I injured my back in 2004 while at work in a call center. It was during the holidays, so I was working long hours sitting at a computer. One day I went to adjust my position in the computer chair and I felt an unbelievably strong pain course through my back and down my left leg.
Since then I have been on a nightmare journey to not only try to stop any more damage to my spine, but also to hopefully try to heal the damage done and one day become pain-free.
The first spinal surgeon I saw actually asked me “How I’d gotten myself to this point.” Then he proceeded to lecture me while I cried out of pain and shame. He basically told me I had no one to blame for my bad back but myself, and more specifically my bad eating habits and lack of exercise.
I swore that I would never see a doctor about my back again. Then in April of this year fate had other plans.
For no reason at all, I woke up one morning and couldn’t get out of bed by myself. I had to yell to my Dad to come help me. Once I got out of bed the spasms in my back were so bad it was hard to walk. I was forced to get another MRI, and see a different spinal surgeon.
This time, the doctor made me wait 45 minutes before he graced me with his presence. Then he said he’d looked at my MRI and compared them to the ones I’d had done in 2004 and his conclusion was that my spine was degenerative. With absolutely no compassion in his voice he told me it was likely I would be crippled by the time I was 30.
He also didn’t forget to give me the lecture about my weight, and told me that my stomach was so large that if he operated on me I would bleed to death. (Apparently laying on your stomach pushes blood into your spine, so therefore my gigantic stomach would be able to help recreate Old Faithful during surgery.) THEN in the middle of his lecture, he got a phone call and left the room saying he’d be right back. I waited 30 minutes and a nurse came in to give me my bill and a pamphlet to a weight loss clinic.
As I left, this time incredibly angry on top of being bereft and totally lost, there was Dr. Fantastic, shuffling through papers at the nurse’s station. Obviously, he wasn’t going to “be right back”.
Now, I’ve given up hope that I’m ever going to feel strong again. Every day I have pain to some degree. Some days I have trouble doing simple things like getting out of bed. And if that spinal specialist is right, in 5 more years all I have to look forward to is a wheelchair.
If the two spinal specialists I’ve seen are any indication, there isn’t one out there willing to do anything to help me. And I don’t have health insurance or piles of money to try to find out otherwise.