I do not frequent the hospital emergency room for little problems. Nor am I unable to handle lots of pain. I am great in emergencies, and for me personally, I always know God is right there, so I don’t panic.
Recently though I have learned several HUGE lessons and they will probably cost me dearly in added risk when returning to normality, time, and extra energy to heal…but maybe not – I am full of hope and positive thoughts!
I want to share what I have learned with you, and hopefully you will never have to use the information for yourself (or anyone near you).
IF YOU EVER HAVE AN ACCIDENT OF ANY TYPE AND FEEL THAT YOU MAY HAVE INJURED YOUR BACK OR NECK, STAY STILL UNTIL HELP ARRIVES, AND I MEAN THE PARAMEDICS!
If I had suffered a SLIGHTLY different injury just just moving could have paralyzed me.
I waited twenty minutes until I got up, praying the entire time. I knew to roll to my side and get up gently with a straight back and neck. I used my dog by making her stay and putting my hand on her to help, and used my arm muscles and legs instead of bending to rise.
I actually thought I was just badly bruised, so the first forty-eight hours I “iced”. After that initial time, you can alternate ice and heat for periods of twenty minutes or so, but always only ice to begin with when injured.
Homemade ice bag: Two large freezer bags, 1 cup rubbing alcohol and two cups water. Freeze and you will have a very nice soft ice bag that will form to the area you are icing. You can refreeze it. Just be sure you double bag and firmly close.
Homemade heating bag: It can be any shape but I find a long noodle about one and one half feet long is best for the neck and low back. Cotton is good, but you can use any material. Sew all sides except leave an opening to put a mix of rice and flaxseeds…then close. Put in microwave for a minute, and then for fifteen to twenty seconds at a time to heat. Be careful it gets hot quickly. It can be used many times.
Here is another caveat. Though I always get copies of my reports and if I ever have an x-ray or anything like that, I also get copies. Where I failed myself was putting two and two together. A broken bone usually warrants a brace of some kind. My report said, “Show to doctor right away. Acute.”
Duh! I came home and my husband was surprised no brace. He was also surprised I had to wait two weeks to see a neurosurgeon. This guy was on vacation. I should have made some demands. This is the only body I have to live in!
I did what I knew to be correct. I slept with my legs elevated at my knees to take pressure off of low back. When I turned I put a pillow between my legs. I put on ice and heat regularly and tried to be easy on my back. I took an anti-inflammatory and initially some pretty stiff pain pills. (I don’t like taking pills so I limited myself to one a day IF NECESSARY…) Don’t try to use alcohol. It doesn’t work!
Again, when I finally saw the next doctor he looked at x-ray and MRI results and told me he would set me up with an interventional radiologist MD. If
That wasn’t “satisfactory” he would see me again.
Once again the MD was on vacation and I had to wait two weeks. To take this from a book to a post, I will just shorten up what happened.
During the month I had no brace my injury went from a fifteen to twenty percent compression fracture – to a forty to fifty percent one. Now my injury is much more serious. He told me upon looking at my MRI – I want you in a brace today, get a CT scan today and I will see you at 8:00AM tomorrow morning. Stunned, to say the least, I did what he prescribed.
Now I am awaiting an appointment with another neurosurgeon because he told me there is a possibility that more than a vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty, I will need to have a surgeon standing by in case they have to do an open surgery on my back! Sweet stuff!
The doctor said I have a piece of fragmented bone that is being held by muscle and ligament, and that if it moves into the spine there could be BIG trouble. Now I am hearing words like laminectomy. I haven’t heard fusion yet and that’s good because I think I’d turn around and run away!
My best friends mom died last year from a heart problem combining with four or five surgeries that left her worse after suffering a compression fracture of the lower lumbar. She was four years younger than I am and she wasn’t ill. First a stroke and then the heart problem and then……
Of course I am a tad wiser now. I have been wearing my new “skeleton brace” – that doesn’t mean it’s small – it’s just supporting my skeleton where I need it. Actually hurts less a bit.
One thing I know for sure, and that is IF this guy or gal says the worst.
Scenario (open back surgery) – I am going to get a second, and perhaps third opinion. I only have one place to live, and that is my body!
Lastly for this post, know that I am happy and handling this with very little stress. I live what I teach. I am breathing specifically. I am doing everything I can to accommodate and accelerate healing. I have the choice to be happy and use this time wisely – because it is what it is – and I am doing just that!
It’s all an education in meeting and rising above challenges. I hope you have a wonderful day because I am going to do so. (Oh, I never want to forget, I do pray throughout the day. I just love God and trust Him to guide and help heal me.)
Okay, I am adding an addendum. I decided it’s been the weekend and three days and I haven’t heard from the next doctor, I just called mine and asked if he’d spoken with him. The receptionist said yes. I asked for his number and have left two (nice messages) on the answering machine in hopes it will prod him to set me up for an appointment right away.
Keep your chins up and stay on top of these professionals. Not all of them care – though many do! Don’t forget to use your oxygen to help keep the shoulders loose, and to help with the pain.