I'm so glad that you and others are here for me. It means so much to me to be able to talk about this to understanding people who know what I'm going through. I can say that I haven't been so upset about a problem in a long time. The pain alone is enough to make me feel like crying every day. Then there's the fact that I've been waiting since July to get in to see this doctor and feeling like that pain has increased since just then. I also think of other people who can get medical help when we can't and they deserve it less than we do. I could write a whole post just on that, but I'll drop that subject. It upsets me that my doctor didn't look into this further about two years ago when I mentioned to him again about my back hurting. Back then if an MRI had been done and surgery recommended, we had insurance and I would have done it. Now I kind of feel like my hands are tied. I really hope that my thoughts are just me being pessimistic because of how I feel and that things aren't as doom and gloom as I'm thinking.
Nope, this doctor is the only doctor at the free clinic. He's a retired doctor who is spending 3-4 days a week seeing patients who can't afford to go to another doctor. I am grateful that we have this option. At least he ordered the MRI, whereas that wasn't done before. After I see the orthopedic doctor next week, I'll report back here and tell how things went. I might be either really depressed or optimistic, depending on the outcome of the appointment.
Huh, well here the doctor had me believing that surgery is put off until people are older than what I am. I wonder why he said what he did then?! After he said that, I know that I told him that I wanted to avoid surgery anyway. I guess it's just that I've always had a fear of operations to begin with, and then there's the idea that I have that there might be a chance that I'll never walk again. Yeah, I'm good at thinking of worst case scenarios, aren't I!
Thank you so much for explaining what L5-S1 means and also the other back terms. So are both the herniation and the fragment (of bone?) causing my pain? Is the fragment causing the hernation? So do you agree with the previous poster that what needs to be done is remove that fragment? Is there anything else you think they will do? When they do MRI's, do they do one of the whole back and therefore if I do also have a problem in my shoulder blade area that would also show on the MRI? I suppose I should mention to the orthopedic doctor that I also have pain in my shoulder blades. Is the shoulder blade area part of the area from L5-S1? If it is, then I'm hoping that whatever they do to get rid of the pain in my lower back will also get rid of my shoulder blade pain.
I wonder if a lot of people suffer from back problems then and need to be operated on? I've heard of spinal fusions. Is that something totally different from what I'd need to have done (assuming that he recommends having the fragment removed)? Reading more carefully what you said, it sounds like there is nothing that can be done about my discs becoming herniated. So a person naturally loses more and more of that disc spacing between the vertebrae until the vertebrae might eventually be rubbing together? What's done in that case? I know, maybe I shouldn't worry about that until later, but since I know now that it's happening to me, it crossed my mind that that's a possibility. I'll definitely look up those dermatome charts on the internet. Thanks for mentioning them.
Here's where I'm at as far as social security disability. Although I worked temp jobs in the last several years, I don't have enough points to qualify for regular disability. I think I did have enough points about ten years ago when I was still working regularly but quit because of problems that were going on and didn't work from about 1998 until 2203. Yeah, I know a long time and a long story and I won't go into it simply because it's too complicated and long. To make a long story short, I wish I had taken a psychiatrist up on his offer to write a letter to put me on disability because at the time I probably would have had enough points to qualify, but I turned him down, thinking that I would get my act together someday.
Fast forward ahead to now and I still have the same anxiety, panic, and distractibility issues in a job setting but now since I have only dabbled in working and don't have the points, I have one other option, which is SSI. I've looked into that but I think my husband probably makes just a little bit too much for me to qualify for it. I know that he was only about $100 over the cutoff amount that the county assistance office says you can't go over to qualify for assistance. We're just barely eeking along. He just took out a small pension that he had coming from a company that he worked at until shortly before they went out of business and that's how we'll pay for our heating oil bills this year, which will probably amount to about $2000 or so. That money was supposed to be saved for retirement, but we need the money so we don't freeze. It's obvious we aren't going to get help from any agency.
Oh, I'm sorry but I forgot to mention that thank goodness we do qualify for those prescription assistance programs. If we wouldn't, I don't think we'd be able to take our meds. I'm on an anti-depressant, an anti-anxiety, something for acid reflux, 2 asthma inhalers (a maintenance and a rescue), a nose spray (allergies) and also a pill for allergies, and the neurontin for my back which doesn't seem to be helping. I wonder if anything at all would help in my case. I don't know when a medication can help for certain back problems and when they can't. Maybe the neurontin would help for certain back problems but maybe not my particular one. Of course, the doctor put me on it after he read the MRI report. He acted like he was at a loss of what to try me on.
I will mention my bladder problem to the back specialist. So do you think that it does have something to do with my back problem then? I know you're not an expert and I'm just asking your opinion.
My husband and daughter have been making comments to me for a few years already about my being in the bathroom so long and I tell them why. I never even dreamed that the back problem and the bladder problem could be related.
No, there isn't a teaching hospital near us. Besides, call me chicken, but even if there were, I'm not so sure I'd be comfortable with having an intern operating on my back.
Do you think they would be trained enough? Would you do that? I was just wondering if I'm too cautious.
Yes, your information was very helpful and thank you very much again. I can imagine that you would understand my pain since you had surgeries that were in that same area of the back. When they do those surgeries, do they just work in one area or do they have to move around within that area of your back?
My appointment is the middle of this coming week and I hope it goes well. My hubby has volunteered to go with me to kind of step in on my behalf because he knows how emotional I get about things and he, as well as I, am afraid that I will neglect to ask some things and get all of the information that I need to know. Thanks for any further help you can give me if you have the time, or if anyone else wants to jump in and post your opinions and experiences, I'm all ears. It's great to have friends who understand.