Educators Who Needed Rescuing Part 1: My Story

This is Natalie, and I’ve been neglecting this page for an awfully long time.  So many things have happened in a year’s time, that it’s been difficult to concentrate my passion on educational issues.  I feel like you need an explanation, so I’ll try to be brief.  I’ll start with myself, and then I will fill you in with what happened to Laura, my educational partner who ran this page with me.

In December 2016, on the first day of Winter Break, I carried my then 15-year-old geriatric Pug down our back porch steps to go do his business, because he was too old to navigate them by himself.  On about the third step, I fell down in severe pain and threw “Bob” down the rest of the steps.  I crawled to the door screaming in pain.  Luckily, my husband was home, because I could not lift myself up to walk.  Long story short:  A disc in my back herniated so severely that it was pushing on my spinal cord and pressing on my nerves.  (Bob was fine.)

The doctor started me on decompression therapy, which helped me to walk with a cane, but I was still in a lot of pain.  I went back to work after Winter Break up until about the end of March.  It was then that I acquired the 3-day flu from one of my third graders, it developed into bronchitis, and I managed to “cough” my disc even farther out of my spinal column.  I couldn’t stand, walk, or even go to the restroom without being in severe pain.  I tried to return to work on an in-service day, but that resulted in my principal telling my TAM partner to take me to the emergency room.  (All they did at the hospital was pump me full of pain meds, which was a very temporary fix.)

Natalie Spine MRI 4-27-17 B PAINT
There’s the culprit!

After that, I ended up on short-term disability until I could get a microdiscectomy surgery scheduled, which wasn’t available until the end of May.  Take it from me; being in severe pain for nearly half a year will start to make a person go insane, especially when you are confined to a couch and can sleep for only about an hour or two at a time.  I had a TERRIBLE class last year, but I would’ve preferred to be in the classroom than in pain on my couch.  My surgery day couldn’t come fast enough for me or my frustrated family who couldn’t wait for me to be able to pitch in around the house again.

The second I awoke from the anesthesia, I could tell that the surgery was a success!  I was finally pain-free, and I even tried to jump off of the table to start walking around.  Good thing the nurse was there to push me back into my bed.  She told me that I would be walking around like a pro after the anesthesia had totally worn off.  She was right!  It’s amazing what a 30 minute outpatient surgery did for the pain that consumed me for 5 months.

Everything was AWESOME, and I couldn’t wait to get back to living a normal life.  I wouldn’t be returning to work for the end of the school year, however, because my doctor wouldn’t clear me until my first post-op appointment, which was a month after surgery.  At the appointment, I learned that I had some residual nerve damage that may or may not subside.  (It’s still there and causes me to feel a constant “pins and needles” sensation in my lower left leg and foot.  This often makes me feel unbalanced when I’m on my feet.  BUT, this is so much better than the pain I was feeling before surgery!)

What I learned from this ordeal is this:  If you don’t have your own health, then you have nothing.

Stay tuned for Educators Who Needed Rescuing Part 2:  Laura’s Story.


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