Patricia, 62, simply went to throw a tissue away and felt a pain so sharp she fell to her knees. She could not walk for two weeks. She had a herniated disc and numerous surgeries since. She also has severe osteoarthritis in her spine and rheumatoid arthritis
Hi, I’m Patricia and I am age 62. I was an operating room coordinator for six years at a very busy hospital in downtown and I left that position to become an organ procurement coordinator for the local organ procurement agency. I did that for 10 years and then I retired from that.
When I was 33, I had a breast tumor that needed to be removed and I forgot to tell them to put something under my knees because my back had always been somewhat sensitive. And, when I woke up, I was terribly, terribly sore. I went to throw a tissue away and just made a slight turn to the side and at that point I felt something just go. I went to my knees and I had never had anything like that. I was terrified at the time. I couldn’t stand for two weeks.
I'm a single parent, three daughters, and I was the breadwinner. So, it impacts absolutely everything. That was the beginning of the journey. That turned out to be a herniated disc. I’ve had numerous surgeries since then.
I had always been very active, so being in constant pain and not being as active was very difficult. I finally got wiser about planning. Like, okay, I only have X amount to give today. So, I’m not gonna vacuum and I’m not gonna wash the windows, I wanna save my energy because I wanna cook because I love to cook and I love to bake. I thought if I worked harder, tried harder, that it would be different, but you’re grasping for some sort of control. You’re out of control. You know, I found that in a lot of pain, I get very forgetful. I get fearful.
I have severe osteoarthritis in my spine and I also have Rheumatoid arthritis and that puts an extra spin on things a lot of times because sometimes the way you move to protect your back messes up your knees. I see a Rheumatologist and I try and take care of the whole picture. All my children are grown and been out of the house for, years and years. My grandkids only know me as sometimes the grandma that has to lay on the floor. And, a friend told me when I was in the hospital with my first back surgery recovering, and I was in tremendous pain, she looked at me and she said, you can do anything for one minute. I know you. You’re very strong. And, she said so that clock up there has a second hand. So, is all you have to do is get through that one minute.
When I really start spinning, I’ll call it, I try and put it in a different light. I’ve learned that if I can change how I view it, I know honestly that this too shall pass. At some point, whether it’s another surgery or it’s medication or it’s an epidural.