Translated: Varpu Sihvonen

Returning home didn’t of course change the unfortunate fact that my condition is permanent. And to my disappointment, I had to fight for years to prove that my case was all about malpractice.

First I filed a complaint with the Jyväskylä hospital, and they flatly denied an obvious mistake. I was so stunned I felt I couldn’t breath when I read their reply. My Mother refused to let it go, and she got in touch with one of the best and respected neurologists in Finland, who then took an  interest in my case. He went through all the documents and prepared a very bold statement. Had I received better and faster care, there would have been significantly less damage, or no damage at all. Years of documents filed back and forth followed, and finally in the summer of 2008 I received a final statement; it was a case of malpractice.

The conclusion of the fight was bittersweet. My darling Mother had died of cancer before we received the final statement. She was the person who invested the most time and effort into this fight, and now she had to find out about the results of her work up in heaven, looking down at me. It was so unfair! Now, someone may think that the work is done once you have received the decision in the mail… Let me tell you something. Applying for compensation and searching for receipts from the past years, it was something of a hell. It took me almost six months to finish the application, and it nearly crushed me. The basic question was “What kind of price tag do I put on my life”? Money can never compensate all the lost life…

Probably the worst shock was receiving the decision about the compensation. It was something so demeaning, and I was wondering how I am going to live with it. For example, I had filed twenty years of lost income (I was 42 when it happened, so I thought at that point I had twenty years of teaching left in me.), and that information was just ignored. I tried everything I could with the help from my lawyer, filed a complaint after another. But, years had passed, and I wasn’t able to prove that I could have returned back to work. All I got was denials and decisions against me. I reached a point when I simply gave up. I decided money won’t bring my life back.

Staying at home and visiting therapists didn’t satisfy me, because I was in a really good shape, and my mind needed challenges. So I started a campaign to collect 75.000 euros through different kind of charity events. The money got a simulator for the people in the Saarijärvi area to use, and not just any simulator. It is used in rehab to help people walk again after injuries and accidents, and the beauty of it is that even some paralyzed people have learned to walk again with the help of the simulator.

I also took interest in extensive travelling. I visited Thailand many times, the Canary Islands, Marbella, Spain and Egypt. I also put my mind into writing a book, because I knew people need to hear my story. I planned the book for years and timed the writing and publishing so that all my children would be adults, when the book came out. My book, Reflections – My Special Life, reveals many issues I hadn’t told anyone, not even my loved ones. It was very time-consuming and hard work to write the book with the computer mouse attached to my forehead, letter by letter, and on the side I went through huge piles of hospital reports and other documents. But in the end it was a very cleansing experience. It freed me from the mental burden I had carried all these years, because, for a reason unknown to me, I felt guilty about being paralyzed. The book cleansed my mind and soul, and my loved ones finally had a chance to hear about the painful months I spent in the hospital.

I also released my sense of humor while writing the book. Sense of humor, rage, love for my children and the Finnish “never give up” attitude carried me through the dark period of my life. And they gave me strength during the writing process.

Hopefully you have enjoyed Marja’s journey.

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season,

Marja          Photo: Janne Heinonenkuvitus_marja_tuoli_kirja.jpg