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Depression, anger, and not safe to drive

RuthPRRuthP Posts: 11
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:54 AM in Depression and Coping
Greetings Spineys, I just officially joined but have been veiwing this site off and on since 08. I finally decided to have the surgery and have it scheduled for August 8th. I've felt guilty for deciding to have it done, since I feel that if you look at me you would say, why do you need surgery, there is nothing wrong with you. I am in constant pain, not as bad as some of the spineys here, but I still hurt. Having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Probably the depression. I have extreme depression and have since I was in my early 20's. I have to be on meds for it. When I wasn't I just wanted to disappear. Self medicated with alcohol. haven't had a drink since march 28th 2009. Yesterday was a hard one for me. I've been moody and irritable. I had a meeting to go to that I brought my husband with and was driving his car. Twice I ran up on a curb and the second time buggered up his wheel. A new one would cost $450. I've had some issues lately, probably due to being distracted with planning for the surgery. My husband is worried now that I am not safe to drive. I live outside of Atlanta GA and the commute is over an hour into work. I know that sitting is bad for my back too. I do remember reading on one of the posts that getting very emotional before the surgery isn't uncommon. But after hitting the curb for the second time yesterday, I just broke down, wanted to disappear, and drown myself in alcohol. I just have to push it all back in and not let that demon rear it's head. I WILL NOT DRINK AGAIN!!! Thanks for letting me rant. There are times where I want to drink again, but like I told my mother, I just remember what I did and how I felt the next morning and that is enough to keep me away.


  • I want to officially welcome you to spine health after browsing here since 2008. So glad that you finally joined.

    Congrats on not having a drink since March 2009! That is awesome. I'm sure that it is a hard battle, you have come this far, you can do it.

    It is such a hard decision to have surgery and is natural to be emotional beforehand. That is one of the great things about this site, you can come here to vent, ask questions and support others.

    Has your doctor every given you anything to help with your sleep trouble?

    As for the driving issue, others may have sugestions for you. Do you know anyone that you could car pool with? Or does your job offer you the option to work from home some days?

    Wishing you all the best, and look forward to getting to know you better.

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • Welcome aboard!

    Please never let yourself be minimized. I can related because I, too, suffer from depression/anxiety as well. Don't feel bad because this is YOUR life and you deserve to live happily and as pain free as you can. Please don't drink, be wary of pain meds as well--if youre taking them. And yes, it's nerve-wracking planning for surgery and I have had four, and facing another--still unnerving. Try this......just remember this surgery will help! Keep smiling, you'll be okay! :-) Please keep us posted.....Charlie
  • Ruth -
    You will always find support here. Sorry to hear about the car, but that can be fixed. YOU are most important. Good job not taking a drink! Pain is extremely distracting. Hang on there. I'll check back in on you. My meds are forcing me to stop writing for now.

    Pat Gibson
    L5S1 ALIF 2-22-11
    Now L4 Retrolisthisis
  • August 2nd will be three yrs for me. I don't miss it even a tiny bit, and I am sending you my very best that you will soon reach that moment, that time, when you feel that way too. When stressful things happen I hope that 'those thoughts' never enter your mind. Always here if you need to talk~Peace.
  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. so glad you finally decided to join us!! we are a very friendly group! be sure and check out the "Back and Neck surgery" forum for more input on your surgery.i want to wish you the best of luck! you could become Pain Free!!!! be sure and stop by the forum during your recovery..it can make a long day go by alot faster!! Jenny :)
  • RuthP,

    Congrats on not drinking, good for you woman!! You didn't mention, or maybe I didn't catch it in your post. Your going up on curbs, was that due to distraction from pain and maybe lack of sleep, or pain medications?

    An hour commute given that, I would be nervous if I was the driver. I've been through Atlanta, and holy cow, I thought Miami was scary driving!!!

    Sadly sometimes with our various spiney issues, we have to readjust, change or stop some activities. Hopefully the driving issue was a fluke, and you are back on track. Like was said, you are NOT replaceable, but the tire is. :)

    I hope this missive finds you feeling better.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I can work from home one day a week but do not have a good ergonomic seat at home for me. I may have to start taking the bus in to work again, had stopped because of having to walk up a hill from where I got dropped off to my office and the pain from doing that. It's so nice being able to sleep, read, or do my crafts while someone else does the driving. another option I have is that there is a van that drops off at the office from the county I pick up the bus at. will have to check into that as well. they are cheaper, but you only get one shot where there are 5 buses to choose from. I've got the parking paid for thru the end of June so it would be July before I could take the alternative transportation.

    As for the curb, I was turning onto a two lane road around a mini strip mall, I knew I would have to stop and back up as I wouldn't make the turn. I don't know if the command didn't make it from my brain to my legs or I just miscalculated the distance. But I do notice that my driving has deteriorated.

    My Neurologist has me on Neurontin and Cymbalta. Thru a messup with the pharmacy, I haven't been able to get either so I'm sure the pain has been affecting things too. I did get the Neurontin refilled and will have to call the pharmacy today to see about the Cymbalta. I guess I now have proof that the drugs work since I am in pain all the time without them. I live on Alieve, I had been taking Tylenol arthritis but was taking twice the RDA and that doesn't help your liver!

    Thanks for all your words. I do plan on posting during my recovery. My husband will take off the first two weeks, and my mother will be down for a month after that. She had both her knees replaced in March like Miss Humpty Dumpty and has also had hernia trouble. One emergency surgery and will have to have another one soon. She was planning on driving down but she may end up having to fly.

    I was going to use a picture of my cat Noel, who has three legs, lost one last year to bone cancer, as my avatar but I have to shrink the size down. Will work on that and get her picture up.

    I love some of the smileys some of you have. Especially the one that is throwing up. :-)
  • :) Dear Ruth - This is my third attempt to write this note, somehow I keep hitting the wrong key and erasing my message. There's probably a reason for that - aside from the fact that my medications make me feel like I have Swiss cheese for brains. Right in the middle of something I lose my train of thought - it doesn't matter if I am talking or writing. One of the drugs gives me a hand tremor occassionally - not good doing anything that involves careful work!
    The condensed version of the previous 2 notes: Great job on staying in control! Proud, proud,proud of you for that!!! Cars and wheels can be replaced. You can not. Pain can easily distract you; muscles affected by back injuries/disease don't always respond with the same speed or sometimes not at all. Surely that parking people have a policy about refunding $ if someone develops a medical problem that prohibits them from driving. It would never hurt to inquire. Those 2 hours each day you spend at wheel aren't helping your pain level at all. Not to mention the mental strain of having to hyper-focus in rush hour traffic (is there ever not rush hour traffice in Atlanta? I used to live in Anniston AL and frequently had to be in ATL. I never saw light traffic, even during the night!
    If you could work from home that 1 day a week - do it! Do you have to sit at a computer all day? Would it be possible to work from a laptop? I do most of my day-to-day computer work reclining on my settee. It's been the command center since my surgery. Finding a chair would be top a my list if that is what is holding you back from working at home. You might want to check local consignment shops - never know what you might find.
    Before my surgery I stopped driving 90% of the time. My husband's job was near my office so we carpooled. My job required intense, highly-detailed, time critical tasks. For the first 11 months following my injury I continued to work everyday. When I got home I was positively shattered - as soon as I sat down I fell asleep. As my ability to walk declined and the pain increased I just couldn't do it anymore, and I went out on ST disability. Nine months later I am now recovering from an L5-S1 ALIF. Although I am healing well, it will still be months before I will be able to sit for any length of time. PT has become my full-time job. Fortunately I do have income from WC so that I can do that. Fusion surgery entails incredibily long recoveries.
    If you can stop work a few weeks before surgery, it would be good so that you have the time & ability to get ready for your recovery. It's normal to worry about surgery, potential outcomes, etc. All of us had cold feet beforehand.
    I hope you find the support you need here in the forum. There are lots of good people who have faced your same challenges and they/we are all ready and willing to help in any way. No question is silly, no rant should be stifled - we all have been there. If I can offer you one piece of advice - cultivate a positive attitude. That goes such a long way to improving your recovery! You will have good days, and less-good days - but you will face it all and have a much better outcome if you can stay positive. If you have not read the book "The Last Lecture" by Randy Paulsch I highly recommend it.
    Hang in there! Just take things hour by hour, one day at a time. Stay in touch!!
    :H I'll be back later. Have to catch a quick nap before PT.

    Pat Gibson
    L5S1 ALIF 2-22-11
    Now L4 Retrolisthisis
  • I know about the swiss cheese. There was a med that my neurologist had me on that made me sleep real well but made it difficult for me to talk during the night if I got a call about a production issue. I am oncall 2 days a month and have to be able to function. it also seemed to continue it's affects during the day, where I couldn't think of a word, I slurred and couldn't concentrate. I finally told my dr. that I could not take that anymore (Amatriptalene) as it was affecting my ability to do my job. I will be working up until the Friday before my surgery. I am still waiting to see if my fmla gets approved, and my manager is very understanding and helpful. I work for a great company. I can get salary continuance for 5 months based on my years here so that is a concern off my mind.
  • Sorry to hear all what's happening with not being able to drive and stress from thinking about surgery. It would be good if you could get the Cymbalta, I take it for nerve and back pain and it also helps with my mood.

    Is that Noel on your Avatar? She's a cutie! I have 2 cats myself. Take care and one day at a time. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • This was taken a month before we found she had bone cancer. You can kind of see that her left elbow is a little large.

    Hopefully my mishap was due to not being used to driving the Matrix, I drive a Maxima SE. All of our vehicles are stick so there is the possibility that I have to trade my car in for an automatic. Unless I can talk my mom in to selling me her auto Matrix. His name is Gus. Our's is Trinity. :-)
  • I love the picture of your cat. And what a good reminder for a survivor. I know how anxious one can get before surgery. Seems thats all your mind focuses on. I have had 3 fusions in 4 years with the most recent one in march. Its a tough recovery and am still on pain meds. I don't like to drive with them, even tho it is nothing heavy duty. My mind just seems to be somewhere else, like on my pain!! I take anti-depresants too, have for years and really need them after all the surgeries and the change to my life.
    I take the bus to work, altho sometimes not comfortable for sitting (I squirm alot) I love the time it gives me to read). I commend you for staying away from the alcohol. It really doesn't help in the long run. Good luck and keep everyone posted on how you are doing.


    Spinal stenosis, spondolysis, spondolythesis, L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion with instrumentation and bone graft from hip, L1/S1 fusion with replacement disc put in and a nice bolt from my spine to my pelvis; PT, accupuncture, prolotherapy, many cortisone injections, 4 rhizotomies. Currently on tramadol.
    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • Hi Ruth -
    How are you today? Just wanted to say hello & tell you what a great photo that is. What would we do without our furkids? BB, my younger dog, just came to me to give me a kiss on her way to 'her' loverseat. We had to buy another one for me. Spoiled dogs? Probably. I'd prefer to think of them as well loved!
    Love it that your cars have names. Ours do too. Our Element is named Watson (Element-ary my dear Watson), my red pt cruiser is named Agnes. My Mother had a red-headed friend named Agnes (nickname was Reds) who swore her hair color was natural. It was when she was younger, in her 80s it was ummm, optic orange might be the best description. She was a character!
    Have a blessed day & take care,
    Pat Gibson
    L5S1 ALIF 2-22-11
    Now L4 Retrolisthisis
  • Yes our four legged kids are very important. My 5 cats are VERY spoiled but they always seem to know when I am down and need a little loving. They are all characters. I could write a book!!


    Spinal stenosis, spondolysis, spondolythesis, L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion with instrumentation and bone graft from hip, L1/S1 fusion with replacement disc put in and a nice bolt from my spine to my pelvis; PT, accupuncture, prolotherapy, many cortisone injections, 4 rhizotomies. Currently on tramadol.
    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • Yep they do make your life calmer. My little girl just loves her mommy and drools when she is very happy. We also have two dogs, a husky and chow mix, who are shedding right now. ~X( The chow is trying to get her dreadlocks on. :-)

    Today I had my OBGYN and mammo done to get that out of the way. And I realized that some of the pain issues I've been having in those areas are probably due to the nerves. Yes, shooting pain usually for me is when the nerves are being pinched. Doh! I have a real headache right now which may be due to the stress ~X( or my C5-6 disk is acting up. Sheesh! The only thing with my work is that doctor's appts are not sick leave they are considered personal and that has to be made up. So I guess I'd better log into my computer at work and try to make up some of the time today. Ugh!
  • Can't believe you have to take doctor's visits as personal time. But yes our furkids do help with stress. I have 5 cats, 2 belonged to my mother before she passed away. One is 18 and he is getting alzheimers. He is a real character. Actually they all are, they have their own unique personalities. All my cats (including my mothers) are shelter cats and I think they make the best pets. Right now everyone is asleep (I am home on a day off) and that looks like a good thing to do too - take a nap!!


    Spinal stenosis, spondolysis, spondolythesis, L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion with instrumentation and bone graft from hip, L1/S1 fusion with replacement disc put in and a nice bolt from my spine to my pelvis; PT, accupuncture, prolotherapy, many cortisone injections, 4 rhizotomies. Currently on tramadol.
    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • I have the handyman coming out tomorrow to see what he can do to get the master bathroom handicap accessible and try to fix the floor. i think there is a leak behind the shower that has started rotting the floor. the joys of owning a home. :sigh:

    So that will be nice to get that out of the way. we haven't been able to use our shower due to that issue.

    60 days and counting to the surgery. My husband is wondering if I should get a second opinion about doing a fusion, because he is worried about problems, maybe I have to be in a wheel chair and severely change his life. I don't think he has realized that his life has already been changed. And I think by doing the surgery now instead of waiting till I'm worse will make my recovery and success much better.
  • I agree Ruth, about having the surgery now, that is of course if you have reached that point. I always put that stipulation in, though it is nothing personal and only the way that I view surgery (as a whole).

    It's great that you are having your bathroom/shower, redone and that will definitely make things easier for you in the grooming dept. :))) . I would love to have my bathroom redone with one of those new walk-in shower stalls that you can sit in and fill it up like a tub too if you wish-lol. It sounds odd I know, but it looks like it would feel divine.. 8>
  • Oh yes I am with you for one of those walk-in shower tubs. I have a handrail on my tub (which is a tub/shower) so that helps but it is a jacuzzi tub, which is great but also higher and i am really short!! Oh well. Can't win em all.


    Spinal stenosis, spondolysis, spondolythesis, L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion with instrumentation and bone graft from hip, L1/S1 fusion with replacement disc put in and a nice bolt from my spine to my pelvis; PT, accupuncture, prolotherapy, many cortisone injections, 4 rhizotomies. Currently on tramadol.
    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • George was out today and will get us an estimate on doing the changes we've asked him to do. He's booked for the next month but thinks that this will only take him a couple of days to do it so can work us in before my surgery. My husband and I were discussing why I didn't try to get a second opinion and we have decided that I will make an appt with the surgeon so that my husband can ask more questions. That should help him feel better. my surgeon specializes in Adult Degenerative Surgery of the Spine, Minimally Invasive Surgery of the Spine, General Orthopaedics, and Fracture Care. He is board certified and has a fellowship and has done two mission trips to Ghana to do surgery and training. So he isn't just a bloke off the street.
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