Post by donl1150 on Jan 6, 2014 19:11:58 GMT -8
My story starts 26 August 2013 and is encapsulated in the posts below. Thanks to DJ and Lara for clipping and pasting; starting this new thread. I felt it would be more beneficial for everyone in this section and plan to keep it updated as I progress along my recovery path......especially since exercise will be a big part of it.
I am a 61 year old grandfather of 3 boys. In late August, while playing in the yard with the boys, I accidentally flipped over backwards off the tree hammock. I landed on my head and my legs went up and over my head resulting in a broken neck. C2, 3 & 4 were fractured in the back. I had an anterior spinal fusion at C3-4 and am currently 7 weeks into recovery, still wearing a halo.
Use of my legs came back quickly and with daily walks, I am over a mile already. Use of my arms is coming along as well although strength seems slow to come back. I have nerve pain in both shoulders/arms and my hands seem continually cold. One other function yet to return is the bladder. I have to self cath for now but remain hopeful that over time, much will return.
I am a piano technician and plan to return to that as soon as possible once the halo is removed. I look forward to reading the forums, learning and offering any support I can.
I am trying to find some reading about nerve pain. Mine seems to be primarily in my shoulders down to my forearms. It is a burning type pain, basically a sensitivity type one. For example, my T shirt just touching the skin is painful, yet when I rub the skin, it doesn't hurt nearly as much - actually feels good. I am currently taking Nuerontin 600 mg 3 times per day. Also Tylenol 650 mg 4 times daily. As needed, I take Tramodol 50 or 100 mg every 6 hours max. I am not sure if any of these are helpful. I do know that after I start moving around in the morning and get going for the day, the pain lessens. I do have some apparent side effects - occasional light headed that lasts several minutes. This seems to be primarily at night.
Is this a pain that can be expected to go away with time or is it typical for this to be permanent? I have come to learn that every SCI is different and nothing can be predicted but since I am only 2 months into it, I am trying to learn as much as I can. Thanks!
What happened over the ensuing week was rather disconcerting since some of the side effects kicked in. Two times during early morning bathroom trips, I passed out. The first time, while sitting on the edge of the tub waiting for dizziness to pass, I blacked out and slipped off, landing on the floor on my butt. The second time, again while sitting on the edge off the tub, I fell backwards into the tub but thankfully a shower chair was there to prevent me from totally falling in to the tub. In neither case did I do any damage to myself or the halo. Subsequent discussions with the doc has resulted in stopping the Flomax and simply waiting to see how time further heals the bladder.
The nerve pain continues and I am not sure exactly what the gabapentin is doing for me. I had been taking 600 mg 3 times a day. The doc suggested we cut back to 600/300/600 and see if things change. If the pain gets worse, perhaps it was working. If not, the plan is to continue reductions. I would like to get off all meds if I can.
X-rays showed the healing in the neck is progressing wonderfully. I tried to talk the doc to remove the halo at two months instead of three. He would have none of that! Two weeks to go!
Meanwhile, the piano customers have been patiently waiting but the holidays are coming. I have been doing some selective tuning for key clients with very satisfactory results. As an added bonus, I now have a chauffeur to get me around! Looks like I will be able to resume tuning full time.
All in all, things are progressing well but it still seems awfully slow to me. I have to thank The Lord things are going the way they are because it could have been so much different. I have met several people over the past few months that suffered injuries very similar to mine. (The halo must attract attention!). They have given me inspiration that things CAN get better....it just takes time.....and a lot of hard work.
It has been about a month now halo free and using just the J collar. Things have changed a bit, hopefully all for the better. I am finding a burning sensation is covering a larger part of my body now, basically everywhere except my chest and head. It seems to be present 24/7 but sort of ebbs and flows. It is more prevalent when I wake in the morning and also later in the evening before bedtime. What is very interesting though is when I get in the hot tub, it seems to just fade away. In addition to the burning, there are specific nerves that are troublesome. In each arm, down my shoulder, across my bicep and into the forearm, for example. Doc is saying this is quite normal and part of the healing.
Another thing I have noticed is when I bend my head slowly down to my chest, it sends a rushing 'electrical impulse' down both legs. This is obviously a bit disconcerting so I try not to do it. Doc calls them zingers and is saying it is most likely a part of the healing. We are planning an MRI though just to make sure there is no impingement of the nerves.
My upper body strength is coming back but slower than I thought it would. Doc suggested an approach using a fitness center routine. Will be starting that in the next couple of weeks. I have been back tuning pianos all month now and been very busy. All of my customers were kind enough to wait for my recovery and now want then tuned for Christmas. How blessed could I be to have such wonderful clients!
Well, I will check in next year and wish you all a blessed and very Merry Christmas!