Ed note: The woman who shared this story asked that it be shared anonymously.
When I was in my 20s I was involved in a car accident and thrown out the windshield approximately 25 ft. Cars had no seat belts in those days. I was knocked out, and taken to the hospital. Xrays were done, which showed a possible small skull fracture but no other injuries. My neck was very sore. They wanted to admit me, but I left against medical advice.There was no such thing as scans or MRIs in those days.
I began having pain in my neck, could not straighten my head, had pain, numbness, tingling in my all of my extremities. Eventually I began to have incontinence, and was tripping and stumbling. I went to a series of doctors over a period of almost 20 years. Most would not even examine me. One told me he didn't even believe I had been in a car accident. One gave me a bottle of Prozac and a bible. One told me I had a simple case of "the it is". Eventually I was so humiliated and embarrassed that I stopped complaining.
Finally I became unable to walk, and was given an MRI. It turned out that I had long standing spinal cord compression and torn ligaments with two huge herniated discs. After surgery I was left with permanent spinal damage. They had to remove a half of a vertebra to release my cord, insert bone grafts and a plate with 4 screws. I have now been in pain for 40 years. I want to add that this was not a disability case nor did I ever seek pain medication. I was just grateful, because the doc told me I would have progressed to quadriplegia. Now it is happening again-I have excruciating pain in both arms and can only lift them 6 to 8 inches away from my body. I had to fight to get an MRI, which still has not been done 3 weeks later, and no pain relief is being provided. I have been accused of malingering in spite of my history, no neuro exam has been provided. Obviously I can still use my hands,but they are becoming weak now.
I am afraid and humiliated, and feel like I cannot go to an ER because I might be accused of drug seeking, something I have never done. I am thinking of getting a male blow-up doll to take to appointments with me. I believe this is all due to the fact that I am a woman and a nurse for 40 years, so I must be faking. Being a female nurse is an onerous combination.