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5 1/2 yrs out from Back Surgery

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Old 04-14-2012, 11:42 AM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Scottsboro, Alabama
Posts: 2
trublugrl33 HB User
Unhappy 5 1/2 yrs out from Back Surgery

Hello, I am new here, and have not really worked with "threads" before, so please indulge me, while I get used to it.

I had a "freak car accident" where my own car ran over me, and burst my vertabrae at L-1.
This was in August of 2006. I had emergency surgery, by a neuro-surgeon.
He inserted 2 rods and 8 pedicle screws into my back, and I was shocked when I awoke a day later to learn of this. I was certainly NOT ready to stop working, as I had always worked, most of the time, two jobs at once.

This was a life changing experience for me, of course. I did not have insurance at the time, and the surgeon himself, told me he was going to "write off" my bill. I assume the hospital did the same, as I was never billed.
I went home in a cumberson "brace" and only had the help of my 22 yr old son, who had to come from out of state to be with me at home for the first 2 weeks. I had come here to be a care-giver for my ex mother in law.

So, I have no family here at all. I am still here, due to my limited mobity issues. The surgeon told me that he expected a "full recovery" and would not accept the fact that I told him I could not stand on concrete, for 8-9 hours a day to return to work. He informed me, that he did not "do disability". I did not want to go on disability, but had no choice.

After my surgery, the surgeon did not order any kind of physical therapy at all. I am assuming it was because he knew I did not have Ins. and would not be able to afford it.
So, I was left on my own at home, with the brace on, and a walker to help me get around. God Bless the Ladies of a local church, that heard about my situation, and they took turns coming over every other day, to help me out.

13 months later, I took a flight to visit a friend in TX. a short trip, but could not drive that far, from where I am in Alabama.
I was the passenger in the car of the freind I went to see, and was involved in a rollover accident, where I took a pretty hard hit on the head, as we ended up upside down. I believe that was enough pressure to have broken one of the 8 pedicle screws in my back. Of course, because I had "existing condition" his Ins. Co. would not give me anything.

When I returned home, had an X-ray done to verify the break of the screw, mid shaft, in bone.
I went to see the surgeon that had done the work. He said there was nothing to worry about, it probably would not "migrate" and also told me that I would most likely have the hardware in my back for the rest of my life.

Of course I did not know any better, and did not know that it was indeed possible to remove it, after everything was fully healed, (correctly).
I have had "limited mobility issues" since the surgery. I can not stand in one place very long, as it feels as though a knot is forming in my back, and I have to sit down to relieve the pain. When I walk, I walk somewhat "bent over" (giving way to the pain) and I believe, the atrophy that set up in the muscles of my back, due to no P.T. I was so depressed, I just "layed around" for the first couple of years.

I attempted physical therapy 18 months ago, to no avail. It was too late. I have been to see 2-3 other surgeons and they all tell me the same thing. That my fusion did NOT heal correctly, which is why my walking is challenged, and I still have the pain.

Now, a few days ago, I noticed something very strange when I reached around to scratch an itch on the lower back, right above my buttocks. Right above the left buttocks, the spine, or I guess I should say "bone" feels as though it is right to the left of the buttocks. Not in the center of my back. I dont know if this is my spine, or what.?? I am going in 2 days for an X-ray to try and find out.

I am wondering if it is possible that my spine has somehow, shifted either because of the rods, or the incorrect healing to begin with? And being as the surgeon writing off my bill, could I hold him liable this far out, for my spine not healing correctly, when he told me in fact that it did. And I do have that in writing. I am certainly NOT looking forward to another back surgery. But at the same time, do not want to lose any more mobility than I already have.

Does anyone have any advise for me? I am tired of living on pain pills, and walking around like a cripple if I do not have to.
Thank you for any comments,

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Old 04-14-2012, 04:53 PM   #2
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Unhappy Re: 5 1/2 yrs out from Back Surgery

Welcome to the board. Looks like you got the hang of posting! I'm sorry you've had so many problems from your initial accident. I'm not really sure what to comment on, as things don't quite add up to me. I'm wondering if you had more than one level fused in your original surgery. Usually 4 screws are needed for a one level fusion. There isn't a lot of room to insert more than one I'm not sure where those additional 4 screws would have been placed had you just had one level fused -- perhaps you were fused from T-12 to L-2?

Hardware is left in after a person has fused unless there is some good reason to remove it, like screw breakage, allergic reaction to the metal, etc.

Did you have the use of your legs after the accident -- you weren't paralyzed, right?

I really can't guess what it is you are now feeling to the left of your spine. I'm glad you are having an X-ray and will be able to find out what is causing this "bump."

I'm afraid, for a variety of reasons, you would not be able to prove that the surgeon did something that has prevented you from healing. It would be almost impossible to separate what happened in the roll-over accident that occurred so soon after the original surgery from what happened during surgery that prevented you from recovering. I would imagine you signed a consent form prior to surgery that explained there were no guarantees as to outcome. And then you state you basically "layed around" for several years after the could make the case that that level of lack of activity could be just as responsible for your current condition as anything else that happened....I'm sorry if I sound in any way unkind -- I don't mean to be...I'm just pointing out a couple reasons why I don't think you have any grounds for bringing a lawsuit....

Did any of the other surgeons you consulted with recommend a revision surgery? If you never fused, it might be possible to go back in, remove the old hardware, clean out the area, etc. and redo the surgery using new hardware. This might make it possible for you to walk more comfortably.

Old 04-14-2012, 06:17 PM   #3
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Scottsboro, Alabama
Posts: 2
trublugrl33 HB User
Re: 5 1/2 yrs out from Back Surgery

Thank you so much for the response. I understand your confusion, sorry I should've pulled out my med. records so I could have been more clear. I will do that tomorrow, as tonight is busy.

I was on life support, for 1 day before they did surgery, and to be honest with you, was so drugged up, dont remember signing consent, but I am sure I must have.

I am in full posession of the procedure, dictacted by the surgeon, after the operation was over.
I will look them over more closely tomorrow, and find out exactly where the screws are located.
I know that I have 8 and one of them I know, as I have on X-ray fractured mid-shaft in bone.

I will locate the file tomorrow and get back to this with more details. Thank you so much for the quick response. I am almost 64 yrs old, and my primary Dr. really does not think its a good idea, to go under anthesia for a lengthy time due to my COPD.

All I really want is a little more of my mobility back, and I realize at my age, I am going to be slower to recover from anything, than a younger person.
Guess maybe alot of it is due to my mind-set. I am too old to be this young, and too young to be this old!!

Thanks again, I will post more info tomorrow.
Sincerely, trublugrl33

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