Back in my college days, I decided to commute one summer session and just live at home (only 37 miles from campus) to save some money. Heading back to the farmhouse one day after classes I got caught in one of those sudden, heavy monsoon-like downpours we tend to get in the summer.
The next thing I knew, I was gradually coming to in the Buick, blood pouring down my face onto my pledge shirt, the windshield shattered, steam mixing with the slowing rain as it drummed against the crumpled hood.
I don’t remember the accident itself (the huge goose egg on my forehead indicated I’d taken a hard lick against the steering wheel. Apparently it joggled my brain enough to block out the crash). The vehicle was now sitting crossways on the bridge, the front end crushed against the buttress. I thought someone might round that bend in the road and smack right into me, and had the presence of mind to stumble my way out of the vehicle.
God bless the good Samaritan who found me slowly limping down the side of the road, looking like something from a John Carpenter movie, and the proprietress of the nearest country store, who took me in, cleaned my face of all that blood and gave me a blouse to wear before her husband drove me to the farm,”’cause your mama would have a pure and tee heart attack if she saw you like this, honey.”
My parents’ car was, as it turned out, totaled; my poor dad crawled around and tried to find all my Add-a-Bead cloisonné and gold beads from my broken necklace.
Eventually my gold chain was soldered and reassembled with the remaining intact beads; the raw red scars on my forehead slowly faded and my knee, which had taken out the under-dash tape player and sent it into the back seat, stopped aching so much (alas, we didn’t realize just how much damage my kneecap had sustained until more than a decade later). I recovered, but I was never quite the same.
For years, I’ve endured debilitating headaches that affected my neck and left shoulder along with TMJ issues in my jaw. They go back to my early 20s, years before my FMS diagnosis. I thought the sinus surgery in ’84 might cure them; it certainly helped in other ways, but the head/neck/shoulder pain continued intermittently. I tried hot and cold therapy, PT exercises, pain pills, muscle relaxers, therapeutic massage, chiropractic treatments, trigger point injections–some were more effective than others in giving me a degree of relief, but nothing “fixed” me.
Then three years ago this November I unexpectedly went off-roading on the Crown Victoria and apparently cracked my tailbone. I say “apparently” because I was unemployed, uninsured and simply could not afford to go to the doctor. I suffered–and not in silence–for months afterward. It’s never been the same either.
And now there’s the new trouble in my left wrist and hand.
It appears I have cervical radiculopathy . . .
cervical radiculopathy: disease of the cervical nerve roots, often manifesting as neck or shoulder pain.
Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, 8th edition. © 2009, Elsevier
cervical radiculopathy:Irritation of nerve roots of the neck due to a herniation or prolapse of a intervertebral disk from its normal position, which impinge on nearby nerves resulting in pain and neurologic Sx. medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/cervical+disk+syndrome”>Cervical disk syndrome, Prolapsed disk
Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. I go to see a neurologist to have a Nerve Conductivity Velocity test (to determine how quickly electrical impulses move down a peripheral pathway) and a needle electromyography (to test the health of the muscles and nerves that control the muscles) done on my neck and left arm, returning to Pirofsky for the results on Friday. From there–well, we shall see. Possibly injections, possibly surgery.
Here’s hoping for answers and not too much pain and discomfort from the tests on Wednesday.
But most of all, I hope for answers. I will keep you posted.