Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Is About...

If you read yesterday's entry, you'll have read about what I was like before the collision I was involved in, September 30, 1980.

Today, I'd like to tell you about what I was like, afterwards.  If you're thinking I was the same person, please think again.  I wasn't; I'm not, even now.  My whole life changed, in the blink of an eye.

You need to know that prior to my driving the school bus and being hit by a tractor-trailer driver, Gordon had been my boyfriend.  Although he lived in Mississauga and Brampton areas after his divorce, he made the decision to move back to his home town, Windsor.  He thought it might be easier for him to get back on track with his only child, his son who had finally come to live with him. 

Gordon kept in touch with me, daily.  He knew I had sold my townhome, because I was afraid I might lose my home if interest rates went any higher; my plan was to rent until rates dropped, again.  Meanwhile, he wanted to make our relationship more permanent, wanting me to move to Windsor, with my daughters.  I told him I couldn't do that.  Between packing up to move, I was looking at rental housing.  At least, until the bus collision occurred.

As you will read in tomorrow's entry, I suffered great non-life-threatening injury, to many parts of my body and still suffer even 30 years later.  I have no intention of going into detail right now, but it is enough to let you know that even nine (9) years after the collision, I was receiving medical treatment.  In addition to other injuries resulting from the collision, I had a crushed jaw, for which I required two (2) surgeries to correct; I have four (4) screws and many pins in my face.

In addition to being left permanently partially-disabled with physical limitations, I contracted a rare form of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), called Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), from which I have had the complication of Iritis, causing a condition of Secondary Glaucoma; I have almost lost my eye from this and have had eye surgery to regain lost vision.  A diagnostic specialist in London, Ontario, told me that if I hadn't had an injury that affected my spine, the AS may never have been activated and may have lived my whole life without complication.  This too, is another story for another time.  I will say that I will never again be the person I once was.  I suffered, greatly; in many ways.

An important thing to know is that Gordon loved me enough to come take care of me, finish packing up my household goods and move me to Windsor.  That was truly a lot of love, especially under the circumstances.  It would have been so easy for him to have walked away from me and all my newly acquired health concerns and problems, but he didn't.

At this time I won't go into any more detail about the heartaches, pain, suffering and sorrow that I and my family experienced, but I will tell you this:  my life became a living hell.

Burdened with children who were drastically affected by the results of the collision, loss of income and a whole bunch of other problems, life became increasingly difficult to say the least.  Consequently, family problems resulted in my family being torn apart, within a few years.

Going to court over the collision was no picnic, either.  The driver, M.D., of T. Transport, fought the charge of failing to stop.  In court, he tried to blame the collision on me.  In the end, he was convicted and received a $56.00 fine and some points.

Afterwards, out in the hallway, he approached me and my friend P, who had accompanied me to court that day, apologizing to me.  M.D. claimed he didn't see my bus.  I asked him how he could possibly miss a 44' (foot) long yellow and black bus, for that's why they make school buses those colours.  He replied that he had been taking wake up pills, because he had been awake over 30 hours...and...he had only stopped for two (2) or three (3) beers. 

I believe he was trying to clear his conscience by telling me the truth and admitting he didn't see my bus, or the stop sign, or the other bus and traffic in/about the intersection, because he passed out.  The trouble was, I became emotionally burdened by his confession of guilt.

Amazing, isn't it?  The truck driver admitted breaking the law by taking pills, driving too much, having not enough sleep and driving after drinking.  Did you know that because he had taken those pills, every beer he drank was like the equivalent of having three (3)?  I found out.  Because, many years later, in the later 1980's, I became a member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), here in Windsor.

Even more amazing, was that when I questioned the police after being enlightened by the driver, why they had not breathalysed him at the scene, I was told by one of the officers who attended the scene of the collision, that these poor truckers work hard and long hours.  In other words, they pitied him.

The bus company got a new bus.  The insurance replaced the truck, too.  The admittedly drunk/drugged driver wasn't injured, because he had passed out, awaking only as is truck hit my bus; hence, the saucer-like look of his eyes, I viewed upon impact.  I didn't receive a new body, nor did I have my life restored.

Believe me, I could write a book about not only this experience, but about the abuse that followed me, even to this day, for I did not have the right to sue the truck driver, nor his employer, because we were both listed under the same driving schedule and were both eligible for Workers Compensation (WCB), now known as Workers Safety Insurance Board (WSIB).  It's interesting to note that WCB doctors claimed I was okay to do any kind of work, even though I believed I was not; I suffered another injury (to my back) while employed at my next job, complicating life, beyond belief.

Even P did not have the right to sue, because the insurance company claimed that even though the bus companies allow and in some cases encourage drivers who have young children to bring them on the job (some even install car seats), she wasn't legally allowed to be on the bus.  (Take note of this, you school bus drivers out there!)

My benefits were limited to only part of my lost income from this one job, and not for loss of earnings from all my jobs.  And, even though I should have been pensioned, to this day, I have not received a pension from this collision; they claim I fell through the cracks of the system and even years ago, they wouldn't change it.  There is more to this story, but I cannot go into it, now.

Even though I will never be again the person I once was, I am thankful that God loved me, provided for me and continues to provide for me.  I am thankful for Gordon, for loving me enough to not walk away from me.

Where would I be without Jesus?!

Until next time...

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