Nyssa in a month ago and no tumor would have ever shown up. I feel at a lost and most of all I feel like it was my fault."
By the end the vet costs, including a 48 hour vet stay and 4 heart taps to remove liquid, the cost was $4997 dollars, all for us to simply make the right choice, so she didn't have to suffer any more pain or discomfort.
Nyssa (left), and Aya (right), visiting a local pond during the previous autumn.
Where is Jennifer now, both physically and emotionally?
Jennifer had a back appointment a couple of weeks ago. While the L2 is still broken, the doctor wanted to take the back brace off to start building muscle mass. She was in the brace for about three months straight, so it felt bizarre to have it off, and still does to an extent. She has lost most of her muscle mass in her body and often times tires out quickly and she's not able to sit more than 30 minutes (doctor’s orders). She still has a lot of pain in her back, knee and shoulder but is glad to hear that all parts were healing, albeit very slowly. Physical therapy is to help begin supporting her recover process and begin the long road to regular mobility.
Doctors are saying it may take easily a year before Jennifer will be able to do her normal work, which is both dog training as well as massage therapy (she's a licensed massage therapist in the state of New Hampshire). They are also telling her she will have to do permanent life changes. Therapy begins in May and should begin helping Jen to do basic things, but it won't be an instant process.
Jennifer also hopes to start a blog so people who donate can follow along in her journey while she is healing and becoming a whole person again. She feels it would be good for her to voice her feelings online as it may help with the healing process and the loss of her dog, which is still in the recent past for her.
As of now they still do not have a car in their name, which means Jesse is limited in what he can do for work.
Note from Jennifer to any supporter in the past and in the future: Thank you for donating any amount of money. Thank you to anyone who shares this through social networking. Thank you to all those people who stopped that day and lifted the car off of me. It is hard for me to ask for help but I hope the community will be able to help us out during our time of need. I hope that anyone who has been through a similar experience, or knows of someone who has, understands how hard it can be when you don't have many outlets to choose from for support.
If you donate thank you! Even if you cannot donate anything, please at the very least share this on your Facebook timeline, on blogs, websites, or print out the flyer and hang it up around the community. We need to hit $500.00 to make this gofundme page public, so more people can donate and help out around the world. If you’re reading this if and when it hits $500 or does indeed surpass it, we greatly appreciate you going through the time it took to read our detailed account of the last few months.
Again, I really appreciate everyone who has donated even a little bit. It’s going to help us get back on track, especially since insurance is so slow and not being able to work is also not without its frustrations. But I get a strong sense of relief knowing that some people are willing to show their support, and I know both Jesse and I are eternally grateful.
I will continue to try and update this page when I have good info to post.