Jody Hornor's Story
By CO Staff @canadaone | June 30, 2001
Jody's Story"I think all entrepreneurs think themselves indestructible to some extent. We've grown a business, gone through adversity, negotiated big deals, fought off the competition, and become a success. I always used to joke that I was Wonder Woman. My type "A" personality could handle any surprise and come out successful... or so I thought.
"The first thing I remember is holding my head saying my head exploded. It hadn't but that did set the stage for what was to come. I watched the ambulance roll in, watched my husband deal with the police (the fact that he was walking and talking was one of the few things to be thankful for in this experience), and was gently loaded into an ambulance for a ride to the ER. How my husband kept going, I'll never know, because when we were released, each with a concussion, pain pills and an order to see our doctor, I started on over a year long journey through a great fog.
"Traumatic Brain Injury is the new buzzword, or TBI for short. Nobody can tell you how bad it is, if you'll get over it, or if you do, when you might expect to. As I mustered through my fog, trying to remember to eat, getting lost every time I went out, and in intense pain through it all, my business ceased to exist. I wasn't capable of even taking calls for months. I couldn't be counted on for anything. And it didn't take long for my consulting & speaking business to totally dry up.
"Fourteen months into the recovery, we haven't seen a dime of money from our uninsured motorist coverage, and may not for a year or two yet. And, had my husband been injured to a point where he would have been unable to work, we'd be bankrupt from our poor planning!
"Thankfully the fog is lifting. I'm actually able to think, carry on a conversation, and for the past two days haven't needed pain pills. But, even at this stage, the physical injuries to my neck and shoulder only allow me 3-4 hours at the computer. The cognitive problems still make it difficult to respond quickly in conversation ... an essential element if I'm to ever make it back to the professional speaking circuit.
"This experience has taught me a lot and I'd like to share a few tips with you for preparing for an emergency:
- Have a high limit of uninsured motorist coverage -- ours is $250,000 per person.. a drop in the bucket if you're a well paid professional or entrepreneur. Remember that at least 50% of your coverage is likely to go to attorneys, expert witnesses, medical expenses, and costs of recovery. We now have a 1 million dollar umbrella policy that enhances our coverage regardless of whether our loss is in our auto or on our property.
- Get help. I'm kind of the business manager of our family and my business... with me out of commission and with no short term memory for months just taking care of day to day family business was enormously difficult. I was so "out of it" that several of the decisions I made during that time frame ended up costing us even more.
- Get a lawyer. Don't even try to negotiate with an insurance company by yourself! They'll do everything possible to make you seem like a liar and cheat. Let a lawyer run the flack for you and concentrate on your recovery.
- Listen to your doctors and other professional help. Recovery from an accident... and sometimes any type of emergency, goes through stages. My doctors told me 1-2 years, and every time I had a good day I was sure they were wrong and did something stupid to make the recovery even longer. If you're working with people you trust, then listen. As hard as it is when you're used to going a million miles an hour, you will learn and grow even from a bad experience.
- Line up people you'd trust to help you run your business, your life, and your personal affairs NOW. I had some resources in place, but I didn't know how to use them as effectively as I could have. And since I'd never had this experience, I didn't know what I didn't know, and couldn't remember it even when people tried to tell me. I was incapable of making good decisions... don't get left in that position, plan for an emergency before you have one.