Fell off Water Slide.....OUCH!!!!!!

Michelle - joakley@carolina.rr.com

Original posting, 2003-05-11:

Father's Day weekend 2002 I fell off a water slide, more like slid off a slide very ungraceful like and landed directly on my tailbone. The drop from the end of the slide to the pool of water was about 6-7 feet. It looked easy enough but when I landed it felt like I hit concrete. Ever since, my tailbone has hurt!!!! X-ray, CT scan, MRI, Nuclear bone scan all negative. I also had a study done to test the nerves in my left leg because of numbness that has come back in my left foot. Chiropractic didn't help. . . . . they thought I was nuts. My internal med doctor who is kind enough to listen and order tests gave me some pills, ultracet, and said . . nothing I can do for ya. More or less: no one has died from a painful coccyx (yet).

Nothing has helped. Rest. Advil. Left over Demerol from my c-section 2001. Ice. Heat. HELP!!

I have committed to myself to a healthy lifestyle this year. I turned 38 this past February. I have lost 40 pound, 20 inches and am half way to my goal.

Not to sound corny, but as I lose weight, my butt is getting skinnier and my coccyx is losing any padding it did have. It has NOT helped in the pain. I am able to do water aerobics and light weight lifting. I cannot do many of the weight machines. . . you have to sit. Walking distances hurts. Bike riding. . . NO WAY!!! I would love to ride. This is a goal I have, to ride again.

Okay. . . blah, blah . . . . . After trying chiropractic, steroid injection, rest, drugs, time, I am scheduled for surgery June 30 2003!! Dr. Dickerson here in Charlotte NC. I am depressed I must wait so long till June (my choice) due to family issues, etc. but I am excited that there is a light at the end of this tunnel. I truly empathize with everyone here on the site!! Good luck to everyone. . . .

Update, 2003-07-06:

On June 30th I had a coccygectomy done by Dr. Dickerson here in North Carolina. he found that my coccyx was "hanging on by a thread". it was capable of floating in all directions, especially up and back, he said. NO WONDER I HAVE BEEN IN PAIN FOR A YEAR!!!!!!!!  All my tests, MRI, CT scan, nuclear bone scan, x-ray were all NEGATIVE. All my previous doctors said that I had to live with the pain, cause nothing was wrong with me. My surgeon was the only one who believed that I hurt and was willing to do something to help me. Mind you I did fall 7 feet one year ago into a pool of water, instantly being in pain........ go figure that my coccyx has been poking me literally all that time.

Well, I am 3 days post coccygectomy and doing great. My surgery was June 30th at 7 AM and lasted about 30 minutes. Uneventful, no blood loss. I did get sick as a dog from the pain medication given to me in the recovery room. It was dilaudid given intravenously. Oh, I puked for 12 hours! None of the nausea medications helped......aarrgghhhhhh!!!!!! I more or less had to wait for it to wear off. 12 LONG hours. I went home at 4 PM, quit vomiting at 8 PM.

Anyhow, my incision is about 2 1/2 inches long, in the crack of my behind. I am able to easily walk around the house and do steps. The pain I had before the surgery is gone. Only the incision hurts now. My hips and ribs are sore from lying in bed because sitting is hard!!!!! Forget sitting on a soft surface. I am better off on a hard chair. I am taking percocet every 4 hours. I was on no pain medications before surgery.

I am allowed to shower come Saturday, can't wait. I am not allowed to lift for 3 weeks (minimum). This is hard since I have a toddler running wild. My two older kids are helping.

Well, can't think of anything else. I am afraid to say this is going much easier than I ever thought possible. Keep your fingers crossed.

I have an appointment next week to get stitches out. I will post after that....ouchie!!!

Update 2003-07-13:

I finally showered!! yahooooo I am now allowed to have the dressing off my hiney. I thought the stitches might rub on my underwear but they are fine. I don't mean to get graphic but the stitches are prickly. I go Wed to get them out (hopefully).

I fatigue easily. I am taking percocet 1 tablet every 4 hours. I have to tell myself to slow down. I think I tire for one cause I either stand or lay down. Sitting pulls on the stitches. Still I am able to sit in a hard wooden chair sorta leaning forward and I have no stabbing pain like before. To go to standing is fine as long as I don't spread my legs to far, which pulls on the incision.

I am really surprised my surgical site is not very bruised. My IV site on my arm looks much worse than my butt!! lol !!

Dr Dickerson gives an average of 3 months before you feel well into recovery. Some people feel great 3 weeks post op while others it takes a year. I am of course hoping for the 3 month-ish range.

I need ideas on how not to let the messy house get to me...... I do not want my older kids (13 and 10 1/2) to spend their summer cleaning. My toddler age 20 months is running wild like before.

Lets see, today is day 13 post coccygectomy. I have taken no pain medication, although today I might take a couple Advil, for 3 days. I had said that stabbing ripping pain upon sitting and going to stand was gone.......well....IT STILL IS !!!!! I guess I am still in shock that I had this bone literally stabbing me.

I can sit in a hard chair for meals or to sit with the kids. Soft chairs, including car seats are uncomfortable. They push up into the incisional area. My incision feels thick, like there is pressure there. No stabbing. I know I keep saying that but those of you who all have this KNOW what I mean!!

Had my stitches out day #10. It did NOT hurt. My stitches were the old fashion nylon gut kind. Incision is completely unnoticeable. If I touch it with my fingers, it feels sorta numb. This is all normal healing.

Day 11 was a big day. Okay, I have not seen this topic brought up but what the heck. My husband and I had sex. Yes, it was MY idea. My husband said jokingly pre-op that he won't approach me for 2 months. I wasn't able to lay flat on my back so a bedpillow propped a little to keep the bum from pushing on the bed was fine. Other positions were fine. I won't get specific. Ladies, I do not know if I am the normal ( I hope I am) but I was scared that my butt incision would hurt (referred pain) into the perineal (vaginal) area. IT DID NOT. I was reassured by my surgeon that coccygectomies do not effect sexual function, bladder or bowels. I thought I might have been sore the next day after "IT" but I wasn't.

Since I have had my stitches out, I have made a few short... like 10 minutes... car trips. I actually went to the grocery store, was there 35 minutes, had them load my car, came home, had my kids unload. I was TIRED after that one.

I continue NOT to lift. No lifting more than 10 pounds for 3 weeks post-op. My toddler is 30 pounds so this is fun. Luckily my older kids are wonderful helpers. No tub bathing or swimming pools till 3 weeks post-op also. I am allowed to return to water aerobics then (gently) but I am not allowed to return to weight lifting till 8 weeks post-op (this kind of lifting is with weight machines and barbells). Oh yea, no horseback riding or motorcycle riding for ? weeks. I didn't catch what he said cause I don't do either of those. The thought of straddling a horse.......ouch.

Well, that is my life in a nutshell. I hope this is helpful to some. I am THRILLED with my recovery. My goals are to continue to slowly heal over the next 3-6 months. ( I know it may take a year). I would love to be riding my bike (and taking spinning classes at the club) by Spring. I want to try power yoga but I have never been able to sit........ maybe in the near future!

Take care all. Please feel free to email me with questions or whatnot.

Update, 2003-08-03:

Hi everyone,

I continue to heal every day. The butt pain I feel is post op pain in my coccyx area, totally different than pre-op stabbing pain. This is felt only when I sit on a soft seat like a couch or car seat. They tend to push up on the bum cheeks, putting pressure on the surgical site. Does that make sense?

My incision has a small hole, the size of a pencil eraser head (maybe smaller). Not deep. I went to the doctor immediately and he feels I may have just popped open a stitch or maybe an infection was starting. Anyhow, I took antibiotics for 5 days. I never had any redness or drainage or excessive tenderness or fever. It looks to be healing from the inside out, which is what it needs to do.

Activity is slow. Yesterday I started my exercise routine. Mild stretching, sit-ups on my palates ball, a few lower back strengthening exercises and 3# weight dumbbell arm exercises. I feel very weak and stiff in general. I went into this surgery pretty well "fit". I do not know how much harder it would be on someone who did not exercise prop or have a semi healthy life style. I admit, I have eaten every bite of food my friends have brought to my family.....most importantly, the desserts. I have to get back on the healthy eating plan....no more blueberry cobbler.

Overall I think I am doing very well. I do not think I could do a sit down job due to my butt being sore. I am a stay at home mom and work in a cardiologist office as needed. I am an RN. I am not sure how long "recovery" is before you can sit at a desk all day. I must say to have the ability to get up and down when I want and as much as I want is a life saver.

Nothing really exciting to say. I think that is exciting in itself...... a boring post op update. As they say, "No news is good news."

Take care all. To those who are playing with the idea of surgery. I know you read about BAD cases. There are GOOD ones too. Everyone is unique and must decide for themselves what will be best. I thank God that my pain is gone. I pray that I continue to heal well. All in time.

Update, 2003-08-31:

I am 8 weeks post coccygectomy and doing great. When this is posted I should be 9 weeks.

I saw my surgeon for my final visit this past week. He is very happy with my progress and expects me to recover 100%. Again...... recovery can take up to a year but he (and me) expect recovery to be in the 3-4 month range. He reassured me that when immediate relief is felt after surgery that recovery is quicker. Literally it was like removing the knife that was stabbing/ripping me with sitting and standing. I wonder about the scar tissue in there. When I am tired by the end of the day my old coccyx area feels bruised, achey, sore. When I am "overdoing it" since I am now at my regular fast forward speed with 3 kids, house, hubby, part-time job..... I again feel achey and sore in my butt. This scar tissue will take time to settle down.

I say I am 80% recovered. Dr. Dickerson said the last 20% will be slower. I am able to carry out my daily life like a normal person again. Today I even went to our local Amusement Park for 6 hours (in 86 degree heat).

I was able to sit when I wanted...where I wanted...without thinking once....."oh my gosh, this is gonna kill." Better yet, the ride there and back was fine. I have found cars to be the most uncomfortable. Being the driver is the hardest because you can't scootch around as much to shift your butt.

While talking with my surgeon I asked about why aren't more doctors "up" on this surgery? My internal med doctor thought I was practising voodoo witchcraft when I told him I was getting my tailbone removed. My surgeon laughed and said...."don't you know I am the crazy doctor doing crazy surgery on crazy people" he then added "until it is them with the pain." OH SO TRUE.

Well, I guess that is it. 8 weeks out feeling fine. I rejoin the gym Sept 1st as this is when I am allowed to restart my weight lifting, etc.

I read new postings and really feel for these people. Like when you been there, done that and never want to go back.

I guess I won't be posting again or at least not for a while. Thanks again Jon for a great site. If anyone wants to email me, feel free. Sometimes having someone to bounce off of who has been there helps.

P.S. I have given up all Amusement Park rides (except the Merry-go-round and all water park rides (except the lazy river) REMEMBER....a waterslide is what started this whole mess. I will have to rely on my older kids to take the toddler on the "big rides" when she is older...

hahahahahahahaha. My hubby hates most rides so he's no help.....lol !!!!

Update, 2003-09-21:

How long does your "ex-coccyx site" feel thick, achey, sore? I know it hasn't even been quite three months, recovery can take a year. I still feel 80 % better.

I am doing water aerobics and/or Yoga 4 times a week. The water aerobics is much less stressful that the Yoga. I thought Yoga was a bunch of sitting with chanting.....WRONG!!!! It is called Yo-fit-ga and it is tough. Fortunately I am flexible to begin with but my strength is poor, especially in my hips, low back and thighs, due to poor sitting/pain prior to my surgery for a year. It is really helping. One exercise/stretch I can not do it to sit on the floor while you tuck your legs up to your chest and curl your arms around them. Like you are curled up in a ball. Then you slowly let yourself roll back, onto your coccyx then low back, then entire back. The hard wooden floor is just a bit much yet. This exercise takes strength to not let your body roll too fast. I skip it altogether.

Is it also normal to have one inner butt cheek ache one day and the other another day? I assume this is all part of healing and getting into shape again. My incision is doing great. What a place to have a scar. lol !!!! I guess I want to be 100% all the time already. I am not taking any medicine, not even an advil, no need to.

Update, 2003-11-23:

I am 5 months post op now and continue to do great. I must say that this surgery was a life saver. For me, it was the answer to my pain, stopping it the minute the bone was removed. I am fortunate to have a wonderful surgeon, and simply a coccyx that was injured (no low back/hip/disc problems)

My incision is getting better. At times it feels "thick" and "numb". A mighty weird place to have that sensation... lol !!! Sitting is NO problem. To stand up is easy. Car seats still at times are uncomfortable. I keep my old trusty butt donut in the car. It is not "coccyx pain" I feel but "incisional aches/numbness", when I have to sit strapped in a car for longer than 1 1/2 hours or so. Before the surgery, just to try to sit for 1 minute in a car KILLED!!! Even on a "bad day" which is nothing, there is no need for advil or tylenol.

I have not tried bike riding yet...... I am sorta scared. Maybe this Spring. I have found some yoga moves where you are positioned on your "tailbone" I can not do yet. It aches plus my gut muscles are weak. Sit ups, here I come.

Enough of my boring story..... I never meant to be the longest story on Jon's site.

Good luck to everyone.

Update, 2004-05-23:

Hello everyone,

It has now been 11 months since my surgery. It has been 6 months since my last post. The last 6 months have been uneventful. My scar was settled down 80% of the time. It still feels "thick... numb like" at times. Sitting for long periods most definitely can "flare" it up. A "flare" up consists of following sitting for long periods like a 5 hour car trip or sitting on a metal horrible chair (at my daughter's sports banquet) for 2 1/2 hours. The lowest part of my scar which is where the tip of coccyx would have been aches/burns. It is not bad pain. I have taken advil for it.

Recently, about a month ago, I went to Dr Dickerson because I was having a mild constant pain just to the right side or my scar. I was scared because I got myself worked up thinking it was going to progress. We all know that "PAIN." He was not concerned at all and said it is common for this to happen. It may be scar tissue, it may be simply an inflamed area from daily wear and tear. He poked around my scar and found the most sore area and injected it with steroids. The shot was quick and easy but burned when he was done. The burning went away in 2 minutes. The injection really helped. In about 5-7 days after, the mild pain was less and now I only notice it now and again. I asked if it was something I did....no. I asked if it was from my 30 pound weight gain since late summer...no. I thought the excess weight puts more pressure on your butt..right?? I asked if it was from the depression I have been in ( my mother had been very ill and died New Years Day)..he said no. Mind you, from previous doctors I felt this "pain" was in my head so I thought maybe being depressed was making me "feel" more pain. I do feel my poor sleep and down mood does play a role in feeling "pain." Does this make sense? Maybe we can start a "How not to eat and gain weight while clinically depressed" support group. Okay, I am kidding on that but unfortunately all this pain, whether emotional or physical can beat ya up... Enough already.....

Lessons I have learned..... I will be sore if I sit on a terribly uncomfortable chair for a long period of time (over an hour). Like a stool (yes I did this..dumb), folding chairs like at the kids banquets, or in the car (but longer). I must listen to my "butt"..hahaha... if it tells me to get up, then I get up. No more forcing myself to "sit through" things. It is not worth chancing pain.

My scar has healed well, unnoticeable. I have not tried biking. There is no activity that I have done that has hurt. I mentioned before that this surgery did not harm the old sex life..... that is still true. No problem. Hmmmmmmmm..I think I covered everything.

Please feel free to email me if you have questions. Take care all and hang in there.

Michelle (by the way, I will not ride waterslides still.....most likely never will again since this is what started this mess :-) )

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