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Anyone eligible for handicapped parking with a 3 level neck fusion (or something similar)?

Faith981Faith981 Posts: 88
edited 01/20/2017 - 1:57 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
It has been 17 months since my 3 level spinal fusion and I have always had discomfort driving or going long distances with cart/packages, but never asked to apply for a placard because I don't want to be considered handicapped. Meaning, I want my health back if possible but I have been having issues. I also don't want strangers to harass me for looking too healthy to be having a handicapped placard. It is my understanding though if your disability impairs your driving you may be uninsurable and I wouldn't want that to happen!
I tapped a parked car yesterday in a crowded dark parking garage because it hurt to turn my head and drive backward slowly for so long. It hurts to switch to left and right quickly also. I left no damage but a witness saw it happen and knows the owner of the car so she reported it. The bumper has all kinds of previous scratches and now it looks like I will be paying about a $1,000 to repaint the entire bumper!! I didn't make a mark!! I go extremely slow back because of my fusion and pain. When you gently tap a car it leaves no mark. God knows what is true.
This happened where I will be having a new job and I will continually have to deal with this tight, dark, parking garage with my pain in my neck and fusion. In Pennsylvania the only qualifiers I come close to are, "Does not have full use of an arm or both arms." I have lost a lot of range of motion in my right arm that I'm working through PT to get back. The other criteria, "Severely limited in his ability to walk due to an arthritic, neurological or orthopedic condition." I'm 42 and look perfectly healthy to an outsider. It's not so much walking as my neck hurting to turn while simultaneously moving the car. I may have to walk 5 or 6 flights down the parking garage which does hurt my neck a lot, though or be forced to use the parking garage elevator at night alone. Many of the spaces there would be safer if you backed into them which would be painful and difficult for me to do safely and I risk tapping another car!! I think I would worry what people think of me if they saw a placard on my car (that I'm taking advantage somehow), but it would really help me, especially in the situations I mentioned. I know this doesn't count but I have terrible anxiety winding up a tight parking garage that I will be in another car accident. I have disc herniations above and below my fusions that could get worse at any time.
Anyone have a 3 level cervical fusion and a handicapped placard over a year since their surgery? Does my situation qualify?


  • Hello, Faith981!

    When you are simply trying to make something not only easier on yourself, but reduce the risk of fender benders, how people view you is ON THEM.  You cannot control what other people say and do and think, you can only do what's best for you and your situation.  Please do not give people who are not in your shoes any kind of power/control over the any of the accommodations you need, and have a fundamental right to use. 

    I suppose the only way to know if you qualify is to begin the application process for the placard.  I hope you get this situation resolved to your benefit.  Good luck with the new job!  
    Kimmy72, Spine-health Moderator
    Firm believer in PMA!
  • Yes,,you do qualify, and DMV has no way of knowing you might not have neurological deficits. I applied for a placard years ago and I didn't get interrogated as to how my disability affects me. As long as we have a prescription or the form signed by a physician, then that's all you need. You'll get the permanent placard since your condition will last longer than 12 months. As to skeptics out there about whether you are disabled, I have two words I can't say here. It's none of their business..disability strikes at any age in various ways. Can you fight against not paying for all that bumper repair? I have no tolerance for anyone looking at me suspiciously because I use handicap parking. I stare back if they eyeball. I will say something if there are stupid remarks. I'm just feisty that way lol. So go ahead comfortably and apply for the placard you're entitled to. And pay no mind to some who have a problem with your youth..I'm in my 40's too. Take care.
    Ol' Spiney..Micro-D L4-L5, TLIF L4-S1 -post op central HNP L4-S1,stenosis, retrolisthesis, EF, facet arthropathy, lumbar& cervical DDD. FBSS- Medtronic pain pump & SCS
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  • Thank you Kimmy72 & Meydey for your support. I really needed to hear the perspective of people similar to me. I will fill out the application with my doctor.

    Thank You!!
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,427

    I waited about 15 years before I applied for a handicap parking sticker.  Mostly because of pride.   But after my Achilles surgery, I realized that I needed that help when I needed it.

    I have a permit, after my doctor completed the application.  It is good until 2020 and it was very simple to get at the DMV.

    Even though I have it, I try not to use it, or more to the case abuse it. I see way too much of that.  I've watched young people jump out of the Hummer, run over to the store they want to get to, while mean while they hang their handicap parking permit tag on their mirror!  Nothing irritates me more than that

    But the permit can really be valuable to people that need them.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
  •  No problem..it'll make life a little easier for you. See it as VIP parking lol. Take care
    Ol' Spiney..Micro-D L4-L5, TLIF L4-S1 -post op central HNP L4-S1,stenosis, retrolisthesis, EF, facet arthropathy, lumbar& cervical DDD. FBSS- Medtronic pain pump & SCS
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  • Hi Faith981

    I am struggling at the moment to make a decisions about applying for a disabled badge in the UK.  Like you I want to get better and almost view going down that route as a path in the wrong direction.  I have more problems with mobility once out of the car and trying to get somewhere, so disabled parking would get me closer.

    My main problems in the past have been in my lumbar and I have not used the turning technique for many many years but rely completely on my mirrors for reversing.  It was strange at first but now I cannot imagine trying to park any other way.  When using mirrors, it is easier to see your reversing light beam and edge of your car, other cars etc.  This may sound crazy but have you considered an advanced driving course to help you tweek your driving  skills to your current post op conditions?  Tips from this kind of tuition are so valuable in the kind of conditions you are having to park your car.

    I think an application would be supported more by your restricted movement and getting in and out of your car in a tight parking place and using excessive flights of stairs.  I guess if the parking places for disabled drivers is on the same level that might not help but just a thought.  So long as you are confident your disabilities do not make you a dangerous driver, then you have every right to drive unless your surgeons or insurance have instructed otherwise. Take no notice of others  or their stares when you get your badge.  I have people openly staring at me when I am out because I use my stick.  Sometimes I feel it's a shame I need it to support me at that moment, as I have the urge to use it for other purposes!!! :-).  I end up feeling sorry for those peoples for the lack of manners their parents taught them :-). 

    I think in your position I would apply as you have an ongoing degenerative issue around your fusion, which may be exposed to less strain, if you have more space to exit your car after parking.  Disabled parking space here have extra space beside the car.

    Good luck with moving forward with your application, still being independent and your job


    L5/S1 herniation Apr 2013
    nerve root injections Oct 2013
    L5/S1 discectomy Jan 2014
    L5/S1 nerve roo &, facet joint injections & edpidural Jan 2015
    L5/S1 revised discectomy, L4/L5 discectomy & Wallis Inswing Stabilisation L4/L5 May 1st 2015
    L4-S1 TLIF with decompression June 2017
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    My PM doctor asked me why I didnt have a placard..as he watched me walk into the office.
    That was few years ago, and I am so grateful for that placard!

    It in fact helps me feel more independent as I have more strength when I arrive to activity....ex..pharmacy when I pick up meds.

    I remember initially being sad when I started using my cane. But now I think nothing of it!
    Anything I do that helps me have more "Spoons" is well worth it to me!

    I never heard what others think or their judging me.
    I care about my responsibility to do what improves my quality of life!
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  •  I really feel self conscious using a cane. I hope I will never need it. I'm relatively young-ish and want to be able to do without it. However I'm not troubled by parking in a handicap spot. If anyone looks at me funny I do not hesitate to put them in their place. They don't know me and what I go through, so why the judgement? Getting around takes a lot out of me, so I need a cane to assist me. 
    Ol' Spiney..Micro-D L4-L5, TLIF L4-S1 -post op central HNP L4-S1,stenosis, retrolisthesis, EF, facet arthropathy, lumbar& cervical DDD. FBSS- Medtronic pain pump & SCS
  • Use it when you need it, otherwise leave the spots for someone who is less fortunate than you.  I have nerve damage that leaves my handicap up and down,.....some days good and some days bad so I use it as needed.  As for other people, they will judge you no matter what no matter whether you have a handycap or not....that's on them as someone else posted.
    Good luck, get the pass
  • Yes to all of the above, get the pass, I got a temp until I convince myself I need a permanent one, had a multi level fusion, and backing up is hard, as is lifting heavy packages, I use it when I need it and don't when I don't,  keep in mind the tag is for your vehicle only and only when you are in it, at least in most states.  young folks using moms card are not only abusive but illegal.  anyhow you'll find it much easier to park in a bigger space when you need to go there.  take care, stay safe. piperbill
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