This week tested me more than I’ve been tested since Sloan died. My emotions and anxiety were so triggered that I was physically ill from it. One of the worst parts was not being able to discuss any of it until it was over. I was struggling to cope, and I couldn’t say a word.
We finally had our trial for the malpractice suit related to a groin strain Justin had in 2014, that was misdiagnosed as a hernia. The doctor didn’t do any diagnostic imaging to determine the issue, told Justin he had a hernia, and did a hernia repair surgery… all for a hernia he DIDN’T have. Despite a second surgeon’s best efforts to repair what the first did, that unnecessary initial surgery resulted in lifelong nerve damage and pain.
The judge stated right away that Sloan could not be brought up in any form during the trial, by anyone, because it could sway the jury. So it kept being said that I am pregnant with our third child, that we’ve had two children, etc etc. The defense attorney kept making snide remarks about my pregnancy and touting off overtly sarcastic congratulations like I am filling a clown car with kids. I wanted to shout “Fuck you, the jury doesn’t even get to know how big of a miracle this baby is, that she comes after one of our children DIED.” But instead, I had to sit silently and take it.
I wish I could have said then how it all felt, how I was sorry our son’s death might garner sympathy, but that I had to live it. How nice of the judge it was to decide my son’s life and death should be omitted like it never happened. I wish I could have done that in real life. It felt dirty omitting such a huge factor in our life. If my other children matter enough for both sides to bring them up, so does my dead child and what we’ve gone through.
The defense attorney even tried to discredit Justin’s pain by showing photos of him holding our children. Including photo of him holding Rowan the day after Sloan died. A photo he took from my Instagram, that was captioned “Tonight we celebrated our sweet Sloan’s short life”. Which means he KNEW what the caption said, and he cropped off that caption since Sloan couldn’t be mentioned.
A photo is two seconds of time. It doesn’t show the pain lifting our kids causes. It doesn’t show how he feels after. It doesn’t show the words he’s muttering in pain, and without that caption, it doesn’t show that it was a memorial for our deceased child. It doesn’t explain that he was holding our oldest, only one day after our other son died.
That defense attorney also lied about several things, he was slimy, loud, and hurtful in the most condescending and placating ways… and even with our attorney proving such, it didn’t matter and we lost our case.
I live with a husband who can barely pick up our 6 year old because of the pain it causes, but he chooses to hold our babies anyway because HE IS A FATHER. I live with a husband who comes home near tears every day because his body is so messed up from the surgery he never should have been put through. I have to do twice as much because my husband can’t.
It’s been 5 years of this because an arrogant surgeon chose to diagnose without actually testing or running images first, and did a surgery for something Justin didn’t even have. Because at the time, we trusted a physician to make the right calls and he chose to make the wrong ones. All because he wanted to get paid for a surgery that should never have happened. That surgeon, and his attorney got to go home to their cushy houses and their cushy lives, and grin over their triumph, while we struggle to get by because of the impact this has had on our lives. It is just maddening.
This has plagued our life for so long, and for the rest of Justin’s, he will live in pain. We’ve exhausted ourselves financially and emotionally for this, only to have lost. So many tears have fallen the past few days. I know we are stronger than this, I know we just have to wade through this muck and find our feet again. But this was so, so hard.