Nightmare After Cervical Spinal Fusion

I had a fusion of C5/C6/C7 done anterior through the right front side of my neck. I woke with trouble swallowing but was told it would get better. Fast forward, it never did.

I was diagnosed in 2008 with paresis of nerves on the right side of my throat, meaning when I swallowed, it would stay in the right side of my throat, causing aspiration to my lungs. It became worse, causing spasms of my throat, even on my own saliva. I had to have a feeding tube put in. I will always have it; since the condition does not reverse itself and is not treatable.

I then herniated a disc above my fusion at C4/C5 and below at C7/T1. One morning I woke up with unbearable right arm pain, to the point I honestly thought I would have a heart attack or stroke from the pain. I was in the hospital for 2 weeks.

The surgeon went in to look at the C7/T1 area. The C8 nerve root was severely compressed. I got better, yet still have numbness in right pinky. I started a few days ago having right shoulder pain coming from my neck going into the right deltoid and elbow.

I had an EMG on the right arm before last surgery showing right medial ulnar nerve compression. Does anyone know it this could be leading to another nerve root compression?

I am scared to death of the pain.

I was a trauma nurse working in the ER when this happened to me. Workers comp has made my life so unbearable, having 4 children who were very young when this happened, never having a workers comp case after over 25 yrs working as an RN. The case is still open.

I had a suction machine to help keep me from getting aspiration pneumonia, but it broke and workers comp won’t replace it or my nebulizer to help me breath. My credit is ruined due to workers comp not paying bills. Our house is small and damp we were trying to purchase a new one with a great filtration system, but that is not going to happen due to the financial position New Jersey workers comp has put us in.

I have the start of COPD, even though I never smoked a cigarette. It is from the chronic aspiration.

I would appreciate if anyone knows about ulnar nerve entrapment and thoracic outlet syndrome. If this happens again, like with the C7/T1, the surgeon said my neck will have to have a rod put in.

I can not bear the idea of any further surgery. I also almost died in September of last year, due to problems with a catheter port I had in for immediate drugs to stop the spasms. I developed septic shock with a fever of over 105.2. The port had a gram negative and gram positive infection in it.

I am so afraid of becoming sick. My immune system is down. After the septic shock, I was left with Addison's disease. The worst of all is having to see the fear in my husband and children's faces when I become sick again.

- Teena



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