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    Old 09-12-2006, 10:37 AM   #1
    boxer_dog_luv
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    Angry Post ACDF and now car accident

    Had 2-level ACDF w/o plating on 6/30/06 for an unknown cause of bulging discs after suffering progressing symptoms for 2 years. Best decision I ever made. Immediately postop was in less pain than 2 yrs. before. Followed all instructions and great tips/advice on this board - total recovery. Returned to all activities, felt like I was 21 again, loved life, no pain whatsoever and gave thanks for my great doctor. It was a miracle! Anyhow, then I started looking at what I could do to maintain my back/spine since there was no specific cause. Last year I joined a "greatest loser" contest with my school nurse, lost 20 lbs. from Jan-June, reformed my eating/diet, and started going to a gym (varying cardio, strength with 5 lb. weights, cycling classes X 3-4 days and walking 3.5 miles 1-2 days a week) I was on top of the world - felt so much better losing the extra pounds (never was overweight), made awesome friends at the gym and my life was totally terrific! Did everything I could to make sure I was in my best shape to avoid other disc problems in the future. It was a dream - being able to wear all my collected clothes. I was pleased with my muscle tone and life was great!

    UNTIL....8/25 I had finally grown up enough to buy my dream car (convertible) and my hubby and I were driving early to work at 0700. A perfect day. Anyhow, this "driver" (no valid license driving a friend's vehicle), according to the witness, took out to pass multiple cars, roared down the wrong side of the road in a no passing zone in excess of 55+ mph, never braked, and hit us from behind as we were in the process of turning left down a side street. Yes, I am grateful to be alive. Every law of physics was on our side, somehow she hit us on a diagonal and it shirred off the front end on a diagonal with her vehicle going off, etc. No glass break, no airbagging.

    I can remember the wreck in slow motion, screaming to my husband, "What's happening?" as it was coming from behind and during the impact there must have been some fishtailing b/c the rear qtr panel of our car was also wrecked. The creepy thing was I do recall what felt like a water balloon shifting inside my head over my left eye, feeling faint, clammy, and then nauseous. I fought to stay conscious, insisted that EMS use spinal precautions and put my hands up to self-immobilize my neck against the head rest until EMS arrived. I don't remember being jerked about or moving about during the collision. I was taken to the ER and the doctor was glib, did a spinal palpation, pronounced no broken bones, ordered no tests, and d/c'd me on Vicodin for 3 days and ibuprofen.

    Soreness was worse the next day. The accident happened on the last teacher workday (Fri) and the first day of school was the following Monday. I struggled to teach my 3 classes (4.5 hrs.) and for the next week felt dizzy, nauseous and faint by 3 p.m. My husband also works with me and had to get me home before I would pass out. I made an appt. w/ my family M.D. on that Tues. who put me on 2 weeks of Vicodin and 800 mg. of ibuprofen. The headaches and head pain has resolved. My neck seems fine.

    Now here is what puzzles me - I was in excellent shape by all accounts before the accident and now 3 weeks later, my life has changed. I sleep only 3-5 hrs. a night depending on how much Vicodin I took and when. From shoulders to lower back hurt enough to prevent sleep. I have something going on which makes my left shoulder/blade feel like it has a pressure and a bulging out sensation. About mid-back, I have a sharp stabbing pain and can put my hand in this location and reproduce the pain by pressing here. Last night I went to close a door by bopping it with a right hip swing (no force behind the swing) and it felt like I really injured myself. I immediately had sharp pain radiating down my right leg and tried stretching to try to make it stop with pain lifting my right leg to take a step, finally took meds and went to bed. Something is wrong - everybody acts like it is a dirty word to be injured in an auto accident that was not at all your fault--in other words, people don't want to get involved with something that could end up litigation.

    My car, of course, was deemed totalled just yesterday. My car ins. company and the other at-fault ins. company are haggling about who pays and have been slow to take responsibility. I have not felt good enough nor been advised by my doctor that I could exercise. This accident already has been a financial inconvenience. I just received a promotion with my job and if I stumble, there is someone waiting who would love to take advantage and I am worried about my career being affected by the wreck. I am struggling to work, just don't know what the future holds, trying to be patient to see if I will get better, and finally had to get an attorney to protect my interests from both ins. companies. I am supposed to be car shopping and I have deferred driving to my husband; that's the last thing on my mind. Any words of wisdom?

     
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    Old 09-12-2006, 11:40 AM   #2
    bdh7
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    Re: Post ACDF and now car accident

    Hello! I am so sorry to hear about your accident...it sounds terrifying! I'm about five weeks out from my ACDF C5-7, which was the result of an accident four years ago. Different mechanics...we t-boned a drunk driver who ran a stop light in front of us...but still living with the effects of that guy's decision to go drinking after work that night. At the time of our accident, our state had a no-fault policy in effect, so my auto insurance has paid $100,000 worth of medical expenses. I had very little trouble with them...they basically paid every bill that was sent to them as long as it was shown to be related to the accident. I also have a very good attorney, who has taken over dealing with both insurance companies. This has taken such a weight off my shoulders! I think you made a very good decision. I have not had any problems with doctors fearing getting involved in litigation, and I've seen nearly a dozen doctors over the course of the last four years. Most doctors have, if anything, been more sympathetic, knowing the injuries were a result of someone else's choices rather than my own carelessness or neglect.

    As far as suggestions for medical follow-up, if one or the other insurance company is cooperating, I would suggest seeing an orthopedic or neurosurgeon and asking for an MRI of your T-spine and L-spine. It wouldn't hurt to check your neck again, too, but it sounds like if there are injuries to the spinal column it might be lower. You must have twisted quite a bit by being hit at an angle like that...especially if your airbag didn't release to hold you in place. I think as far as the exercise, it might be a good idea to take it easy until you can find out if something is going on, or if you're just experiencing a lot of muscle soreness/spasms that need to ease up a bit. Driving after an accident is a challenge, injured or not, I think...it was probably two or three years until I didn't tense up when we approached an intersection (especially at night...the bright lights and colored signals brought back such a sense of the accident).

    I think it might also be a good idea to discuss your financial issues with your attorney. He/She is on your side, and should do whatever he can to help ease your worries about your job, your car, etc. Do you have to go car shopping right now? If you need a car quickly, I can understand that; otherwise, it might be a good idea to wait until you feel better to shop, so you can devote all your energy to picking the right one. One advantage, though, to shopping now, is if any of your pain now is going to continue for some time, you can find the car that "fits" you the best...what is most comfortable to drive and/or ride in. I went car shopping on a very bad day...I was planning to get another van, and test drove a couple, but found them very hard to maneuver, so I ended up with a smaller SUV that was easier to steer and park, I could see better out of the windows without having to twist and turn a lot, and it sat higher, which also helped with the visual issues. I also looked at the arm rests to determine if they were the right height to avoid having my arms dangle or shoving my shoulder up too high (I have shoulder problems), and also electronic controls for seat, windows, mirrors, etc, to make it easier on my hand/arm. I do wish it rode a little smoother, though...the vibrations are still a problem, but it seems any car I ride in has that problem. Your attorney should also have some input regarding the possible promotion...if you miss out on it because of the accident, he should be able to get you compensated for the difference in salary you lose because of it.

    Well, I can't type anymore, so I guess that will have to be it! I've blathered on long enough, anyway. I hope things work out well for you...take care of yourself now, and don't let yourself get worked up over the things that are out of your control. Stress doesn't help healing! (I know this from experience )

    Donna

     
    Old 09-12-2006, 11:55 AM   #3
    dennisgb
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    Re: Post ACDF and now car accident

    Boxer Luv,

    Dang! All that work and now this!

    I will be short and sweet. Sounds like you may have something going on lumbar...the mid back/low back with leg pain is a sure sign. You should get it checked out. Also, ask your MD to get you an MRI of your neck to make sure everything is okay there.

    The trouble sleeping is not a surprise. You just went through a tramatic experience, and now have all of these issues to think about, plus, the drugs may effect sleep too. High doses of Ibroprophen are really tough on the stomach...always woke me up, back when I could take it.

    Get checked out good, so you can get some piece of mind.

    Dennis

     
    Old 09-12-2006, 12:06 PM   #4
    bdh7
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    Re: Post ACDF and now car accident

    Hey...I just wanted to add something to my already long post above...don't be in a hurry to settle anything until you know for certain the extent of your injuries. It's not uncommon for an injury to show up months or even years after an accident, especially neurological problems. Many here can trace their cervical problems to an accident or injury years past...even the doc my insurance company sent me to for an IME said it is not uncommon for neurological problems to be latent for a time.

    I agree with Dennis on the ibuprofen...I took a lot of high doses right after the accident, and it was really hard on my stomach. I don't take it anymore.

    Two more cents...

    Donna

     
    Old 09-13-2006, 07:13 AM   #5
    Backinthesaddle
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    Re: Post ACDF and now car accident

    I had a posterior decompression in March of 2003. Then July 2004 I had a slow moving rear ender. I had some mild pain but went to the doctor in a few weeks since it was a Workers Comp issue. It continued to get worse. Within 3 months I had so much nerve pain I couldn't straighten my arms. I was placed on light duty and told I needed a ACDF immediately based on moderate to severe spinal cord compression at C4/5. Well, that said being WC nothing was fast I got pregnant and then it took 6 months post delivery to have the baby and I finally had ACDF in February with ongoing nerve and shoulder, neck and back spasms. Wait for any kind of settlement.

     
    Old 09-13-2006, 12:39 PM   #6
    Kissa
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    Re: Post ACDF and now car accident

    Boxer I am so sorry to hear about your situation. I had a similiar situation happen to me.

    I had an ACDF 4 levels a few years ago, one year post op I was rear ended in a car accident. My accident was not as bad as yours. I was stopped in front of my driveway, my son in front of me on his motorcycle. The traffic was heavy as it always is at 4pm on a busy road. My son got clearance to pull into the driveway, and being the smart alec he is he pulled a wheelie down the driveway. I slowly moved forward to get ready to turn into the driveway when the lady behind me gunned her car right into the back of my little subaru Baja. I was stunned, got out of the car and asked the lady what was she doing (only in not very nice words) she giggled and said "well that's why they call it an accident".

    I truly believe she was watching my son do the wheelie. Neither her or her son had their seat belts on but when the police arrived they had them on. Imagine that! The funny part of everything was she told the police I slammed on my brakes forcing her to hit me. The police know me well and know I would not do that and all of the evidence proved that I was stopped and she hit me.

    Anyhow...I of course immediately went to the hospital via the ambulance just to be safe. They did a quick Xray and all looked OK. They gave me a vicodin for pain which was upsetting because I take Morphine on a regular basis, vicodin did nothing for the severe neck and back pain I had. They sent me home and told me nothing was wrong with me.

    Months went by and like you I couldn't sleep from the pain. The morphine wasn't even touching the neck and shoulder pain. My Pain Management specialist sent me for an MRI, all appeared OK. He ordered some lidoderm patches which did help tremendously and more muscle relaxers.

    Almost a year later I couldn't take it anymore and went back to the original surgeon. He did another MRI and xray. The MRI was fine, it did show some mild herniations but nothing substantial. But what the MRI didn't show and the Xray did show was that one of my screws were busted in half! The hospital didn't see it the first time!

    Needless to day I was diagnoses with permanent nerve and muscle damage. Things are a bit better. The screw remains because it is in a position that it would be more dangerous to remove it than to leave it in. I still have pain.

    I got tired of the insurance games and am finally settling. It's not much considering I'll have this damage the rest of my life. I didn't hire a lawyer because I did my research and what I got is more than what I'd most likely get if I had hired a lawyer.

    I hope you called your surgeon, you didn't mention if he or she is doing another MRI but it would be in your best interest to do so. Also make sure you talk to a lawyer.

    Best of luck, I do hope things get better for you
    Barbie

     
    Old 09-13-2006, 07:14 PM   #7
    boxer_dog_luv
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    Re: Post ACDF and now car accident

    Hi Dennis, nice to see you again. Thanks for the replies. It helps to know others have been down the same path.

    Update: I went back to see my crotchety, cynical family M.D. whom I had not seen since 2004 before the car wreck. It was my followup. My attorney and everyone (this board) too think it prudent to get an MRI. I called my neurosurgeon before the appt. to tell them what had happened. I have not been seen since 2004 release by n/s. They asked if it was the neck or a new problem - when I said it was a new problem, they said they could not see me unless I was M.D. referred and brought with me an MRI study. I was quite vocal in my complaints to my M.D. Tues. p.m.--that I was having lower back pain continuous which I can reproduce by pushing on my right side. Suspiciously the band of pain from left shoulder to right hip area mimics where there would have been the driver's seat belt.

    I told my family doctor that I wanted to see my n/s again and was requested to get an MRI to clarify the condition of my spine. He said "He was not playing that game, who was the attorney to suggest such, and pooh, pooh me, patting me on the head, saying that it would take time and I would be fine." This M.D. admittedly is aging and probably could retire any old time now; you do not run into too many people in our community who like his attitude. He does not intend to be cooperative with any ins. issues and I am shocked and amazed--my past medical history shows that I have been in excellent health, rarely ever am ill, and at this point in time I need my M.D. to be diligent and careful. I am still young and at the top of my career which needs to last 20 more years God willing.

    I definitely know not to settle too soon--it could take the full two to three years to see how things progress. Now I realize I have a poor choice in family doctors. Is it too late to change? I still need to report this new info to my attorney and get his take on what next.

    My family doc patted me on the head and said that maybe I would feel better if I exercised and went back to the gym. I think that would be poor judgment on my part as I feel two specific new injuries and it really scared me to be doubled over with the sciatica type pain Tues. night. If I bounce around at the gym, knowing what I know now, I feel like I could be accused of injuring myself after the accident. Who knows? I think as a patient I do have a right to decide that this doctor is not providing adequate care and concern; we have an excellent Sports Medicine group that everyone has recommended that I see. My family M.D. when I reiterated that I felt much different after the accident than before and the activities that I took part in 5-6 days a week at the gym did schedule me for physical therapy this coming week.

     
    Old 09-13-2006, 09:28 PM   #8
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    Re: Post ACDF and now car accident

    Wow, I am so sorry that you got into a car accident, and just when things were going so well. That is my biggest fear after having my ACDF on C5/6. I can't imagine what you must be going through. Bless your heart. I really hope you will get some relief soon! Let us know how it's going.
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    Last edited by HBMod07; 09-14-2006 at 11:20 AM.

     
    Old 09-14-2006, 07:15 AM   #9
    dennisgb
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    Re: Post ACDF and now car accident

    Hmmm, Now What?

    I would try to figure out a way to get a second opinion. If your doc is part of a HMO, they must allow a second opinion if you request it.

    If not, you need to find another doc, or discuss with your doc that you have concerns for your health, not an insurance claim or lawsuit. It's not very prudent on his part to handle this in this way, because if there is something wrong...

    Dennis

     
    Old 09-14-2006, 07:54 AM   #10
    bdh7
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    Re: Post ACDF and now car accident

    Boxer, so sorry about your doc's response, too...I agree with Dennis, you should try to get a second opinion. You know how you feel, the doctor doesn't. One thing that might help in your situation...if you get a good physical therapist to do a very thorough evaluation, he/she might be able to pinpoint some problems and advise your doctor (or a second opinion doc) to get an MRI. My therapist knew what was wrong with my shoulder long before they ever went in to do surgery...the same was true with my neck, and she was very proactive in getting the docs to order scans, etc.

    I hope you get some relief soon!
    Donna

     
    Old 09-15-2006, 12:47 AM   #11
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    Re: Post ACDF and now car accident

    My heart and empathies go out to you as well.
    If you look back 2 years ago many many of us had accidents within the first few months of surgery. 99 percent of the cases were someone else's fault.
    I was doing ok post op till my accident as well at 3 month point, then things went down hill after the acident.

    One thing to add about the car thing i found my camry to be peferct for short driving ( and to this day i cannot do more then my 10 mile radius around house due to spams and other pain issues )

    But i am grateful for the camry i can get in and out of it easily. Please do not ignore your pain talk to your lawyer get a good pain doc and take care of yourself.

    Good luck on car hunt make sure you get something that fits you comfortably easy to get in and out of manuver and espeicaly one that has an adjustable head rest.

     
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