Pull up a chair for this one. My father has a back history that makes my spine look like that of an Olympic athlete's.
1963: Dad, age 24, goes into severe spasm after working in the yard. The "thing to do" at the time was what they did: lower lumbar fusion. My folks celebrated their first anniversary in the hospital.
He is more or less okay...until:
1992: Dad falls on ice while on a business trip. Because it was a business trip, it's treated as worker's comp--and he's sent to USELESS doctors who tell him he cracked his hip. BS
. YEARS later, on re-evaluation, they realized he'd broken his hip AND his back, but since nothing was ever done the hip reset incorrectly.
Over the next decade, all hell broke loose. The fall shattered the lower lumbar fusion, and it starts to splinter into his spinal column. He suffers from hellacious pain and moments of paralysis, and he's pulled off work...never to return.
FTR, there was a lawsuit filed, and suffice it to say my father will never have to pay for any medical care relating to his spine, ever. Considering all that's happened, it's small compensation, but it's one less concern.
1996: Unsure what else to do, Dad has experimental spinal surgery at UCLA. 2 titanium rods are inserted, and the femur of a cadaver is sliced to create new vertebral discs (apparently they were ALL worn to nothing in the lumbar and lower thorasic areas). There were two major procedures--they went in through the front and back, and harvested bone from his hip to aid the fusion.
2000: Dad is diagnosed with rapidly advancing Parkinson's. Part of the disease means he stumbles and falls, often. He's broken his feet so many times they're now mishapen.
Summer 2008: Dad's left hand becomes paralyzed, and then his right. The doc thinks it's a pinched nerve from how he sleeps (Parkinson's makes him sleep HARD in slumped-over positions). They do an MRI of his neck just to rule out problems there...and what do they show? Severe neck problems, possibly requiring surgery. I'm not clear what, as Mom was vague because she was too upset and I didn't want to press.
Honestly, Dad's health is so poor...I don't know that he'll be able to handle another major surgery.
I hope to God I'm not looking into my future. As for my Dad, I don't know what. Good heavens, this blows. :''(