How I Communicated with Doctors Post-Wreck
The purpose of this document is to provide as much information as possible for whoever necessary in hopes of making this whole process happen smoothly and quickly.
On Sunday, November 3, 2019, I went to the E.R. to find out what’s causing my back to be numb and what damage had been done to my knees from the wreck that occurred on August 15, 2019 that’s causing them to weaken and continue to hurt. Both of these issues have been getting worse rapidly and my goal is to avoid any permanent damage if at all possible, since, like most human beings, my knees and back are two (technically three) parts of me that I use quite often and they’re not exactly replaceable.
Anyway, I wrote a single page document with 4 photos of my vehicle in an attempt to be able to thoroughly give the doctor the information necessary to do what needs to be done or, at least, to help him with having an idea about what it is and what can be done to remedy the situation. Unfortunately, I forgot to mention, both in the document and verbally, the significant symptom of being unable to arch my back. I emphasized on the loss of feeling, but I absent-mindedly assumed that my inability to arch my back would be assumed by the doctor. As a result, the doctor referred me to a neurologist thinking the decreased sensory could be autoimmune (i.e. multiple sclerosis). I didn’t realize why he came to that conclusion until I recapped on the visit on the way home. He came to that conclusion because I accidentally skipped informing him of the significant fact that it’s occurring simultaneously with my inability to arch my back/bend my back and as I become less capable of arching my back, I become less capable of feeling.
The doctor did confirm the sensory in my back has decreased, but it’s still minor. He used a sharp object and a wide object and poked several sections of my back with each side without me being able to see my back. Each time, he asked me if it was the sharp object or the dull object. At the top half of my shoulder blades and above, I was able to tell which object he used each time. When he poked the lower half of my shoulder blades and below, the lower he poked, the less I was able to give a confident answer. I had to ask him to repeat it in certain areas because I was unsure which it was. It felt the same. Eventually, I thought it was the sharp object each time, which was the point when he confirmed that there was a minor decrease in sensory.
He didn’t think it was whiplash because of it being neurological. However, if I hadn’t forgotten that my back being unable to arch like it could before the wreck on August 15, 2019, he may have had a different idea about what it could be. I also don’t believe it’s whiplash. I do believe the whiplash caused it; however, I’m more suspicious of a slipped disk. I’ve been told that the vertebrae above my tailbone (which is the spot that hurts or refuses to move when I attempt to arch my back) “clicks” when I bend forward or when it’s massaged lightly, but I don’t feel any rubbing or movement of the vertebrae at all. I’ve asked two people who aren’t medical professionals what it feels like and if they think it feels normal and both said it “clicks” and sounds painful. However, they aren’t medical professionals, so I’m not taking that information too seriously. I am only considering it with the rest of what I am aware of as a potential fact until confirmed by a medical professional.
The environment/circumstances of the hospital may have also played a small role in the doctor’s conclusion. Honestly, the staff of the hospital and the doctor were all fantastic. However, the doctor seemed to have had a lot to deal with at that time. I can honestly say that he was genuinely trying to make everyone happy but was becoming silently stressed. He seemed to be the only doctor on staff at that time and had to suture one patient, get a child to his parents to go to another place with pediatricians and it seemed like the kid was in bad shape and like it was an emergency, the doctor had an intern to teach that had to follow him around, the doctor was on crutches but could walk without them despite it looking painful, and at one point, he left his crutches behind in the room I was in to get to another patient he had to get to quicker. He did his best at prioritizing and was as thorough as one could reasonably expect in those circumstances; however, they were circumstances that could easily cause anyone to miss a few questions they would normally ask or even a few ideas they would have thought of otherwise. He was a respectable doctor, but between the circumstances he was under and the detail I failed to bring to his attention, I am very sure the conclusion would have been much more accurate had those not been the case.
I assume that the decreased sensory in my back played a role in the amount of time it took for me to realize the damage (it was about 3-4 weeks ago that I realized there was something wrong with my back) as well as in the rapidly increasing weakness of my knees. I naturally have an abnormally high pain tolerance. I watched The Nanny while I was in labor with my daughter and never hurt enough to scream or make any noise while giving birth to her. I think that also played a role in why my knees have not healed, but it took some time for it to cause me to question whether they were okay or not. For a while following the wreck, I noticed that the underside of my right kneecap was still tender with pressure, but around the time I noticed my back was numb, I was noticing that both of my knees want to buckle under pressure, especially walking up or down stairs. Also, my knees “pop” or “crack” with movement, sometimes a couple of times daily when I’m walking.
I assumed that the back pain I had been experiencing after the wreck was from not resting enough for the muscles to heal and potentially sleeping wrong somehow. Before the wreck, I didn’t wake up sore nearly as often and my upper back muscles weren’t sore. My lower back occasionally hurt from knots, but that was it. After the wreck, my upper back muscles are constantly sore, and I don’t feel the pressure in my lower back anymore.
I’ve recently been experiencing occasional sharp stabbing throbs in my lower back where it’s stiff and near the vertebrae if not on the vertebrae. When I feel it, it feels like it’s potentially been happening more than I’ve noticed because it feels like pain does after it’s irritated one spot for a while (specifically, tight, stiff, and tender). I’m currently experiencing more discomfort/pain in my lower vertebrae than I’ve ever felt and, in a spot, that I’ve never felt pain or discomfort. It’s not muscle-pain or skin-pain, but it feels like it may be in the bone area, whereas the pain in my upper back I’ve experienced since the wreck feels like muscle-pain and that’s the area in my back that still has a lot of feeling in comparison. I’m quite in tune with my body and can usually tell the difference between feelings on the skin, in the muscle or on/in the bone. I imagine most people can. I suspect the lack of feeling in my lower back potentially made me unaware of my upper back compensating for the damage in my lower back, which would make sense if it turned out to be the reason my upper back is as sore as it is.
Naturally, I’m an exceptionally healthy person. My vitals have always been nearly “perfect” even when ill. I don’t often get sick. I haven’t had even the common cold in almost two years now. I’ve never broken or fractured a bone or seriously sprained anything. I’ve had minor “sprains” and “torn” muscles, but only mildly, no matter what activity I did or mistake I made. My pregnancy was smooth, and my body recovered from pregnancy as if it had never happened, both internally and externally. I don’t have a weak bladder or stretched skin and my menstrual cycle is the same as it was prior and like clockwork (I understand that is a bit personal, but it is a big indicator of my overall health and resiliency and I only bring attention to my overall health and resiliency to explain that I am not easily hurt, I don’t get sick easily, and I wasn’t damaged before the wreck. I usually am physically capable of most things anyone my size and build can do. My daughter is 5 years old and weighs around 45 lbs. Before the wreck, picking her up and holding her wasn’t difficult, really. My arms were always the first thing to get tired and my back muscles might have gotten irritated for a moment, but quickly calmed down once I sat down for a minute when they did. Now, only almost 3 months later, if I pick her up to tuck her in if she falls asleep somewhere uncomfortable it feels like I’ll soon need to drag her there in a wagon or something just to keep my lower spine from crumbling or at least to keep it from feeling like that’s happening. I avoid picking her up as much as I’m able to, so I don’t make matters worse. The only time I pick her up is when she falls asleep on the cold floor or in an uncomfortable spot because my grandma is the only other person here and she has broken her hip, has neuropathy and has “Frozen Shoulder” (I don’t know how to spell the actual name of the shoulder problem she experiences).
To conclude, I’m following the doctor’s idea to follow up with a Neurologist because despite my belief that his conclusion is incorrect, I feel that even if it’s incorrect, a Neurologist may still be the correct person to consult with and, if they can’t, they will likely be able to point me in the right direction toward a solution to assist in my goal of preventing permanent damage and catching any potential issues early rather than late.