Published on: 01 May, 2019 - Read Time: 5 minutes Minutes
In Your Own Words: Dave’s Story
It was just a normal day for me go to London and service some air conditioning units and arrived on site. Set up the ladder as normal and climbed up to the top, I say I was 15 to 20 foot up. I started to do some work on the unit and everything was normal. Then the ladder started to slip down the wall and it suddenly went away from me, and I fell down and hit an old metal work bench, and then hit the concrete floor on my left hip. Also the ladder ended up between my legs somehow and that brought water to my eyes, I can tell you. After I landed my work mate heard the crash and come outside to find me in a pile, in pain. It must have been a good 30 minutes and 2 cups of tea later when I managed to get up and like a wally I carried on working.
On the drive home I had to stop as my hip was killing me, and take more pain killers. I then got home and had tea as normal then had a shower, it was then I noticed a massive bruise on my hip and it run all the way down the outside of my leg.
I not think much of it and carried on as normal, I went to doctors and they said it was just a bad bruise and no damage really.
I carried on as normal and it was not until the weekend things started to happen, I went away to wales for weekend trip and I was walking over fields and mountains and the pain in my back was incredible I have never had pain like that in my life. The only way I could get settled was to lie down and even that hurt after a while. We managed to get back home and I went to go to sleep, ready work the next day. I was full of painkillers and I must have drifted of to sleep.
I woke up at around 5am in absolute pain, I felt sick with it, but also I was dying for a wee. I tried getting out of bed but my whole bottom half was numb and my feet felt like they were on fire. The only way I could get to the toilet was on my hands and knees, I had to try and climb up so I could pee and had to lean against the wall but crouched over the pan. The only problem was I could not go at all, not a drop, so I started to panic and shouted for my then wife, who came in and help me back to bed.
We called an ambulance and they were 10 minutes away, which was good to know. They came in and did tests on my legs and feet and tried to get me to stand up, no chance off that! I also said that I was busting for a wee but couldn’t go. I then had to go down stairs on my bum and then stand at the bottom of the stairs and got on the trolley. Then off we went.
We then arrived at Basingstoke hospital and I was rushed in, I ended up in a small room on my own and these junior doctors looking at me and not know what I had, I was busting by then, I couldn’t even wet myself. More top level nurse come and looked at me, and did an ultrasound on my bladder and said my god you are full up! 10 minutes later I had a catheter in place and I filled up two bags off wee. That was the best feeling in the world at that time.
Again I was left in this room and given pain killers, and blood taken and wee tests etc. It wasn’t until around 2pm that a doctor came to see me and asked “why the hell has he not been for xray yet?”, he was very cross that this not been done, he then tested my legs and feet and he said “I know what you got, I need a MRI scan to prove it”.
So off I went for an x-ray and came back, then I was heading of to the MRI scanner but it was shut due to maintenance that day. The only choice was to go to Southampton to have an MRI. I was taken to Southampton and went straight to the scanner, this was round 7pm. I was put on a ward for the night, then in the early hours of the next day I was seen by the consultant who said “you have a thing called cauda equina syndrome on l4 and l5 and you need an operation as soon as possible”. Two hours later I was in surgery. The following day he came to give me a once over and told me that I have damaged the nerves and I will be left with all these problems, hot feet, numb legs and saddles area, trouble with bowels and bladder.
He then got me out of bed to walk, and I had to get up and walk every 30 mins, this is how this consultant saved my legs and thanks to him I’m walking and not in a wheel chair.
I had fantastic care in Southampton and was allowed home after a week, I had a nurse come in to change my catheter, and change the dressing.
I have got to live with the pain and catheter, but I was getting a lot of infections in my bladder, really bad ones that made me really sick. The doctors decided that I would be better off self-catheterizing and to take antibiotics everyday, I’ve not had one since. Exactly one year after my first op, I started to get a lot of pain in my back more so in morning when I woke, I went to doctors as my feet was getting hot again, lose of feeling again.
Doctor sent me to A+E to have an emergency MRI and it showed that scar tissue that was trapping the nerves. I was sent straight to surgery and spent another week in hospital.
It’s been a few years now I have lived with this, and you do learn to cope I guess. I still have trouble walking, and sitting or standing for long periods, and getting out of bed in the morning.
I had real trouble with erections and doctors tried me on everything, Viagra did not work at all, but sometimes I would ejaculate for no reason and one time I was in Tesco shopping. I went to see the bladder people and they suggested this stuff that you have to inject in your penis before sex, so I thought I give it a go. I was a bit nervous at first as sticking a needle into my willy was a bit weird. Anyway I did it and it works really well. Also it last for 4 hours at a time, and I found I can ejaculate many times. So sad it wasn’t given in time to save my marriage, as I am now single but it works trust me. I hope this helps anyone going through what I did.
If Dave’s story has inspired you to share your own experiences with Cauda Equina Syndrome then please contact us, we’d love to hear from you!