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Rage in a Cage
2005-03-16, 01:48
This is the first chance I have had in a long while to post. I broke my back last February and was not physically able to sit up long enough to post for quite a while. After I was better I decided it would be best to delay posting until I was off the stronger painkillers. While some of my posts under the influence might have been entertaining I doubt they would have been very coherent.
I'm glad to see the site membership has grown. I look forward to being able to correspond with you guys in the future. Over the next few days I will try to catch up on some of the old posts, so forgive me if I revive any of the "dead" posts.

2005-03-16, 03:27
Sounds like you broke it good. I was lucky when I shattered L2,in my back. I actually got up and drove myself to the hospital. They had me remove my own boots, disrobe, get on the table, get off the table, ect... Hospital staff were going to send me home with Tylenol3. Finally a doc decided to exray me, and 30 minutes later realized my predicament, and started the morphine. Lesson learned here is do not trust medical professionals. I have heard that more people die in hospitals each year than at home.

Welcome back Rage!

SGT Rock
2005-03-16, 07:30
This is the first chance I have had in a long while to post. I broke my back last February and was not physically able to sit up long enough to post for quite a while. After I was better I decided it would be best to delay posting until I was off the stronger painkillers. While some of my posts under the influence might have been entertaining I doubt they would have been very coherent.
I'm glad to see the site membership has grown. I look forward to being able to correspond with you guys in the future. Over the next few days I will try to catch up on some of the old posts, so forgive me if I revive any of the "dead" posts.
Ouch! :nurse:

Glad to see you are getting around a little better.

Rage in a Cage
2005-03-17, 02:46
Thanks Rock I am much, much better. :elefant:

My wife works at a hospital and deals with some of the critical care patients. I agree that people do die, some times needlessly, in the hospital. I have found that the care you receive is only as good as the ability of the care givers. There are doctors that truly care about their patients and there are doctors that are more compelled to improve their golf swing.The care that I received in the hospital was exceptional, so I can not complain.
The whole story of my injury and related issues sounds a little like yours. I fell off a ladder at work on a Monday.(Most bad things tend to happen to me on Mondays) It took me awhile but I was able to get up and was not really in any pain. I continued to work and at the end of the day I was sore but did not believe the injury to be severe. Over the following couple of days I started having more pain and problems walking and sitting. The pain was more pronounced in my left leg and I had to drive using only my right leg. On Thursday I went to the doctors office. My regular doctor was not available so I saw another doctor and told him what had happened and that the pain was mostly running down my leg. He gives me a light pain pill and tells me to take two weeks off. Of course I did not listen to him and went back to work the next day.(This I regret doing because it caused more damage to the nerves than would have been had I listened to the doctor) In the following days the pain got worse and I finally could not even sit up anymore let alone work or drive. I went back to the same doctor. I had to get my son to drive while I lay in the back seat. All the doctor did was tell me he could not give me a stronger pain pill and that I needed to stay in bed for 2 weeks. My son carried me home and the trip from the car to the couch was the last time I was able to walk for awhile.
The following morning the pain was worse and I could not get up off the couch. I couldnt even roll over off my stomach. I was carried to the Hospital and the MRI showed that I had broken the L4 and L5. There were pieces, as they said, "floating" around. The pieces and swelling were putting pressure on the nerves and causing more damage.The next couple months after that are kinda blurry. Actually there are chunks of my memory missing, a result of some of the meds I was on. I went through three operations to remove, replace, rebuild and tune up the veterbrea (sp?) and disks. I saw some of the bills that were submitted to the insurance company and I can say that without a doubt I "am" the six million dollar man. However six mil wont buy you any bionics in this day and time. They did use some titanium so I suppose that may help me to fit in with the light weight hiking crowd. Add two spinal taps, drug withdrawals and learning to walk again to the equation and that would pretty much sum up how I spent the last year.
I now have a deeper respect for those that suffer serious injuries and have to cope with the issues that arise. It is so distressing knowing that you know how to walk but cant get your legs to coordinate the effort. Even with all that has happened I still feel fortunate. I feel better and will be able to pursue my interests in life. The only thing that bothers me at the present time is I can only walk 300 to 400 yards at a time before I am wore out and have to rest. I know it will get better but I am not the most patient person in the world. Yet I am learning and I know that this too shall pass. I am looking forward to retiring my walking cane :biggrin:

2005-03-17, 11:05
Rage, from the sounds of it, you are doing great. Good spirit, that is what it is all about. I cringe when I hear of other back injuries, dredges up a bit of ghost pain. My L2 is now sort of mushroomed instead of concave at the top and bottom. I am now more than 1/4" shorter than before. I would imagine I have disc problems in my future. When my face slammed my kneecaps, I knew this wasn't a good sign, sent my employees home, and drove myself to the hospital, half way there, all my core muscles went into spasm to hold my upper torso still, couldn't breath real well. I think driving myself to the hospital changed the way staff looked at me, big guy, drove self in, wasn't on a backboard, or writhing......didn't appear very injured.... Sorry about the Hospital stab/joke! :smile: Good luck with your recovery.

SGT Rock
2005-03-17, 11:29
Can't get a spinal prosthesis, so take care of that man. I dread any back injury because of the potential it has to end my hiking days. I really hope you get motoring soon.

Just Jeff
2005-03-17, 22:56
Best of luck on your recovery...sounds like you're halfway there just by having your head in the right place.

I broke mine when I ran into someone (both at full speed) and his knee went right into my back. I got up and walked off the court because it knocked my breath out of me...told the guys I'd be right back. Soon after, I laid down on the gym floor and didn't stand again for a week.

Funny part...in the ER they gave me a bottle to pee in so they could check for blood. I tried, but nothing would come out. Then the ambulance driver came in "just to chat" and after about 10 minutes of shooting the bull, he says, "You know, if you don't give them a sample they're gonna go in and take it." That's all I needed to hear! I squeezed out a tiny drop, and if I held the bottle at an angle it puddled up in the corner. I looked up at the doc pleadingly...thank god it was enough!

Turned out I broke the transverse process in L2-L4 (or 5? don't remember). I was in the hospital for only 2 weeks with no surgery, so I was lucky. Also got to validate two tests and a final...I was extra lucky!

Anyway, it's great to hear your attitude while recovering from such a serious injury. Keep up the PMA!


Rage in a Cage
2005-03-18, 03:01
Thanks for the responses. I will try to address them in order.

No apologies needed for the joke. I didnt mean for my reply to sound so critical. Its all fun and games. I hope you don't have any problems with your back in the future. My left leg is currently 3/4 inch shorter than my right. They say it is partly due to lack of use of that leg and partly because of alignment of the spine.Maybe I should go to midas and have them put me on the front end machine. I told the doctors while I was in the hospital that it was a good thing I had insurance. If not I would have had to got them to rebuild my spine from parts off an old ford truck I have out back.The best advice I can offer is if you start to have pain or other back related issues don't put off going to the doctor. Also, listen to what they tell you and obey the doctors orders. I am the poster boy for what you don't do when you're injured so I guess you would be better off doing as I say and not as I do. :biggrin:

Yes I have an appointment next week to discuss my options. They are pleased with my progress but may choose to do a type of implant. I have two ruptured disks futher up my back that they may trim down a bit. They're thinking about doing the implant at that time. No big deal. I have no doubt that I will hike again, it just may be a little longer than I want to be before I can. I'll admit I do have some concerns as to whether I will be able to carry the weight for a multu-day trip, but I will cross that bridge when I get there.The up side is I have been able to sleep out back in my hammock and do some testing. It doesn't hurt my back and I had the opportunity to prove to myself that I can sleep comfortably down to 8%F with a wind chill of -2 to -4 using mostly cheap gear. :biggrin:

Yeah I think my head is back in the right place. I went through a period where it was up my butt. :angel: I mean that figuratively of course. I finally figured out that I was just making myself and everyone else miserable over something that couldn't be fixed overnight. Acceptance has made it easier.
You were fortunate that you didn't have more problems. I have known many
people that have had various back problems and it still amazes me that what appears to be an identical problem can have different consequences in different people. :hmmmm:
The last spinal tap I had was to check for blood in the spine. A week after the last operation I stated feeling sick. About an hour later I had a headache that reminded me of some of my migraine's I used to have. I called a friend and ask her to take me to the doctor. By the time she arrived I wasnt able to talk coherently and had no sense of balance. They carried me to the hospital, gave me some meds and did the spinal tap. I was kept there for observation overnight and released the next day. Their guess was I cut back to much on the pain meds at one time. I was on the max dosage of hydromorphone and had just switched down to a low dose of percersette(sp?) If you ever have to have a spinal tap dont believe them when they say you only going to feel some pressure. The doctor told me that and I told him I have had one before and that he was full of bull. He tells me that this time would be different. Well they first injected a painkiller into the area. Then he lined up the tap needle and started inserting it. All of a sudden a pain shot down both legs. It felt like I had been struck by lightening. When I jumped the doctor said something that at the time I thought was the stupidest and possible the worst thing he could have. He says"Oh....You shouldn't be feeling that". I rattled off a few x-rated remarks followed by full minutes worth of r-rated gestures. He then said he was going to remove the needle. I quickly responded "no, no, dont do that". He asked me why and I told him that if he removed the needle where I could turn around at that moment I was going to to knock the S*** out of him for lying to me. He fiddled around for a minute then turned to the nurse and told her she could rap it up from there. I didn't see that doctor the rest of my stay. It makes me laugh to think about it now, but I was going to belt him if I got free. Anyway I hate to imagine what my response would have been if they had of tried to take a sample from an anatomical feature that I am most fond off. That sounds too much like kidney stones in reverse. As painful as they are coming out I hate to think what they would feel like crawling back.Yow!!! :elefant:
I love that dancing elephant. I saw a couple of those in my hospital room when they first took me off the morphine drip. :rolleyes:
Thanks again for everyones encouragement and support. It means more to me than you will ever know. Hopefully one day in the future we can get together and go for a hike. :)