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Old 04-13-2005, 09:31 PM   #1
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Boyfriend's Newest Symptom - Getting More Worried

Can anyone who has serious back problems shed any light on this new torture??? It happens quite a lot, he'll be lying watching TV and all of a sudden his foot will start to cramp and try to make like a fist. It happens in both feet, sometimes both at the same time but the little toes also dislocate. It is very, very painful for him and I can hardly bear to watch.

He has a plethora of complaints I'm not sure of the proper names or how many (It's all so technical) but this is what I do know, he has compressed discs, has previously fractured three vertebrae (in an accident) which have now healed but wrongly so he now also has spinal stenosis. I'm not sure which things are in which area but I do know the two areas are lumbar and thoracic which is affecting his blood pressure and he now apparently has sleep apnea.

His case is a disgraceful episode of misdiagnosis, he has had to beg for an MRI after begging an A&E doctor to stop looking at his dislocated shoulder (he has instability, inoperable so it dislocates every day) and please look at his back. The doc asked him when he'd broken it???

Unfortunately living in the UK he is not due to have even a chat with the surgeon until August, meanwhile he is deterioating so badly my gut feeling is that he'll be taken in as an emergency before then as he now cannot climb in and out of the bath nor can he walk more than a few yards before being in agony.

Pain killers don't work for him, he has been prescribed everything under the sun recently and has been sent for blood work to see if he has certain anti-bodies that stop pain killers working properly. He has also just recently been prescribed Gabapentin in a tritation pack which he has yet to start because he is terrified of the side effects which are pretty bad and also because once you start it you just can't stop it plus the worry that they won't work anyway so he'll be risking things for nothing.

His blood pressure is frequently sitting at 159, he gets terrible chest pains and he says it is getting harder to cope with the pain. He gets sciatica too and pain in almost every part of his body and he is starting to show real signs of not coping anymore. I am so worried about him, is it getting really serious??? I think it is and he needs to be in hospital now but what can I do to get him in there??? Going to emergency doesn't work they send him home it's an absolute disgrace and I feel helpless, the stress is terrible watching someone you love in such terrible pain, he had the accident four years ago and was only just diagnosed late last year. I feel a malpractice suit coming on but later I need to get help to him first.

 
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Old 04-14-2005, 05:09 AM   #2
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Re: Boyfriend's Newest Symptom - Getting More Worried

I wish I had some answers for you and hopefully someone will come along soon that does,I have no idea what it's like in UK but from all I've read medical help is not easy to get.
Your right though he does need help NOW.
He's very fortunate to have you there helping him.It sounds to me as if the nerves are invloved now as this is how my legs and feet do with the S1 nerve damage I have.
I hope and pray you find the answers your seeking I just wanted you to know your being heard and I care.
Linda

 
Old 04-14-2005, 07:12 AM   #3
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Re: Boyfriend's Newest Symptom - Getting More Worried

Hello

So sorry your boyfriend is having such a horrific time. There are probably members from the UK, and maybe they can offer you some other routes to take regarding the back, as it does not sound like it needs to wait until August. Is the wait because of his health, or is it that they are generally slow to receive treatments?

What I can suggest is that he could possibly check with his primary care doc and ask that his potassium levels be checked. Extremes of either high or low potassium can cause severe cramping and muscle spasms as you describe. If potassium levels are a problem, simple adjustments of potassium intake can take away a lot of the misery. If potassium is not the problem, your friend should talk with the doctor about prescribing some muscle relaxers (I use flexeril) of one sort or another that will relieve the cramping. He could get some immediate short term relief and stay on them for regular intervals as prescribed so that over the course of a few days, the cramping/spasms should become a lot less frequent.

I do not understand the health care system which takes so long to schedule someone for corrective surgery with the problems you describe. Is there no way to appeal or see a spine specialist (an ortho or neuro who specializes in spines and has done a spine fellowship) who might provide him surgery now?

Do let us know how he is doing. Best wishes to you both.

 
Old 04-14-2005, 08:04 AM   #4
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Re: Boyfriend's Newest Symptom - Getting More Worried

fluffytoes

I have to echo the response of "quietcook"....have his potassium level checked. Does he take diuretics or water pills? They can cause your body to be depleted of potassium. I have heart problems and high blood pressure problems so they make me take diuretics. These cause you to more frequently urinate, often reducing the amount of potassium in your body. I have to take a potassium supplement otherwise I have the exact same symptoms that you describe that your boyfriends suffers from. Sometimes my big toe will stand straight up and I have to stand on it with my other foot to try and get it to straighten out. It will often be like a "charlie horse" but in the foot....bad acute pain.

In fact, potatoes and bananas are a good source of potassium....I make sure that I eat some each day to try and get enough potassium. I also take multiple vitamins that have potassium. You may be able to try these things until you get his potassium level checked. Have him try the bananas, it certainly can't hurt.Taking a potassium supplement may eliminate the cause.

What I do when I have an episode is quickly take a pain pill (break thru pain meds in my case), a strong muscle relaxer (the doctors give me valium...yes, it is a muscle relaxer, in fact it was first made for this very purpose...very effective I might add ), and then I rub my foot with an ointment used for sore muscles and the like...I don't think I can mention a specific product on these boards, but I can assure you some are better than others. Of course, while I am doing all this I am usually also kicking the foot on the floor, against the wall, trying to massage it, sticking it in a tub of hot water, cold water and doing whatever else I can to try and distract me from the pain. OH, how I know how miserable this is!!!!! I have to emphasize the muscle ointments as this is something you can get at the drugstore. It may not be the ultimate cure, but this in conjunction with the other things mentioned tend to give me some relief.

Do you know of any friends who have friends that are nurses, physician's assistants, pharmacist, etc. so that they can possibly recommend something to help with the acute pain episodes.

I have to emphasize the muscle relaxer, specifically the valium, as it is very effective, even though it takes a few minutes to begin working. My doctor gives it to patients who are paralyzed and get bad muscle spasms (I don't know how this happens when your paralyzed, but it does)....he says that it is very effective.

I can so much relate to all this misery and especially the sense of hopelessness that he must feel not knowing if he will ever get relief. Offer to pray with him, not only when he is in pain, but pray for the strength, peace and RELIEF when he does have an episode....this has helped me very much!! Ask your family and friends to pray, pray, and then pray some more! Pray that God will send the right person in his life that will help get him some relief. Know that I (as well as I am sure others who will read your e-mail) will be praying for the both of you that your boyfriend will get some relief and you will be at peace!

cajuboy

 
Old 04-15-2005, 05:06 PM   #5
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Re: Boyfriend's Newest Symptom - Getting More Worried

Blimey this board moves fast!!! Thank you all for your wonderful support, you've given us things to work on. I'll update when I know anything. My best to you all.

 
Old 04-17-2005, 11:01 AM   #6
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Re: Boyfriend's Newest Symptom - Getting More Worried

fluffytoes

Has your boyfriend gotten any relief? Have you found anything to help him? Let us know what happens?

You and he are in my prayers!

cajunboy

 
Old 04-17-2005, 05:58 PM   #7
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Re: Boyfriend's Newest Symptom - Getting More Worried

[QUOTE=cajunboy]fluffytoes

Has your boyfriend gotten any relief? Have you found anything to help him? Let us know what happens?

You and he are in my prayers!

cajunboy[/QUOTE]

Not yet cajunboy, apparently his newish doc had already ordered blood testing for the potassium levels so we're just waiting on the results of that. He's hanging in there but seems convinced at times he's going to die, he saw a tv programme in which a young boy had a spinal injury and died, he even told me he thought it would be Sept or Oct which worried me greatly at first but on reflection I think he's just scared and needing lots of reassurance, I think the programme really spooked him.

I've told him he isn't going anywhere because he promised me he'd marry me one day (we're engaged) and I've given him some of the best years of my life but I've loads more to give and he isn't going to leave me living the rest of my life without him.


Thank you for including us in your prayers, I've never really been a person for religion but recently I've found myself praying for god to look after him and comfort him in his suffering and to give him the strength to keep fighting.

I'll update again as soon as I know more.

 
Old 04-18-2005, 06:22 AM   #8
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Re: Boyfriend's Newest Symptom - Getting More Worried

[QUOTE=fluffytoes]

.....Thank you for including us in your prayers, I've never really been a person for religion but recently I've found myself praying for god to look after him and comfort him in his suffering and to give him the strength to keep fighting.

I'll update again as soon as I know more. [/QUOTE]


fluffytoes

I sure hope that it is the potassium shortage that is the problem, because that is so very easy to fix (potassium supplement). I can't encourage you enough. Tell him about these boards/forums....that there are many people like him who "have been there" are are not only survivors, but have regained their quality of life. Yes, it was a battle to get the right treatments and medications at first, but there is hope.

Also, and most significantly, don't let go of prayer. God is our Father and loves us dearly. He never desired that we suffer, but in fact, created our first parents in the "Garden of Eden". Their first failures, followed by our own failures, brought disorder into the world, and with it all this suffering. But, He assures us that He is with us as He sent His Son to suffer and die to give evidence of His love for us.

Mother Teresa knew suffering and she often told her sisters "Never let suffering so overwhelm you as to forget that the Passion of Jesus ends in the joy and glory of the Resurrection."

Tell your fiancee that there are those who have been through what he is going through, and they are praying for him. I hope your day is filled with peace!

cb

 
Old 04-18-2005, 07:56 PM   #9
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Re: Boyfriend's Newest Symptom - Getting More Worried

Hi
I n the natural range of things camphor is what is used for cramps. We use it tucked at the bottom of our bed and get no cramps at all.
Just a sugestion
Lee

 
Old 04-19-2005, 01:57 AM   #10
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Re: Boyfriend's Newest Symptom - Getting More Worried

This could be as simple as dehydration. I now my husband will have this happen after a long day in the sun and he hasn't had much to drink--pees very dark urine. I get him several glasses of water and after about 30 minutes he feels much better.
Just a thought...........

 
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