Well, it finally happened.
Back in 1982, after a car crash, I was diagnosed with a broken neck, or what they call "The Hangman's Break", which is between the C1-C2 vertebrae. Consequently I had surgery which has held up very well, thank you for asking.
However, the doctor told me that there was some damage done to the disc between the 5th and 6th vertebrae. There wasn’t anything that he would recommend doing at that time, but, he said, it wasn’t a matter of “if”, it was a matter of “when”, that disc would cause problems.
In October of 2016, as I was getting into the company truck, a Mack, I smacked my head on the upper door frame. Normally I have enough clearance, but since the company mandated we wear hardhats on company property, I didn’t have enough clearance. Ouch! The impact gave me an instant sore throat, such as what strep would feel like. Normally when I get hurt the pain subsides; on this day that was not the case. After a couple of deliveries I contacted dispatch and asked them if we could rearrange my schedule so I could forego the last delivery and see a doctor. They decided to contact the safety dude, who, long story short, took me up to the hospital emergency in Greeley. End result, no strep, and they couldn’t determine what was wrong. Because of that, workman’s comp wouldn’t cover any further doctor visits.
However, I kept having problems, my arms were constantly hurting, and it became an issue. If I pushed too long and too hard, my arms would feel like somebody doused me in gasoline and set me on fire. Horrible pain. So I took matters into my own hands, and went to see a doctor on my dime and insurance.
I have deterioration in the discs between the 5th, 6th and 7th cervical vertebrae, arthritis, and bone spurs. The doctor put me on light duty and suggested Physical Therapy. The company didn’t have any light duty work for me, so they put me on six weeks of unpaid medical leave until I could figure things out.
The PT is helping me learn to use the other vertebrae in my neck to offset the abuse the 5th, 6th and 7th vertebrae have taken. It has helped, but, it cannot fix that which is already messed up. If I go back to driving, the abuse would continue and my neck would only get worse.
I can opt for surgery, which entails putting rods in my neck to take the pressure off of the discs, but that would secure those three vertebrae together and limit the amount of movement I would have. That would basically make it impossible for me to turn my head to look out the side windows of the truck at the mirrors.
Either way, I have to get out of trucking.
My last day at Pilot Thomas Logistics was March 2. There were a lot of good people there that I will miss. Also, having to get out of trucking is like losing a close friend of 35 years. Tough.
So my “if” finally became the “when”.
I have a number of irons in the fire. I am taking a Jewelry and Metalworking class at AIMS Community College in Greeley to pursue my passion for bling. The class is outside my comfort zone, which is good, because it means I am learning stuff that I don’t know. I hope to expand that to some level of a commercial enterprise. I also have a storage facility full of thick cut lumber for tables and furniture which I have been working.
Wish me luck, keep me in your prayers, stay in touch, and if you need a custom piece of furniture or jewelry, give me a shout.
In the meantime, keep the rubber side down.
Take care and God bless.