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Incoming lumbar fusion. Terrified.

highluxhhighlux Posts: 22
edited 05/08/2014 - 9:24 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi folks. I'm terrified. Its pretty late and I can't sleep and my Fusion is a week away.

The background

I am/was a tilesetter. I was union fo a long time and have also ran my own business for the last 22 years. I am 43 years old now. At 33 I suffered an injury at work while on a Union job. It's an unwritten code not to complain or be a wussy but in this instance..I hurt my back badly. I was carrying a 100lb bag of sand to make some "mud" for a custom shower base. I stepped up about 20 inches from a un poured driveway to a poured garage floor. I ruptured L3/4 L4/5. Instant terrible pain. Right leg went numb. I called my mother who is an RN and she said to go get an MRI. It was a Thursday. I went to an MRI place in the morning and got an MRI. I told my boss I was going to a chiro to see what I could do...not to panic...(very discouraged to seek treatment) I go to the chiro with my mri. There were two chiros there. One tried to sell me a lengthy package of treatment....the other took me aside...said I had a severely ruptured disc and to go see an back surgeon. Called my boss. He gave me insurance companies number. Never heard from him again. We knew each other for years. Well this is where it gets weird.

I called the insurance company and they referred me right to an orthopedic surgeon. He looked at my MRI. Says you need a double lamenectomy. We do it in 2 weeks. Paid for a second opinion and they agreed. Got the surgery...did my PT. I was go to go for the next ten years. Yes ten years.

Forward to current injury.

I had been back to work for 10 years with nothing that kept me off the jobsite as far as back trouble. Rock and roll bust my butt go go go working. Worked weekends...late days. Its how I roll...lol. Bust butt.

Well it caught up with me with a vengeance. May 1st 2013 I was on day 17 in a row of a very large hardwood floor job. We had issues with the hardwood and had been forced to tear out 900 feet of wood already installed due to a milling issue that arose with the rest of the material. The customers where on a deadline to move in that couldn't be moved. We worked days on end..long hours...I was winning the battle despite the manufacturing issue...scooped up a few extra grand for my troubles..then..it happened. I went to work at the house...started to set up the equipment. Started the first row of hardwood...leaned over to use the nailer...and I was hit with a wave of nerve pain that dropped me.

I knew instantly something was wrong. Very wrong. I called the flooring store I did contract work for...people I knew for 20 years...told them I was hurt and couldn't finish. First job in 22 years I failed to complete. They were upset. Not for me...that the job would not be finished and how inconvenient it was for them. xxxx? People are so two faced. You never really know someone until they have no use for you anymore. I wont let it kill my faith in humanity...but jeez? two times now?

So. I am an expert on this now...I call MY insurance company. I am the boss. I hold the work comp policy. I have to file a claim. Make Dr. appointment. They give me a name. I go to the Dr. I get a bad vibe right away. He seems to not think I am really hurting this bad? What? I can barely walk. Im shaped like a question mark. He orders an mri. Sends me home with a script. Vicodin. OK those work good.

MRi comes back...Dr. Says nothing. Starts me on PT. Says "doesn't see anything surgical" sends me to pain management Dr. And to PT. Brushed me off!! I go to PT. Its rough. Why am I doing this I say? Im sure I have a bad disc. Neck is killing me, mid back is killing me. I had been nursing a really sore elbow for about 6 months..but I keep on working cause I'm no wuss...I don't want to stop. I love to work. PT is killing me. I do it faithfully.

I go to pain management Dr. He seems to be blowing me off too. I ask him. Do I have a bad disc. I am sure of it. He says I don't know...I didn't look at your MRI. I said can you? He looked aggravated and went and got it. He sat down with me and we looked at it. Within 2 minutes...between my cervical and lumbar. He circled 6 discs! I asked him..why am I in PT with all these bad discs. Why did the othro say it wasn't surgical. His response...I swear to god. Well...Dr. xxx doesn't like to do surgeries on people who have had one before. I'm kinda blunt and say what is on my mind. Its how I have always been.
I was like " did you really just say that to me? are you xxxx kidding me?

I knew from the last surgery that with work com you are silly not to have an attorney. So I called mine. We discussed the Dr. situation and I am a big strong guy...but I was nearly in tears. This was my life...my future here...and I was obviously getting the shaft!! What am I going to do?

The blessing in disguise. My attorney says to me " Mr Davis (that me!) you are in a very unique position. You are the employee, and the employer. The way Missouri law is written, you are the one actually who gets to choose your provider."
Really? Yup. While he had never had such a case...there was precedent. He told me, if you feel you are not receiving proper care....fire the Dr. I called the Dr. I wanted to see. A Dr. who was associated with the very first Dr. Who did my first surgery.

I called the PT people because I really really like them. They knew I was just doing more harm than good there. I told them I would see them again when I could. Well...the insurance adjuster called me and came unglued. She was very mad. She asked me why I filed 3 separate claims. Why did I fire the Dr. How dare I do that. The insurance company refused to approve the new Dr. and stop paying me weekly benefits.

I was floored. (no pun intended, well maybe) I had no income. I have savings and my wife works...but it was a bad feeling. I was in no shape to work...even go to the store or any chores. I was sure I ruined my case...any chance for medical treatment. Then my Lawyer did his job. He schooled the Insurance company lawyer about the law...and after a month...they approved my new Dr...and gave me back-pay. Large victory.

The new problem. The adjuster turned into the devil. Since I lawyer-ed up...she could no longer speak to me...even though...I was the policy holder. lol. So...this is where I was saved. When I met my new Dr...we sat down and talked. Told him my life story dang near. I told him the situation I was in. I told him I know my tile career is over. I'm 43. Prior surgery. This was my last hope for being able to at least function normally and have a life. I didn't cry..but close. He was a human being. He looked over my MRI. NO PT. Pretty obvious to him I need a fusion. Maybe neck too.

He wrote a report to the insurance company. To my surprise, he said that I didnt get proper treatment for the first Dr. Should have never been in PT. That I need a fusion.

6 months go by. Insurance company delays...making Dr. jump though ridiculous hoops and reports. He wants a discogram. They say no. He appeals...just mickey mouse games with my life.

The blessing in disguise. Or not. Well one month ago...I started having pretty bad bladder area pains. Also..dramatic increase in how often I needed to go. I wasn't going a lot each time. Bladder infection? Me? I'm a man..that's rare. I tolf my Dr. He says...prolly urological...go get it checked out. I go to an urgent care cause every urologist is booked for weeks. Get a UA...no infection...but blood in my urine? ok. Referred to a urologist. I get in quick now.

The lady with the hurty tools. Well I had convinced my self in the meantime I had prostate cancer and was doomed. I realized the inevitable prostate exam was coming. Hmm. Finger in the butt. Oh boy. I imagined a grizzled old Dr. with a mustache. Very business like. Nope. Was a lady. Come here...drop em. lean forward....whoooo!! No prostate swelling. Did a ultrasound on my bladder...its irritated. I was relieved. No prostate cancer. I mentioned I have bad S1 disc now. She mmmhhhmm'd. Orders a urological work up. 2 weeks later...I show up. Wife in tow. This time I was sure it was stones or bladder cancer.

The probing. So this work up was called urodynamics. I was skewered with a catheter. Most pain I had ever had. It didn't go in well. Burned like fire acid and razorblades. Then came a scope to look at bladder. Even worse. All clear. Urologist says its my disc. Calls my ortho and lets him know. I pee razorblades for three days.

Got a call from Dr. Monday. All of a sudden the insurance company cares..they had approved surgery and it is scheduled for June 11. The bladder involvement is considered emergency situation apparently. GOP a call from Dr. again today....now it is bumped up to May 16th.

I have one week folks. I'm scared to death. At least the insurance company is on board now and agrees this is a new injury and is taking care of it.

My wife of 18 years is lucky enough to have been with American Express for 24 years Monday and has been able to work full time from home for the last several years. She had vacation time and sick leave that lets her take care of a relative as well. I got her here to take care of me.

So. Cant sleep. Tripping out. Scared to death.

Sorry for the long babbling story...that's the Vicodin. I get chatty.

Any tips or tricks or advice would really help a bunch.

Very hard for me to go from workaholic doing stuff with my hands to couch gimp. I hope it works.

Post Edited for Inappropriate Language Liz




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