I've fallen and I can't get up!

Donna, USA

Posted 2003-08-03:

Hi everyone out there in chronic coccyx pain. I'm 45 years old and my name is Donna. On July 14, 2002, I gave my dog an ice cube. It melted on my kitchen floor. I slipped in the puddle and I fell HARD! It was just like a cartoon . . . legs flying up in the air, and down I went on my tailbone. I layed there for quite some time, unable to move, crying like no get out. My 17 year old daughter came down on the floor to comfort me, feeling completely helpless as I know I was.

The next morning, I tearfully called off work, then called my doctor, who, having not seen me in a long time told me I had to come into his office before he would send me in for an x-ray. My daughter had to dress me, because I couldn't bend at all. My sister picked me up in her van and had me lay down in the back on the floor. God, that was one long, painful trip. It took forever to get in and out of her van, and then to walk into the doctor's office. I couldn't sit at all, and moving was excruciating to put it mildly. He examined me while I stood there in his office, prescribed darvocet and sent me for an x-ray. The x-ray showed nothing abnormal. I missed a whole week of work and did absolutely nothing but lay around and cry.

Going back to work was the most difficult ordeal I've ever experienced. I manage two apartment complexes which requires the ability to manuever the sites on foot, climb stairs, etc. I've struggled all this time, while progressively hurting every waking moment. I can't sit, stand, walk, lift, push, or pull. All my muscle tone is gone. I've been steadily losing weight, as I have no appetite now. In one of my offices, I took a body pillow, put all my equipment on the floor, layed on the floor on my side with pillows between my knees, and tried to conduct business like that. Some of my tenants have come into that office and cried, and so did I. After work, all I do is rush home to lay on the couch.

Six months after my injury, I was feeling extremely depressed with the chronic pain. I called my doctor again, went to see him, and he scheduled an MRI and a visit to an orthopedic surgeon. The MRI showed one herniated disc and two bulging discs, but nothing with the coccyx. I was set up for 3 epidural sessions (injections in the spine), but they made me sick, so I only did 2. Next step was the orthopedic surgeon who gave me a shot of cortizone in the tailbone and told me he'd see me in a month. That did me no good at all. When I returned to see him, he wanted to give me another, but I refused. He referred me to a pain management doctor who said take my injection or I can't help you. I took the injection, and of course it didn't help and I didn't go back there. I then tried physical therapy, and that increased the pain.

I go back to my primary care physician, and he orders a bone scan and a second opinion with a new orthopedic surgeon, plus prescriptions of vicadin, flexil, and celebrex and duragesic patches.

This surgeon examines me, and is very aware of how immobile I've become. He orders a CAT scan. Shortly after, I see a third orthopedic surgeon who shows great compassion and has a shining reputation in the country. His name is Robert Piston, and he's wonderful. He checked my CAT scan, and tells me the coccyx was fractured when I fell and has healed incorrectly, poking my organs. I am now waiting for a call from a neurosurgeon to remove the coccyx. I can't tell you how much I want this thing out of my body ASAP. I'll keep you posted. Lots of luck to all of us that need to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Update, 2003-09-07:

On July 30, 2003, I went to a neurosurgeon 45 minutes from home. He agreed to remove the coccyx and scheduled it for August 5th. I was delighted! I fasted for 12 hours and arrived at the hospital in Youngstown, Ohio at 5:00am for the procedure. I was prepped, IV in my hand, ready to go for it. Fifteen minutes before the scheduled surgery, the surgeon came in and said he and his partner had discussed my situation the night before, and decided it was too hasty on their part to perform the surgery. I was MAD as could be!!!! He said that while I was there, they could do a nerve block instead. I went ahead with the block, and now have even worse pain then before. I can't sit at all now. He really used me, and messed me up physically. As it turned out, he knew the night before that my insurance claim was denied because he's outside my network. That was so unethical of him to keep that information from me.

I'm scheduled to see a 5th surgeon on September 5th at the University of Pittsburgh. I'm going by ambulance since I can't sit for the one and a half hour trip to his office.

Pray for me, please.

Update, 2020-10-25:

Donna's daughter writes: "I found my mother's story on coccyx.org when I had coccyx pain myself. My mother did have the coccygectomy mentioned above, but it was botched. Apparently the surgeon said he was going to do a full coccygectomy but only did a partial one that left a jagged bone that still was poking. It left her in the same agony, but after that no surgeon would touch her, they were too afraid of the risk.

She was disabled for 15 years. She remained on chronic pain medication (highest dose fentanyl patches) for the rest of her life which did help her at least maintain a home. She spent her life laying on her side watching tv, not able to travel or do anything. She died in 2018 of cancer."

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