Sometimes it all comes back to haunt you; or, getting on my last nerve


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.

One of the last pics taken of me pre the accident. Note the Add-a-Beads and the absence of facial scars.


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.”>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.

About fedoralady

I'm an LA native--Lower Alabama, that is. My husband of more than 30 years and I live here on a portion of my family's former farm with two gorgeous calicos and a handsome GSD mix. My background is art education, and over the years I've been a teacher, department store photographer, sales associate and a journalist. My husband, his business partner and I have Pecan Ridge Productions, a video production company, for which I shoot & edit video and stills and manage marketing. I also still write part-time for the local paper. I love movies, music, art, photography and books, and my tastes in all of them are eclectic.

18 responses »

  1. Wow, it’s always something, isn’t it? I just had a horrendous bout of tendonitis in my left foot that went on for days, and I hope to never have it again. Is there anything they can do for this thing? I’m not familiar with the condition.

    • I also had tendonitis and tennis elbow (actually videographer/photographer elbow in my case) but the PT pretty much cleared up those conditions—but this nerve damage, eh, not so responsive to therapy. Pirofsky mentioned the possibility of me having injections in my shoulder and wrist depending on what the results of the tests are—and there is surgery to release the compressed nerve if other treatments don’t work. Sorry about the foot—I know that wasn’t any fun! :-/ Right now I feel like an old house or car—I have character and a certain charm, but boy, is there a lot of upkeep!

      • Believe me, I know the feeling well–I had just started getting over some serious muscle spasms in my shoulder and thinking that maybe my body wasn’t trying to attack me after all when the foot thing started out of the blue. And this I couldn’t even blame on the dog!.

        • I’ve had some other things going gastrointestinal-wise that I haven’t even gone into with anyone but Benny because, well, it isn’t pleasant to discuss. :-/ I *think* that is starting to sort itself out with some new supplements I am taking. Honestly, it is *always* something!!

  2. Wow, that’s quite a catalogue of injuries. Not much I can do to help but I’m sending sympathy. Hope they can do something about the cervical radiculopathy. By the way, what a beautiful photo from your college days!

    • Thanks, dear. Kind thoughts and positive vibes are always appreciated. Going to hope for the best. Re the photo, I think I was playing with the self-timer on my Nikon SLR one weekend while I was at our on-campus apartment alone, and the pic was one of the results. I have always liked it.

    • Thanks, Cill. Honestly, I am not expecting miracles, but just to know there is the *possibility* of getting more permanent relief to some of the more debilitating pain not principally caused by the FMS is encouraging. If I actually woke up completely pain-free, I would assume either I was actually still dreaming or I was dead.

  3. I am praying for you. In the relatively short time I have been enjoying your blog you have had more than your fair share of challenges. If it is any consolation, the fact that you never give up in the face of adversity is very inspiring.

  4. Think of a Richard picture or a few in your mind when you have your test done on Wednesday. A couple years ago I had to have a nerve test done on my left leg when PT didn’t help ( 5 months in a boots after I broke my ankle and worked all but the first two weeks with a job where I am on my feet all day). No damage just took a long time to get better and I still have the odd bad day. Well I keep one of the pictures in the pink shirt and navy suit in my mind the whole time and it really helped me get though the test. Be thinking of you.

    • Thanks, Katie, that’s a good suggestion. I think I will imagine him telling me, “Brave girl, brave girl” in Portah’s gentle murmur. I really am accustomed to pain, but I also know tests like these tend to aggravate the FMS (oh, heck, everything lately aggravates it!) I will survive!

  5. praying for you and for the Drs to heal you ,( my sisters daughter was in car crash , had back and neck injuries and had nerve damage and has responded well to yearly injections to burn the nerve endings in neck ),Please never give up ,…we love you…

    • Thank you, Jane, trying to catch up on responding to comments. I had an MRI done Friday and should find out results next Wed. I am so ready to get some answers and some sort of treatment that will work. I think once you suffer a traumatic injury, even when you superficially heal, often you still deal with pain and problems down the road, sometimes many years later. The blow to my knee led to a year of PT with surgery in the middle—almost 14 years later after it slowly and steadily degenerated. I have more problems with my back since the last accident and that was three years ago in November. It may well be damage to the spine from this latest wreck is affecting other parts of my body.

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