I’m no stranger to exam rooms and new doctors. When I was 17, I injured what I later found out to be my low back. It took a year and around 8 doctors to finally find someone who knew what the fuck they were doing and not just verbally “pat me on the head and tell me I’m imagining things.”
I’m still not 28 fucking years later.
At 17, I fell and slipped two lumbar discs out of whack. At 18, I found out what had gone wrong and was able to move forward. By 23 or so, those discs were back in place, although the nerve damage was still there and always would be.
About 5 years ago, I lost my footing on some painted stairs in a house and first landed on my tailbone, then shifted my weight so I could try stopping my descent with my feet and hands on the walls. The remaining hits were to my right hip.
Oh yeah, that’s the same side I landed on at 17.
I went to the doctor, they did a lone x-ray of my tailbone. Nothing wrong, so I went on my merry way. Except for that ugly pain in my hip. You shoulda seen the bruise. It was a sizable crescent moon on my right ass-cheek. It took weeks to go away. I’m good at making bruises. In fact, I have several on my arms that I don’t remember where they came from. PT told me to stretch the muscles as it “must be” a deep tissue bruise.
Fast forward to December 1st, 2017. I was at a client’s house (before you ask, as an independent contractor with TR, we do not have things like worker’s comp), stringing up lights and I slipped in some mud and down I went. The landing seemed soft, but my back doesn’t agree. Since then, my right SI (sacroiliac) joint has been popping. To the point where I can not only feel it, but hear it.
When I messed up the left one earlier this year, I never had that. My left one, by the way, corrected itself while I was at GearCon in July. One step and I felt a searing pain. I couldn’t move. I was helped back to my chair, and then moved to the couch in the room I was working. A couple days later, all pain on that side was gone.
I finally caved and saw a doctor in my usual clinic today. Not my normal GP. I thought (hoped) she would be open and would listen…
Not a fucking chance.
No matter how many times I told her I wasn’t looking for a quick way to fix this. I just wanted some fucking answers and to figure out what the hell was wrong. She responded each time with “There is no one who can give you an answer and a quick fix…”
THAT IS NOT WHAT I AM ASKING, YOU FUCKING DINGBAT!!!
All I want is a scan/x-ray/etc to look inside and see if there’s anything that stands out as damaged.
Why do I ask this? Because I know it can be done, dammit. I know there are humans out there who have graduated from medical school who can do shit that helps solve the mystery. Dr. Nolan down in CA was one of those humans. He’s freaking awesome. He’s also retiring and 600 miles away.
She relented on one thing and ordered x-rays for my low back and right hip.
She handed me my visit summary (complete with some exercises that may help, but I’m not counting on it. I’m still fairly flexible from my dancing days). I got on the elevator and stopped off at the 3rd floor for x-rays.
Here’s where shit gets interesting.
I’ve had enough x-rays in my lifetime to make anyone glow. I have never, in all my years, had a tech look at my first one (these are digital now) and tell me I really should see a spine doctor. For starters, the techs don’t have enough training to diagnose. Yet they see enough ‘films’ to know when shit is bad.
My first one, she came out from looking at it and said flat out I really do need to see a spine doctor. She said my right SI joint is bad… and there are likely other things.
I have to wait for the radiologist to do a final report/reading of the x-rays. I see my primary GP next week. I’m gonna bug the ever-loving shit out of her until she refers me to Ortho. The pain is getting worse. By the time I had picked up my mail after my errands today, I could barely walk five steps. I was in THAT much pain. Right around a 9 or 10 on the pain scale. At a point on the scale where I’m holding back tears from the pain.
When I get to that point, shit is bad. As in “most people would be curled up in a fetal position in the corner because of the pain” bad. But me? Still trying to function. Why? BECAUSE I FUCKING HAVE TO!!!
The doc brought up Degenerative Disc Disease. Something my dad likely also dealt with. I know he had surgery on his back several years ago. I know it was before 2009, as my mother was still driving… even though she shouldn’t have been. This doctor also had the cohones to bring up losing weight.
For one, I’m not at my highest. Secondly, I’m trying to lose weight. I have about 45-50 extra pounds I’d love to lose. But my eating habits are fairly healthy (not perfect, but not horrid), and exercise is minimal due to this thing called back pain. Walking for weight loss ain’t gonna happen when I can barely walk three fucking blocks. And unless you’re going to pay for my gym membership to a place fairly close to me (Planet Fitness is NOT close to me, for the record), then zip it about joining a gym.
Anyway… so I’m dealing with PTSD/C-PTSD and now likely Degenerative Disc Disease.
I’m beyond fucking done. I am tired of pain and panic attacks. I’m tired of doctors or other people telling me that losing weight will solve ALL my problems. Umm, y’all may not know this, but I was about 110 lbs when I first injured my back at 17… so no, it won’t solve a damn thing. Help a bit? Sure, possibly. But not solve.
I’ve dealt with way more than my share of idiot doctors. I’m sick of ’em. I can count the good ones on one hand with no repeats. Yeah.
I also am at this point where I hate saying I am well and truly disabled… I want to still take day hikes and be active, but my body and my anxiety won’t let me. It sucks.
So, I’ll meander off and try not to focus on the pain.