Brent Amacker's

Brent Amacker's
A Slightly Different Perspective

Thursday, December 13, 2012

"WHAT In The WORLD...?" (An Update on My Journey)

Well, here we are. It's mid-December, and I haven't been to work since the end of October due to back pain. I have been at home, but unable to get any real drawing or artwork done. This is BEYOND ridiculous.

 To catch you up, I injured my back at the beginning of summer in 2009. I missed a month of work back then, and have been dealing with recurring issues on-and-off ever since. Initially, I was treated by The Orthopedic Group, and informed that I had severely bulging discs-- a degenerative condition. The prognosis was that ruptured/bulging discs were pushing out, putting pressure on the nerves. This causes lower back pain that runs all the way down to the toes. (Imagine the sensation of your hip socket lined with abrasive sandpaper. Stabbing sensation in buttocks. The feeling of severe muscle pain and fatigue, even though you've done nothing...! The feeling of a 'stone bruise' in your heel.) They tried to treat me, but after a year I was sadly showing no improvement. Drugs, local epidurels & physical therapy weren't working.
My wife suggested a second opinion, so I went to Coastal Neurological Institute to see if they had another option. Dr. Tyler informed me that my condition hadn't improved, and that since this was degenerative, surgery wasn't an option 'at present'. He, in turn, referred me to Dr. Rainer at Bayside Orthopedic. Dr. Rainer is a physiologist who specializes in 'nerve pain'. The first thing HE did was change my medicine, which allowed me to sleep through the night for the first time in over a year.
 I was then scheduled for another 'area specific' epidurel to isolate the nerves affected by the bulging discs.
These tend to last a lot longer, and I'm usually fine for about six months unless I do anything. I mean literally 'do anything'. If I pick anything up, "Ouch!" If I twist the wrong way, "Ouch!"
 Sometimes it's instantaneous, sometimes gradual. This most recent go-round has me unable to sit, as it pains me greatly to bend my hip or sit on my buttocks for very long. I'm sure people were wondering why I always had a 'bad look' on my face. Believe me, it was unintentional. My boss at my day job had told me that if I was unable to shave, I was unable to come to work. (He has had a history with back pain issues, so he understands perfectly what I'm dealing with!)
I am currently kneeling as I type this, but can't do that for very long, either, as it is tough on the knees. I can't accept artwork commissions because I'm unable to sit or get comfortable. This is frustrating, since I'm home with all of this 'free time'. I'm either lying flat on the floor or reclining. (The first few weeks of endless college football coverage were cool, but that got old QUICK...!) Another joy is when clients who have already received their requested works are slow to pay. It's such a joy.
It also helps when the nurses or doctor's assistants don't write down instructions the doctor verbally issues or call in prescriptions in a timely manner. It evokes a 'special emotion' when paperwork isn't promptly sent in, so I don't even get a paycheck! (BTW, I PAY for my own disability insurance, so in addition this just makes me feel precious!)
MERRY CHRISTMAS! Happy Holidays, and please keep me in your prayers!


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