Diary

Snake bit - BTRBe A Smart Client was the third title of this book.  The first was Snakebit.  An attorney in the Denver City Attorney’s office said my case was “snakebit,” because so many things went wrong.  This is my diary of events as they took place.  The names of the guilty and inept have been changed because they would sue.  Pudge, the dog who bit me, is his real name.  I don’t think he will sue.  The other people mentioned are friends and family who helped.

 

 

Characters:

Pudge              Dog who attacked me (his real name)
Mama              Lady walking dog
Fric and Frac Workers at animal shelter
George             Manager at animal shelter
Defendant       Lady who owned dog
Archie              First attorney
Eddie                Second attorney
Jess                   Intern at city attorney’s office
#666                 Attorney who dismissed the case
Gladys             Attorney in Colorado Supreme Court
Marcel             Gladys’ supervisor
Adolph             Third attorney
Curly                Attorney at city attorney’s office

I became proficient in swearing throughout this ordeal and there was a lot of swearing in my original diary.  Not wanting to offend anyone,  I deleted it but feel free to swear anytime you want.  I did.

July 26, 2011

I walk every morning.  Around 7:00 am I had just come off the Highline Canal and was walking through a parking lot two blocks from home.  I saw an old woman with a large black dog.  The dog was sniffing something on the curbing between the street and sidewalk.  As I approached them, the lady and leashed dog moved a few yards away.  I said hello and asked what the dog had found.  The lady said she didn’t know and then pointed to it.  I bent down and looked at it, then straightened back up and started to go back to the sidewalk.  The dog, without any provocation, snapped at my hand and bit the top part of my right index finger off.

I wasn’t sure what happened because it all happened so quickly. But when I saw blood spurting out from my hand it became clear.  I started screaming.  The woman told me there was nothing wrong and that I was alright!  There were six landscapers across the street watching everything but offered no help.  Talked to them and no one spoke English – probably in the country illegally.  A couple of neighbor ladies came out; one gave me a towel with ice and another called 911.
The ambulance arrived.  One of the EMTs found my fingertip in the grass.  When I got in the ambulance, the two attendants said that they would take me to Swedish Hospital instead of the hospital I requested because they had to take me to the closest hospital so the fingertip could get sewn back on quickly.  I was strangely calm on the ride to the hospital.  Everything was pretty surreal.  I was in shock.

Don, a friend, arrived at the hospital before I even went to surgery.  Then more friends, Susie and Donnie, showed up.  The officer who took the report at the accident scene came to the hospital.  The medical personnel were attentive and great.  Well, there was one who put my fingertip in a plastic bag and put it on my stomach so I could see it.  I about threw up and asked him to cover it.  He wrapped it in a towel.  There were a lot of forms to fill out and then they took me into surgery.

I was released around 5:00 that night.  Susie took me home to get some clothes so I could go to their house to stay.  Had a message from Colorado Bar that they had a job for me the following week.  Stayed with Susie and Donnie that night and the next day.  Susie had to help me take a shower because I was all bandaged up and I couldn’t get my arm wet.  That was a humbling experience.

July 28, 2011

Went home this morning.  Pain was excruciating and took two pain killers.  Called animal control to get the dog bite report.  Talked with Fric for a long time.  I told her I was in a lot of pain and may forget some things.  I asked her to call back and leave a detailed message regarding what we had talked about.  She did leave a message but said nothing about how to obtain the dog bite report.  Because I’m taking Augmentin, an antibiotic, got some cherry-flavored Kiefer, a probiotic.  It helped settle my stomach. Looking back on it, it might have helped if the doctor had known I don’t do caffeine (coffee, pop), have a sensitive stomach and any drug with a speedy effect is amplified in my body.  I got intensely sick from the antibiotic Augmentin and the anti-depressant kept me up all night (but I was happy!).  My mind has always been on overdrive so I can’t even take Gingko Biloba.

July 29, 2011

I asked a friend to call animal control for me because I wasn’t feeling good and no one had contacted me regarding the dog or the owners.  She called and reported they didn’t have any information on my case at all.

Typing takes me 3 times as long as usual because I can only type with my left hand.  My right hand and halfway up my arm is all bandaged up.

Antibiotics are ripping me up.  Called doctor and he said I had to stay on them.  Can’t do anything except lie in bed.  Taking a lot of pain pills.

July 30, 2011

Went to my appointment with the hand surgeon.   The office he leases is in a foreclosed building, owned by the bank.  Weeds in the parking lot, bathroom was totally gross and the elevator sounds like it’s ready to crash.  Taking the stairs from now on.  He looked at my finger for about 5 minutes and when I asked him what he thought about it, he said he couldn’t tell if the tip was healing or not.  It was the first time I saw the finger.  It was all white with big black stitches.  It looks like a Frankenfinger.

When I returned home, I called 311 and asked for animal control.  I talked to a woman.  She couldn’t find any details on the report.  I also talked to the head of animal control.  The first time I called they gave it one case number.  The second time I called they gave it another number.  The woman had me talk to a sergeant.  He was familiar with the case and knew how bad the bite was.  He told me the name of the officer who came to the hospital and talked to me.

The sergeant said that Denver was the hub for the family who owned Pudge.  The owner’s mother lived in Denver and her grandmother visiting from Guatemala was the one walking Pudge.  The owners were at a wedding in Puerto Rico and lived in Texas.  The sergeant left a message for a woman who worked on the dog bite desk to call me Monday.  He apologized no one had contacted me yet.  Between the antibiotics, pain pills and dealing with the incompetent people, I am going crazy.

August 1, 2011

Had a doctor appointment today.  As I headed for my car I sensed something was wrong, but didn’t figure it out until I got inside my car.  My stereo was gone.  I guess someone thought I hadn’t suffered enough and they had to steal my stereo.  Didn’t have the strength to cry.  God, I know they say you don’t give us more than we can handle, but are you kidding me?

Received voicemail from Fric saying I needed to write a letter to the director of the shelter to get dog bite report.  Emailed letter to her today and she acknowledged. Fric emailed that I should send her medical bills and other expenses and she would give to city attorney.

August 2, 2011

Chris told me to file a police report.  I tried to and they said I couldn’t because it was animal against human.  In order for a police report to be filed, it had to be a human on human crime.

August 6, 2011

Send email to Fric saying I hadn’t received dog bite report yet.

August 8, 2011

Send email to Fric saying I hadn’t received dog bite report yet.  She replied she would check with George.  Sent email to the mayor of Denver:

“I have called Animal Control 3 times; today have been on hold for over 76 minutes.  Animal Control Officer Fric has spoken to me but I still do not know the owner’s name, the hearing date, nothing.  I have not received a dog bite report.  I was on the phone with 311 for 20 minutes while the lady took all my information, yet again.  

The dog is out of quarantine, I am still out of work, not knowing if the surgery even took and I am getting no help from anyone.”

No response.

August 9, 2011

Sent email to Fric:

“I received a call today from Frac. She asked for Helen [sic] Hughes and said she heard I needed some information about a dog incident.  I told her I was dumbfounded that she didn’t have any more information than that about it.  I told her I had spoken and e-mailed you about it several times.  Her only comment was that I mispronounced your name.   I told her the incident happened 2 weeks ago today.  She told me she needed a specific date.  She said I had to send $1.50 to get a dog bite report.

You have never told me where to send $1.50.  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE give me this information so I can get this report before any more time lapses.”

How incompetent are these people?

August 10, 2011

Finally heard from animal control how to get bite report.  No letter was needed.  No $1.50 sent anywhere.  I just had to go down and pay $1.00.  The report is the same as the one the officer showed me in the hospital two weeks ago.  Half a page, hardly any information.  Complained to George, the manager, about the hassle getting the report.  Wasn’t concerned at all; said that was normal.

August 16, 2011

Received e-mail from Fric:

“Received your receipt. The ticket was taken down to court yesterday and will be entered by the court. The court date is August 30, 2011 at 1:30 pm location 520 W Colfax Avenue courtroom 4A in the Justice Center. This is an arraignment for the defendant. The Public Legal Advisor will be in contact with you for any restitution. Below is the names of the Public Legal Advisor’s [sic] that will be handling the case.”

August 18, 2011

Appointment at 3:00 pm with general practitioner. He didn’t like the way my finger looked and sent me to emergency room.  Sat on gurney for most of night.  One attendant tried to put in an IV and missed the vein.  Very painful.  About an hour later another attendant was able to correctly place IV in arm.  Was not told what was happening – whether finger was going to be amputated that night or what.

At 3:00 am a doctor started debriding (cutting away dead tissue to promote healing) my finger.  The only anesthetic given was needle shots into the finger itself.  Takes my breath away again just thinking about it.  It was so painful.  But it was nothing comparing watching the doctor cut away the black flesh.  Thank heavens I know hypnosis.

In my teens I was a Candy Striper for only two weeks because I have a queasy stomach. (Bless the people who’s calling is the medical profession!) I knew being awake for this procedure was going to be tough. Time for hypnosis. Once I relaxed myself, I asked my mind for help to keep myself calm throughout the debridement.   My mind brought forth my spiritual team. It consisted of my Aunt Evelyn, Uncle Carroll and Uncle Clif. During their lifetime, Evelyn and Carroll both experienced several major health issues. But they were strong people and never fell into the self-pity mode and continued living life at full tilt. My Uncle Clif was always full of energy and life and joy. They were the perfect team to focus on during the debridement procedure. Any time my attention wandered to my right hand, they gently pulled it back. A couple of friends (still living) made cameo appearances, but my mind would remember that they should be at work or doing something else and they quickly faded away. The spiritual team brought me through the whole procedure with softness and strength.

Another doctor came in around 4:00 and cut away more tissue.  He asked me if I wanted to listen to classical music he had on his iPod.  Very nice and soothing.  Quickly went back to hypnosis and “The Team”.  Was released around 5:00 pm the next day.   Was put on another regime of antibiotics – 6 clyndimyacin a day– and pain killers.

August 19, 2011

Now I have some brown liquid I have to soak my finger in and then dress it every day.  It doesn’t look like a Frankenfinger anymore.  It’s grosser than that, if that was possible.  The nurse said when I pull off the old dressing, it will pull a little more of the dead tissue away.  I thought I was going to pass out the first time I did it.  It hurt so bad and it’s disgusting looking.  I couldn’t handled Candy Stripers for two weeks and now I have a finger that is dying and looks eaten away and I have to look at every day.

August 23, 2011

Doctor checked finger and seemed hopeful that the finger would regenerate itself.  I’m not too hopeful about anything right now.  Still haven’t heard from the Public Legal Advisor, #666, who’s supposed to be contacting me.

To add to the stress, trying to get everything ready to move by the first.  Lori came over and packed up a lot for me.  I was so sick, I pretty much just sat there and she did all the work.  Bless her!

August 25, 2011

Last day of antibiotics.  Thought I would feel better but almost went to emergency room because I was so sick.  Finally got sick to my stomach and the only thing that came up was green bile.  Think I was OD’ing on antibiotics.  Called friends to tell them I couldn’t have the moving sale because I was too sick. Called landlady and asked if I could stay and have sale on Saturday, September 3 instead. She was very accommodating and said yes.

August 26, 2011

Had to stay in bed all day because too sick to do anything else.

August 30, 2011

Doctor said the fingertip wasn’t healing and it would have to be amputated. On the way home I saw a couple of women I hadn’t seen for a long time.  She asked how I was and I almost took her head off.  Sorry, Barb and Pam.  I was in a very dark place at the time.  Amputation is set for September 15.

August 31, 2011

Spoke to victim’s advocate.  She told me about website where I could find out about my case.  If I hadn’t had this information I would not have known there was an arraignment yesterday, the defendant showed up for it, a trial had been scheduled and the defendant had an attorney.  Still haven’t heard from #666.  What is the problem?

September 3, 2011

Had garage sale.  Well, Chris and Sissy had a garage sale.  I pretty much sat there. Not good for a whole lot these days.  Mary came over and put up signs.  Thank heavens for friends!  Completely wiped out.  Pretty heavy on the pain killers today.

September 4, 2011

Tired of everything.  Gave away a lot of free stuff today.

September 5, 2011

Woke up at 1:30 and couldn’t go back to sleep.  Thought about what type of person would let a dog who has attacked before out on the streets.  Why wouldn’t she think about other people.  Did she not care at all?  She doesn’t care about her little grandmother who was walking the dog?  He could have bit her just as easily.  An image of the owner popped into my head.  Dark hair, dark eyes and no fingers because Pudge had bitten them all off.  Ha!  Yes, the pain pills were definitely messing with my mind.

September 6, 2011

Ray and Chris and Mary and Heather helped move me into Christopher’s house.

September 7, 2011

Now that I’m moved, I can’t sleep at all.  Couldn’t sleep and thought about Pudge.  Black Labs are noted for their friendly disposition. So why did he attack with no provocation? He didn’t growl, bark or snarl. He just bit. I bet it was because he was in unfamiliar territory around unfamiliar people. His owners drove him from Texas to Denver, along with an entourage of other people. When he bit me, his owner was attending a wedding is Puerto Rico and Pudge was being watched by a grandmother who probably weighed less than he did. How irresponsible!

September 7, 2011

Trying to get things put away but it’s hard with only one hand.  Still taking pain pills but want to get off them as soon as possible.

September 9, 2011

Talked to animal control to try to get more information.  The original bite report only had dog owner’s name, not name of lady walking dog or where she was staying.  Animal control said the officer who took the report no longer worked there and they had no further information.  These people are about as worthless as teats on a boar.

Talked to a personal injury attorney referred by a friend.

September 15 & 16, 2011

Today is the amputation of my fingertip.  Had some kind of flu that had my stomach in a vice right before going into surgery.  Medical providers were great. Asked the anesthesiologist to make suggestions while I was under.

Hand all wrapped up again.  Was supposed to leave after surgery but my oxygen was low and had to stay overnight.  They have really good chicken noodle soup.  Archie, attorney referred by friend, called me at hospital.  Anna Lee picked me up and took me home.  Had to have oxygen at home because my levels were low.  Geez, I used to be healthy.

September 17, 2011

Contacted Archie and sent him more details about attack by e-mail.  He said to call him anytime and he would call right back.

September 18, 2011

Called Archie and left message.  No return call.

September 20, 2011

The shooting pain has lessened but there is a new pain now.  Not sure what it is.  Finger hurts – feels like finger’s blood is stuck on gauze. Took pain pill.

No word from Archie.

September 21, 2011

Archie returned my call today.  Very strange conversation.  He started grilling me about why I looked at the grass (where dog was sniffing).  He sounded very hostile.  He kept asking if I was into looking at gross things.  What a strange thing to ask.  When I told him I was facing north and stepped back onto the sidewalk and turned to my right (east) he argued the direction was west.  I said it was east but he insisted it was west.  He told me to draw a picture and e-mail it to him.  I don’t think so.  He’s too nasty and strange.  Sent him an e-mail saying thanks but no thanks.

Called an attorney friend today and told him what happened.  He doesn’t handle my type of case but he knows someone who does.  Told him what Archie said and he said Archie was probably prepping me for trial in anticipation of what the defense counsel would ask.  Prepping people and being antagonistic before they’ve even hired you is not too bright.

September 22, 2011

Met with attorney friend and other attorney, Eddie.  Told Eddie that #666  was handling my case and he said he had worked with her before and she was great and everything would be fine.  Something didn’t feel right about what he said.  Felt like he was bragging.

They ran a background report on the defendant and sent it to me.  I called the animal control agencies in the cities where defendant lived.

September 23, 2011

Went to walk this morning.  First time I’ve taken a morning walk since July 26.  After walking a few feet, a person with a German Shepherd was coming off the trail.  I freaked out and stood off to the side until they were far, far away.  Guy with Rags (Greyhound) who I’ve known and talked to for years came over.  I petted Rags while I cried the whole time.  It was very cathartic.

Nurse from hand surgeon’s office called.  She said pain is probably a stitch getting caught in the gauze.  I have to be careful how I move my hand all the time to keep from having this pain.  Still can’t help it and have the pain a lot so still taking the pain medication.  She said to prepare myself because when they take off the bandage the finger will be swollen and red and it won’t look good.  It will take a while for puffiness to go away.

Later that day I received call from Miami.  Found out possibly the dog had a history of attacking people and the owner didn’t try to protect people from it. Talked to Susie across street and told her what I found out from Miami Animal Shelter.

Went to movie with Meg – first social outing I have had since this whole thing began.

September 24, 2011

Went out to walk around the neighborhood this morning.  All was fine until I passed by a fenced yard and didn’t notice the dog.  He ran toward the fence and barked.  I felt like I was going to faint or throw up.  Took 1/2 anti-depressant and went back to bed.

Besides the finger’s constant pain, various other parts of my body hurt.  At the hospital, when they put the contrast in me to take a CT scan I started crying.  I told the attendant that I could not take any more pain.  The stint they put in my left hand was a constant source of pain.  I had to keep my hand slightly cupped or it was very painful.  I finally begged them to take it out and on Friday afternoon they did.  My hand still hurts today from that hole still healing.

September 25, 2011

Went to church.  Lady prayed for me.  Finger still hurts – feels like stitches stuck in gauze.  Have to be careful how I move the finger. Took ½ anti-depressant.   Trying to stop taking the pain pills. Woke up at 2:00 am and couldn’t sleep.  Getting hooked on TV.

September 26, 2011

Appointment with general practitioner doctor.  He asked about finger.  I said I was alright if I didn’t talk about it; would cry if we did, so we didn’t.   One more day before bandages come off.  Very nervous about it.  Don’t really plan anything for tomorrow after the appointment.

September 27, 2011

Went for a walk – freaked out when saw big yellow dog in fenced in yard but couldn’t go home and back to bed.  Getting bandages off today.  Doctor, nurse and assistant were present.  Gauze stuck to finger and it hurt when removed.  They said I need to start trying to bend finger.  The tendon that went to end of  my finger had been removed.   The other tendon that goes to second joint needs to be worked.  I’m used to using both my hands all day long and haven’t used my right hand and arm for so long.  They all said it would take a while to get them back into shape and not hurt. Made appointment for physical therapy next week.  Took ½ anti-depressant before appointment.  Took pain killer at night.

I watered planter in sink and when I put it back on windowsill, pushed planter back onto finger.  I am going to have to watch everything I do with my hand for a while.  Everything hurts it.  Very painful.

September 28, 2011

Took ½ anti-depressant and pain killer in am.  Went to see GP.  He recommended I keep taking ½ anti-depressant each day.  Therapist called and made appointment for next week.  Went to bed without pain killer.  Woke up from 2:00 – 4:00 am because of pain.  Tried to wait it out but finally took pain pill at 4:00 am.

For months my days have been filled with doctor appointments, trying to get info for my case, pain and depression.  Looking forward to when I can have a real life again.

September 29, 2011

Took ½ anti-depressant. Went to scratch knee with right hand and hit right index finger on underside of desk.  Yowww!  Went to see Anna Lee and we talked about my finger.  Cried a little.  My whole right hand and arm hurts from lack of use.  My wrist and hand hurt.  Thinks it’s probably because I was typing today and those muscles aren’t used to be worked.  Took pain killer at night.

Woke up at 3:00 am.  Couldn’t sleep.  Getting used to it.

September 30, 2011

Pain killer and anti-depressant in morning.  Went to put clothes on shelf and hit finger again.  PAIN! Going to have to change way I move.  Used to using the right hand a lot; cannot do that now.  My wrist, hand and arm hurt.  Trying to exercise them more.

October 1, 2011

Took pain pill and ½ anti-depressant today.  Went to have physical today.  Stopped doctor – said I couldn’t handle any pain today and already had 3 doctor appointments this week.  Will reschedule.  Went to art museum and stood with the Occupy Denver people for a while.  Felt good to be out.  Took another pain pill at 2:00 because finger was hurting.  Still wear sling every time I go out.  Afraid someone may accidentally hit my finger.

October 2, 2011

Didn’t go to church because finger is hurting and didn’t feel good.  Spent most of the day inside and kept arm elevated.  Took ½ anti-depressant and pain pill in morning.  Took another pain pill in afternoon and one before bed.  Whole wrist area and palm of hand hurt a lot.  Have been trying to type more and pretty sure that’s what is making them hurt.

October 4, 2011

Went to grocery store and was checking out at self-checkout.  The attendant came over and was talking with me.  She asked me what happened to my finger.  I told her what had happened and that my finger was hurting a lot and I needed to take a pain pill NOW.  Had to run to the car to get water to wash the pill down.

October 5, 2011

Went to physical therapy today.  Still can’t handle even the slightest pain.  When she took out the 5 stitches on the tip of the finger, it hurt a lot.  One lady sprayed something to desensitize my finger.  Physical therapy consists of bending finger and rubbing it a lot.  Have to soak it in saline water and tap it a lot to try to desensitize it.

October 6, 2011

Took ½ anti-depressant and ½ pain pill.  Went out for a while in morning.  Everything okay.  Cathy came over to visit in afternoon.  While she was here I had a pain attack and ran to bathroom to get a pain pill.  When pain comes on, it’s very quick and painful.  Have to take a pill quickly.

October 7, 2011

Took ½ anti-depressant and ½ pain. I went to BNI to substitute for Susan.  Was okay there.  Meeting lasted from 7-9 am.  As soon as I left the building I started crying a little.  Didn’t last long.

October 8, 2011

Took ½ anti-depressant and ½ pain pill. Went to apartment complex and someone was walking their big black dog.  I started shaking and crying.  Lady who was with me asked me if I was okay.  Another lady stopped to see if I was okay.  After I left the complex, I cried all the way to the post office.  I got my mail and saw that I had received mail from the Miami Animal Services.  The dog had bitten before.  Miami called him a “vicious” dog.

This whole thing should never have happened.  If  only defendant had been a responsible pet owner.  If only she had a lick of common sense.  Knowing this made me cry.  I called Susie and Donnie to see if they were home and they said come over.  When I opened my door a man with two big black dogs walked by.  When I crossed the street and got inside Susie and Donnie’s, I completely broke down.  Stayed there for a while and calmed down.  Went back home and took full pain pill because back of fingertip was hurting and went to bed.

Sent Miami dog bite report to Victim Advocate.  Sent via following e-mail:

“Attached please find the report I received from Animal Services in Miami.  I have forwarded the same to the Victim Advocate.  I have not heard from #666 yet and have a rapport with intern, so he will forward it on to #666.”  

October 9, 2011

Decided that anti-depressant was making me worse and decided not to take it.  Took pain pill.  Went to church.  Rest of day was uneventful.

October 10, 2011

Took ½ pain pill and went to see therapist at Denver Health about PTSD.  Waited an hour she never showed up.  Certainly didn’t help stress level.  Still bending finger and rubbing it a lot.  Also soaking it.  Have to tap it a lot to try to desensitize it.  The front part of the tip of the finger is sore.  Called Eddie and left message.  No response.

October 11, 2011

Took ½ pain pill and went for a walk in morning.  Walked in the middle of the street so I wouldn’t walk by fences that might have dogs behind them.  My morning walks have changed from a calm time when I could meditate to one where I have to be ever vigilant for anybody walking dogs or any homes that have dogs.  I have also changed from a person who has loved animals all her life and even  volunteered at animal shelters to a person who is afraid of dogs.

Saw Meg, an alternative therapist, today to work on the PTSD and stress level.  Also received call for a temp job.  Emailed Eddie.  No response.

October 12, 2011

Took ½ pain pill and went to work.  Work okay.  Took another ½ pain pill in afternoon.  When I got back to my car in light rail station, released stress from today.  Went for walk and freaked out because black dog was along route.  Stood paralyzed in someone’s front yard for about 5 minutes.  Glad they didn’t see me.  Finally got out of there and home.

October 13, 2011

Took ½ pain pill and went to work.  Had training all day.  Had bad pain in early afternoon while training and had to take pill.

Finally heard from Eddie.  Says he has so many email and phone calls that he doesn’t have time to hit “Reply” letting me know he received my mail.  Really?  Are you kidding me?  Had to ask him what was being done because I am not being kept in the loop.  Losing faith in him.

Didn’t walk tonight.

October 14, 2011

Took ½ pain pill and went to work.  Went to occupational therapy.  Told Karen, the therapist, that my middle finger was experiencing sharp pains.  She said because my whole hand wasn’t working together and the nerves in between the fingers weren’t being exercised like they should.

After work went to see Mary.  Rode light rail home and guy got on train with a big black dog and sat across from me.  I freaked out and had to go to other end of the car.  Cried for about next hour.  Went over and talked to Susie and Donnie’s as soon as I got home.

October 15, 2011

Took ½ pain pill.  Got ready for interview at 10:00.  First interview I have done since July.  Pretty good day.

October 16, 2011

½ pain pill. Went to church – 3 hours.  Really worn out afterwards. Came home and hit my finger.  Very painful.  Then started putting together all medical receipts.  Brought all the bad memories up.  Went to see Meg for therapy for PTSD.

October 17, 2011

½ pain pill. Went to work.  Whole right hand hurt all day.  Very painful.  Had to keep rubbing it.  Realized that my days of working on a keyboard are limited.  Not only for the pain because hopefully that should lessen with time, but I am going to have to retrain myself completely on how to type.  Typing with only 9 fingers is very awkward.  I have to look at the keys.  I am having to learn how to type all over again.

October 18, 2011

Took ½ pain pill in morning for pain.  Took shower and hit finger on shower head.  Very painful.  Last day of work assignment.

October 19, 2011

Received voice mail from Public Legal Advisor saying she was dropping the case.  This is the first communication I received from #666.  She said she talked to Eddie and told him this but he never contacted me.  #666 said she was dropping the case because she couldn’t prove who owned the dog.  If she had taken 15 minutes she would have the report from Denver animal control showing without a doubt the defendant was the owner of the dog.

Transcript of voice mail:

This message is for Ellen Hughes.  This is #666, Assistant City Attorney.  I received your call last night.  I also received several other calls regarding this case yesterday and I pulled the file, read through everything and I read through everything you have sent our office.  I am going to be unable to prove the identity of the defendant that is because Officer ___ found out from the grandmother who was walking the dog that he… grandmother told the officer the defendant’s name and address and that the officer left the ticket with the grandmother. I’m sure you are aware of all this and that is what you have been trying to point out to our office.  The officer never actually saw the owner.  You never saw the owner.  The only person who could testify that the defendant, is the owner of the dog, is the grandmother and the grandmother is unavailable to be subpoenaed since she lives out of the country.  Therefore, I will be unable to prove the identity of the defendant and I am going to have to dismiss this case.  I know that this is terrible news for you. I am very sorry but I am unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt as to who the owner of the dog is.  I would have to be able to prove my whole case without the defendant even testifying.  I did speak with Eddie this morning and explained all of this to him so I believe he fully understands why I have to dismiss this case.  I am very sorry to have to leave a message for you also but I will be out of the office until next week Tuesday.  I will be in court and in meetings this afternoon and then unavailable until next Tuesday.  If you do have any questions feel free to give me a call at XXX-XXX-XXXX but I will not be able to return that message most likely until next week Tuesday.  Thank you very much for listening and again I am very sorry for what happened to you and very sorry that I will be unable to prove the identity of this defendant.  Thank you.

So not only has #666 never contacted me about the case, she didn’t contact Denver Animal Control, and then leaves a voice mail dismissing the case and says she can’t be reached for days?  What a tool!

October 20

Met with my attorney friend and Eddie.  Eddie tried to speak but I put hand up to silence him.  He didn’t even have the decency to call me to let me know the case was being dismissed?  I had to get the news from a voicemail?  He didn’t deserve my respect or the right to speak.  Time to find a different attorney.  Deep depression.  Took 2 pain pills.

October 22

Stayed in bed all day.  Depressed. Performed therapy on finger all day.  Hurt a lot.  Took pain pills all day long.  Talked to animal control to get complete report from them.  They said they didn’t have anything except the initial half page report.  They said I would have to get a court order to get anything else.

Couldn’t sleep.  Can’t help wondering what happened.  Everyone says there’s something weird going on.  Did #666 go to school with defendant?  Was #666 sleeping with the defense attorney?  Did #666 get cut off in traffic?  Why in the world dismiss the case without any investigation at all?  Something definitely screwy.

October 23

Feel better.  Still take pain pills every day because when pain comes it’s fast and sharp.  Haven’t walked in the morning for a long time due to PTSD and worried about seeing dogs.  It ruins my whole day when that happens.  Saps all my energy.

October 24

Went to see city councilman and talked with him and his assistant.  Finally feel like maybe will have somebody who cares.  Told him the animal control people would not give me a copy of the animal bite report without a court order.

October 25

Went to see hand surgeon.  He said it would take several months for finger to heal.  He said probably will never get it to bend all the way down since the tendon is gone. Taught hypnosis class at parks and rec center.  Felt good to get back into teaching and doing something I enjoy instead of just doctor appointments.  Took full pain pill before I went.

October 26, 2011

Went to doctor appointment with GP.  Then to Adolph, the attorney who I might hire.  Got home and hand hurt a lot.  Wrapped in warm wet towel.  Had Susie and Donnie over for dinner.  Had a pain attack while they were here.  Scooped out ice cream and think that is what caused the pain attack about 5 minutes later.  Hand really hurts a lot.  Took full pain pill at night.  Took probably 2.5 pills today.  Very painful day.

October 28, 2011

Went to occupational therapy.  Therapist doesn’t like the fact that the finger is not bending very much.  Made a hand splint to help the finger bend more.  Got another prescription for pain pills.  Took 2 today.

October 29, 2011

On the computer a lot today.  Hand very painful all night long.  Realizing more and more can’t continue to make a living on the keyboard.  Have to look at the keyboard, can’t type by touch any more.  Takes a lot longer to do anything on the computer now.  Hand gets very tired and painful when I type a lot.

October 30, 2011

Did not go to church.  Really tired and spent rest of day just relaxing.  Went over to Susie and Donnie’s.  Lady there said, “Oh, your finger doesn’t look that bad.”  I know she was trying to be nice but it just sounded wrong. When she looks, she sees a finger slight shorter than the others.  When I look, I see a bloody stump, then a Frankenfinger, than a black, dead finger, months of pain and depression.  This has changed the whole way I think.  I will be more sympathetic and empathetic toward others.

October 31, 2011

Did some transcription.  Took a long time to do it.  Used to be able to listen to tape and transcribe with eyes closed.  Can’t do that any more because I hit a lot of wrong keys.

November 1, 2011

Should have had the trial today but the attorney dismissed the case without any kind of work on it at all.  Incompetence runs amuck.

November 2, 2011

Picked up Bruce from airport.  Had Susie and Donnie over for dinner.  Took out garbage afterwards and slipped on ice.  Got gash in elbow and my rear was sore.  Can’t tolerate pain any more.  It upset me more than it should have.

November 3, 2011

Went to councilman’s office.  They gave me the animal control report showing that defendant had signed and notarized a letter stating she was owner of dog.  The animal control people lied before when they said there was no more information.  If only #666 taken a few minutes out of her precious schedule to do a little work, she would have known without a doubt the defendant owned the dog.

Went to lawyer’s office.  Decided to hire them.  Gave the intake coordinator all my paperwork, research and invoices.  Then on to therapist for another hour session.  Finger bending a little more and not near as sensitive.  Therapist thought it should be bending a lot more, but I told her that doctor was very skeptical that it would bend much more.  Talked with therapist and her assistant and started crying a little.  I’m okay if I don’t talk about it at all but when I do it brings up all the horror and pain this incident has caused me and the owner and her dog have gotten off scot-free for now thanks to the Public Legal Advisor #666 not doing her job and not caring at all.

November 4, 2011

Decided to quit taking pain pills.  Pain is infrequent now.  Contacted the Colorado Supreme Court to file grievance against #666.

November 6, 2011

Decided to start taking action.  Wrote letter to editor:

I was attacked by a dog recently.  In addition to amputation, I suffer from PTSD, which makes me acutely aware of dogs.  When did it become okay to take a dog into Walgreens?  Or Jo-Ann Fabrics?  Or bring a dog on the light rail?  None of these were service dogs.  None were muzzled nor caged. Business owners, if you allow dogs in your establishment, are you liable if they bite someone?  Dog owners, how would you feel if your dog attacked someone?  You say your dog would never attack?  Center for Disease Control records show nearly 800,000 dog bites require medical care each year.  These dogs have owners, just like you.  Owners who can be held liable for paying for medical bills, pain and suffering and more. Weigh your options carefully before you take your dog somewhere.  Your decision may come back to bite you.

November 9, 2011

Went to have physical again today.  Still couldn’t finish.  Nurse said it’s normal when a person has been traumatized that the body can’t handle any more trauma for a while.

November 10, 2011

Contacted Dr. D, a neurophysician and chiropractor.  He said I would have to retrain myself.  My brain is trained to move my body as if it is whole.  Now without the fingertip, my spatial perception and balance are off.  That explains why I feel off balance and trip and fall a lot.  When I type, even my left hand fingers go on the wrong keys because my right hand is not whole.

November 11, 2011

Went to therapist to work on PTSD.  That is almost gone.  Also working on the emotional feelings surrounding having amputated finger – anger,  embarrassment, shame.

November 15, 2011

Gladys, an attorney from Colorado Supreme Court called regarding the grievance I wanted to file against #666.  She was supposed to give me a chance to plead my case why it shouldn’t have been dismissed.  Instead, any time I began to talk, Gladys  interrupted saying, “I don’t understand why you want to file a grievance” or “I won’t second guess how #666 handled the case.”  Once when I tried to say something she raised her voice and said, “You WILL NOT talk over me.”  I finally asked if she was going to listen to anything I said or just continue repeating the same two things over and over.  She said yes.  So I hung up.

So the grievance process is like a dummy thermostat on a wall?  Put there to make people feel better but not really have any function?

November 16, 2011

Wrote letter to Gladys’ supervisor but never received a response.

November 27

Investigator for private law firms called at 5:30 pm from the site of the attack.  He asked me “So, what happened?”, didn’t say he wanted my statement.  No one from the law office had told me his name, he called after hours and asked strange questions.  When it became obvious he didn’t know anything about my case, I asked him why he hadn’t read my file.  He said he hadn’t seen my file.  Didn’t feel comfortable giving him information.

November 28

Investigator called back and told me that the defendant lived in Miami and owned a restaurant.  I told him that was incorrect; she lived in Dallas and was president of an architectural firm according to the Florida Secretary of State website.  He called back later and confirmed my information was correct.

Called case manager at the law firm and told her about the call from the investigator, the incorrect information and how I didn’t have much confidence in him.  She said she hadn’t even seen my file yet because it hadn’t been made.  Why not?  They have had my  paperwork since November 3.  I told her I work in the legal field and had for 20 years and was very organized.  I said I didn’t want to step on any toes but just wanted to make sure they had the correct information.  She assured me not to worry and that it was okay to call any time.

November 29, 2011

Talked with assistant at City Council office.  Said she was waiting to hear from Public Legal Advisor’s (PLA) office.  Said should hear today and she would definitely call me.  Didn’t hear anything.

December 7, 2011

Went to my attorney’s office to meet with partner who likes to meet all new clients.  The case manager was there when the partner, Adolph, entered the office screaming.  He berated me and said I needed my hand held, was a difficult client and on and on.  I should have walked out, but just didn’t have the energy.

After throwing a tantrum for 10 minutes, he looked at my file on his computer and apparent realized he had screwed up.  But of course, being an attorney means never having to say you’re sorry!  He calmed down and started talking about my case.  He realized his investigator had bad information, his office hadn’t made my file and hadn’t given any instruction on keeping track of income and expenses.  The case manager who told me it was alright to call with concerns didn’t speak up at all.  Last time I follow her advice!

Went to city council office to see what they had found out.  Still nothing.  I have been waiting since October 24 and still nothing?  Ridiculous.  All I’m getting is lip service.  No one is taking me serious.  I got upset and gave them a deadline of next Wednesday to hear from somebody or else I was going to start calling radio and TV stations.  It was amazing, within 5 minutes she was talking to the Public Legal Advisor’s office and said they would call me this afternoon.  Learned a good lesson – Some people mistake friendliness for weakness.  Have to speak up for myself – loudly!

Curly, an attorney from PLA called this afternoon.  Apologized for how horribly his office has treated me.  He said it was hard to say for certain that defendant was owner of dog.  I told him the cell phone number was the same on the Miami Dog Attack report, Denver had a copy of defendant’s passport when she picked up the dog, defendant wrote a letter stating she was the owner of the dog and had her signature notarized.  Curly said that maybe the notary wasn’t correct or maybe the notary didn’t keep records.  I bet if it was his finger that got chomped off, it would be sufficient evidence!  On the next page is the (redacted) letter defendant gave animal control proving she is the owner of Pudge.

December 16, 2011

Called Curly ‘s office and left a message at 1:00 that he was supposed to call today with an update.  He called around 1:30.  Said they may have a witness at Denver Animal Control. He said it still wasn’t a sure thing.  He kept saying, “See, we’re keeping you in the loop.  We haven’t dropped the case.  We’re trying.”  Yeah, after 5 months of me calling they finally realize I’m not going away. Hope he doesn’t break his arm patting himself on the back.

December 19, 2011

Legal assistant called and said an attorney had been assigned to my case.  Hired them November 3 and it took six weeks just to get an attorney assigned to my case.

December 21, 2011

Got home and had message from doctor’s office telling me my appointment was tomorrow and to bring my medical records.  She was supposed to call me at least a week ago and tell me if my records hadn’t been sent to them.  Another mess I have to handle.

December 22, 2011

Went to doctor regarding my amputation to see about additional therapy.  He asked me if I wanted a card for medical marijuana.  Ha!  Only in Colorado.

Called Curly and left voice mail reminding him he was supposed to give me an update on what was going on with the Public Legal Advisor’s office and my case.

December 27, 2011

Called Curly again because I haven’t heard from him yet.  He answered and said they were re-filing the case.  He said they would serve her.  When I said she living in Dallas, he said, “She doesn’t live here?”  He doesn’t know anything about the case!  He said she would have to be served here in Colorado.  I was quiet a long time then finally said, “I will let you do your job and I will do mine.”  I also asked him if he would call me to keep me current or should I call him.  He said for me to call him and if anything new happened he would call me.

January 4, 2012

Met with my attorney.  He said case is not a slam dunk because he’s not sure if defendant has any insurance or assets.  Income cannot be garnished in a civil matter.  Said any judgment could be dismissed through bankruptcy.  However, he did say that the charges and possible judgment cannot be dismissed through bankruptcy in the criminal case with Public Legal Advisor. When I told him what Curly said about serving the defendant, he said it shouldn’t be a problem.  Curly is clueless.

We talked about my case for an hour.  Then he talked about himself and his personal life.  I listened for 45 minutes and then said I had to leave.

January 10, 2011

E-mailed my attorney to see if he had heard from Curly as to when they were going to re-file the case and serve the defendant.  He said Curly said service in Texas could be a problem.   Seems like everything with Curly is a problem.

January 11, 2012

Left message for my attorney to call me – said I never got a straight answer out of Curly.  Also called University of Colorado because they hadn’t gotten back to me regarding my medical records.  They said told me they never received records or referral.  Found out someone gave the wrong fax number so all the records were destroyed and had to be re-sent.  Geez – what a waste!

January 17, 2012

Left two messages for Curly.  Called doctor and he still had not sent a referral to Univ. of Colorado even though I asked for that at least two weeks ago! Lord, this is unbelievable!

January 18, 2012

Called Curly and he doesn’t answer.  Neither does hitting 0 – says no operator available.  Googled Public Legal Advisor and talked with Lori.  She said she would send Curly an e-mail for me asking the status of my case.  Curly called me in the afternoon.  He said a certified letter had been sent to defendant.  I asked if she could be served by a process server.  He said he didn’t know.  This guy is about as useless as a lima bean.  I asked when the certified letter had been sent.  He said either last week or the week before.  I said if defendant signed for it then the receipt would be returned soon.  He said he was going to be on vacation.  He said to call another person in his office while he was gone.  What does he need a vacation from?

Received an e-mail from my attorney.  He said even though Public Legal Advisor’s office botched the whole case, there is nothing I can do about it.

January 23, 2012

Called attorney’s office and assistant said attorney was going to serve defendant by process server.  Also said he was filing my case.

January 31, 2012

Went to University of Colorado for therapy.  She said she could help me to get my finger to bend but it is really me who has to constantly exercise it to make it bend.  Also have to rewire my brain because it is screwed up right  now.  I am typing with my finger  now.  It feels really weird and makes me cry when I hit the keys.  Not because it hurts but because of everything it represents – all the pain, hassle, cost.  After that I went to ICI and three women worked on my energy.  That cleared out a lot and am feeling better emotionally but physically wiped out.  Came home and went to bed at 1:30 pm.

February 7, 2012

A female attorney contacted me from the Public Legal Advisor’s office.  She said the new arraignment date had been set for February 13.  She said now we have to wait and see if defendant shows up.  She also apologized for how messed up everything was.  She said the case was “snakebit”, meaning once things start going wrong, everything goes wrong.

She also asked me why the defendant was “lawsuit exempt.”  I said I didn’t know what she was talking about.  She said my attorney told her that the defendant was lawsuit exempt.  Do attorneys ever think before they talk?  My attorney tells the Public Legal Advisor’s office something he should have told me first.  Once again I have to get information in a round-about way.  In addition to ethics CLE classes, attorneys need classes in common sense!

Received an email from lawyer’s office today stating they were filing suit, but need to serve the defendants.  Two weeks ago they told me they were filing suit. Nothing moves fast except bill collectors.

February 8, 2012

A Denver news anchor was bitten by a dog today.  Oh, God, I feel so bad for her.

February 9, 2012

Went to therapy at University of Colo.  Also called attorney and asked him if he knew about the new arraignment date on February 13.  He didn’t.

February 10, 2012

Letter from Humane Society of the United States regarding animal shelters corresponding with each other.  I told them they shouldn’t release dogs until they do a thorough search to make sure the dog hasn’t bitten before.

February 13, 2012

Went to the arraignment but the defendant didn’t show up.  So I guess that’s that.  The dog bit me, the owner gets off scot-free.  The justice system screwed me over and over.  I have an amputated limb yet the woman who owns the dog who has attacked at least twice has not spent a day in jail nor paid any restitution.

It’s over.  No more dealing with the Public Legal Advisor.  No more disappointments.  When I walked out of the courthouse, I felt a sense of calm I hadn’t felt for a long time.  I had my life back.

EPILOGUE

The PLA served the defendant in Texas.  There is a warrant out for her arrest but unless they catch her in Colorado, nothing will happen to her.

My attorney was able to get some money from the defendant.  I guess she felt a little remorse.  The restitution didn’t cover my medical bills, let alone loss of income or pain and suffering.  And to top it off, two-thirds of the check went to the attorney for my medical records, which we didn’t even use.

I’m glad this is over.