Frustrated in Fishers

Dear Jim,

I’m currently at a complete loss and have nowhere to turn. My car was recently totaled after it was rear-ended by another vehicle. I suffered a serious whiplash injury, a broken collarbone, and a concussion, but am on the mend. 

I feel very fortunate to be alive, and I know the accident could have been worse, but I am having a very hard time accepting the fact that the person who hit me will probably get away with it. You see, my accident was a hit-and-run and, of course, this particular intersection didn’t have any cameras that I could see. 

Now, I’m stuck with medical bill after medical bill that I can’t pay, chronic pain in my neck, and a slew of other issues all stemming from this accident. I’m hoping you can help me figure out how to come to terms with what has happened to me so I can begin to move forward with my life. It’s been three months now and I feel like I should be putting this whole experience behind me. Love your column; please help if you can.

Thanks,

Frustrated in Fishers

 

Dear Frustrated,

First, I want to start off by saying that I’m glad to hear you are recuperating well and didn’t suffer any critical injuries. Being involved in a collision can be traumatizing, and there isn’t really any specific length of time you should be following to learn to cope. Have you sought mental health counseling to cope with the effects of some post-traumatic stress you might be experiencing? 

I’m no doctor, but a friend of mine is an Indianapolis car accident attorney, and I’ve heard him mention how traumatic read-end collisions can actually be. I encourage you to look into the car accident laws in Indiana. Law enforcement may be able to identify the person who hit you in a number of different ways. 

Maybe a nearby business caught something on camera, or perhaps a witness got a partial license plate number, for example. It may be very empowering for you to take charge, get an attorney, find the guy who hit you, and make him pay. 

Then, not only will you have the self-fulfillment of bringing him or her to justice, but you’ll also have a chunk of change in the bank that you can use to cover the medical bills you mentioned. Take care, and keep us posted on what you decide to do.

All my best,

Jim

Heartbroken in Houston

Dear Jim,

I’ve read your column for years and I’m hoping that now, after reading the advice you’ve given to other people in need, you’ll be able to help me. When I found out I was pregnant almost one year ago, it was as if all my dreams had come true. I had always wanted to be a mother and after struggling for years with infertility, I felt as if my prayers had finally been answered. 

It was an uncomplicated, “normal” pregnancy, not that I had any idea what constituted a normal pregnancy. The trouble came during my labor and delivery. What should have been a wonderful, glorious day where I met my precious baby girl, was anything but that. It was certainly life-changing, and my labor had been going relatively smoothly when  my daughter’s heart rate suddenly dropped and I was rushed in to have an emergency Cesarean section. 

Before I could be rushed in, however, my daughter decided she had to make her entrance. During her delivery, she got stuck coming out, something called shoulder dystocia. The obstetrician delivering her was able to get her out, but not without injury. 

In addition to her collar bone being broken, we have since discovered that the nerves in her left shoulder were severed, causing her to have a condition called Erb’s palsy. The weakness in her little 8-week old arm is so severe, that at times it looks as though her arm is paralyzed. We’ve had to put her in to occupational therapy, and are even considering surgical intervention at this point.

Jim, I want to know how to cope. I should be spending my time cuddling the daughter I have longed for for years, but instead I find myself constantly worrying about what’s going to happen next, and whether this injury is going to be permanent. I’m just not sure what to do. 

 

Please help.

Heartbroken in Houston

 

Dear Heartbroken,

First of all, I want to start off by offering my sincere thoughts and prayers as you go through this difficult time in your life, and congratulations on the birth of your little girl. I wish I could offer you more than just a little advice, and tell you that worrying about what’s to come will never go away. 

Unfortunately, once you become a parent, the worrying never really goes away. However, there is something to be done about the birth injury your daughter has suffered. Many people find that taking action in these situations can make them feel empowered instead of helpless. 

I encourage you to do the same in this situation. It may be worth your while to look into what caused the injury. Was it the shoulder dystocia itself that caused the injury? Did the obstetrician delivering her do so the wrong way? If you have a medical malpractice lawsuit on your hands, you could be entitled to compensation for a birth injury

With that being said, try to remember that while this situation is not ideal, you have taken the steps needed to help your daughter heal, and that’s all any parent can do for their child. 

All the best to you and your daughter,

 

Jim

Confused, but Empowered

Dear Jim,

I’m in the middle of a nasty breakup. I was recently dumped by my boyfriend of three years. We started dating right out of high school and now I’m completely lost, but not in the ways you might be thinking. Since we were so young when we got together, I actually feel pretty empowered about getting back out there, dating again, and living my life without the burdens of a controlling boyfriend. 

However, it has just occurred to me that he used to do a lot of things perhaps I took for granted. He even helped me find out more about what to do when I was being discriminated against at work. Not just that, but the little things, too. For instance, I’ll be the one who has to kill the spiders now and take out the trash. That got me to start thinking about all of the other things I may not be ready to handle on my own. Jim, my dad has never been a part of my life and I need help. 

Can you please help me learn how to change a tire? Nothing I read online is making any sense, and I’ve been reading your column for months now; I know you’ll be able to help! 

Thanks in advance, 

Confused, but Empowered

 

Dear Confused,

First, I just want to say congratulations on your break up. It takes a strong woman to head out there on her own after being in a controlling relationship. I commend you for taking the initiative to learn as much as you can about things that your ex used to handle and for killing all the spiders

Now to your question: if you need to change a tire, before you get down and dirty trying to change it yourself, first check and see if you have roadside assistance through your insurance company or AAA. I’m all about learning how to do this for yourself, but if you have these roadside assistance programs, you should definitely take advantage of the opportunity. If you do not have roadside assistance and have to change the tire on your own, here’s what you do:

  1. First, make sure that you find a safe place to park. The last thing you need is to get hit by a car and then have to write in asking about how to get an attorney.
  2. Turn on your hazard lights and apply your parking brake.
  3. Put up your wheel wedges so the car doesn’t roll while you are changing the tire.
  4. Put your car jack up underneath the frame of the car and raise it.
  5. Remove the hubcap of the tire you need to change and then loosen and unscrew the lug nuts.
  6. Remove the flat tire and mount your new tire or donut if you have on in your trunk.
  7. Re-screw the lug nuts, tighten them, and replace the hubcap.
  8. Now lower the car jack, remove your wheel wedges, and you’re ready to get back on the road.

I hope this was able to help you and I wish you luck!

Jim