My Biggest Fear

My Biggest Fear

A Story by Barbara Walker
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Written for a contest

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                                      MY BIGGEST FEAR


Some people will say their biggest fear is Heights, but that is something a person could control to a certain extent.

My biggest fear is being paralyzed.

In 1997, I fractured my neck. I always thought if that happened, a person would know it right away. Turns out, that isn't always true. A word to the wise- if you ever injure your neck, get an x-ray. In my case, my neck hurt, but not badly and it seemed to get better- until a few months later, when it started to hurt and got worse. When my doctor saw my x-rays, he said,"What the hell happened"?  This wasn't going well, at all. He told me that I had fractured my neck and it was healing backwards. But his next words caused an awful feeling in my stomach. He said that he had no idea how to fix it and I was facing paralysis from the neck down eventually. He talked of conferring with other doctors to figure out how to proceed. I drove home in a daze.

While my doctor was trying to figure out what to do, I had my own decisions to make. The first thing I did was call a very trusted friend, who came over. I explained my predicament. How I felt that I could live with being paralyzed from the waist down. It would be monumentally difficult, but I could do it. However, there was no way I could live nor would I want to live if I were paralyzed from the neck down. I am claustrophobic and the idea alone of not being able to scratch my own nose, take care of my personal hygiene and all the many things that I wouldn't be able to do, terrified me. My friend left that day with an understanding between us that if the worst should happen, my friend would do whatever it took to end it for me. That brought such a relief to my mind, that I could devote my time and energy into spending as much time as I could with my friends and family. I hugged my grandchildren all the tighter when I thought of them growing up without their grandmother's love and encouragement.

It wasn't long after this that my left hand became paralyzed. I felt my legs getting weaker, too.

About this time, my doctor took my case to a convention he was attending. Of all the neurosurgeons there, not one knew how to help me. Then, I began having bowel and bladder problems intermittently. It was at this time that my doctor found two doctors who had a practice together who were willing to try. When I met them, they wanted me to understand that the surgery alone might paralyze me, that there were no guarantees and that I would have a deformity in my neck. The deformity was the least of my worries. The decision to have the surgery was a no brainer for me.

When I woke up in the recovery room, I could move my left hand. I was cautiously thrilled. When the doctors came in to see me, they explained that I now had a metal plate in my neck/throat area, with six screws attaching it in place and it would always be there. They had me wearing a "halo brace", which was screwed into my head in four places; two screws in my forehead and one screw on either side of my head. Metal bars went from the brace around my head to a vest I was fitted with during surgery. This halo brace prevented any movement of my neck whatsoever. I would wear the halo brace for four months. To me, it was a small price to pay. Eighteen years later, I still believe that. The results of the surgery left me able to move my entire body. It did leave me with limited movement of my head turning to the left or right and looking up and down. The deformity in my neck is in the way my head sits on my neck and my neck being, at least, three inches shorter. I also have chronic pain in my neck. I can accept all of the results in order not to be paralyzed.

But and don't we all hate that word, " But"?

About three years ago, I began experiencing dizzy spells. I would become very dizzy, feel sick to my stomach, then a headache would ensue. In the beginning, it would happen many times per day. The very first time it happened, my left eye went into the position of looking to my left and it stayed that way for four days.

After consulting with four doctors and having MRI x-rays on my brain, my eyes and my neck, it was found that my spinal cord in the area of my neck surgery was more narrow that normal.

The dizzy spells and nausea have lessened, greatly. Before, it happened six to eight times a day. Now, an episode might occur once a month. I still have headaches frequently and though the other symptoms have lessened in frequency, I am terrified at my biggest fear coming to pass.

© 2016 Barbara Walker


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Featured Review

A story like this should make most anyone who reads it feel very thankful. Thank God for modern medicine, such as it is. Some of us must bear terrible burdens, the reasons for which may never be known, but I feel like there must be a balance or reconciliation that takes place eventually. May you always find strength, and with any luck, healing.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Barbara Walker

4 Years Ago

Thank you Samuel. All the pain I've written about on here had to do with my back, the suddenly being.. read more



Reviews

I empathize with you dear one. I know others with similar conditions. I will pray for healing for you, as I have for them. I am powerless and inadequate as a sympathetic encourager. Yet My Lord is able in every aspect. As with the others, you can expect the prayer to bring relief. The degree is variable, According to His Grace. When you notice the difference thank Him, not me, and praise Him to everyone. He is pouring His love on us now.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Barbara Walker

4 Years Ago

Thank you, more than words can say...
Barbara
VALORMORE DE PLUME

4 Years Ago

He will continue to bless you, Forever.
A very scary situation. I did know that you could injure your back/neck and not know it, though. I once saw a movie about a man who fell off of a horse while playing polo, got up and dusted himself off, got back on his horse and finished the game. The next day he woke up paralyzed. He had finished the game with a broken back and didn't know it. I don't remember the name of the movie but it starred John Ritter.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Barbara Walker

4 Years Ago

Thanks for reviewing, my car end!
Barbara Walker

4 Years Ago

Banana! I wrote review but you know how it is!
Barbara Walker

4 Years Ago

I give up! lol
I am kind of speechless ..how very little we know about each other .. i use to suffer major migraines that incapacitated me for at least a day ..i also suffered a detached rotator cuff and blown knee ...so the loss of flexibility and mobility are always in the back of my noodle ... aging being what it is .. but your story is one of great courage ... it is a terrifying thing to imagine being paralyzed from the neck down ... i am reminded of the Jill Kinmont Boothe story "The Other Side of the Mountain" (who recently passed away at the age of 75 .... I don't think I could find such an indomitable spirit ... your story is very easy to read .. and held my interest all the way ..no impulse to start speed reading ;) i like the breaks between paragraphs with single sentences .. it works to punctuate and create natural pauses ..i think the way you have written this is straight forward ..not embellished unnecessarily .. thank you for sharing Barbara! Good fortune in the contest :)
E.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Barbara Walker

4 Years Ago

Thank you so much! Truthfully, I don't feel brave, I feel terrified. Thank you for your support and .. read more
Einstein Noodle

4 Years Ago

yes ... can make or break as the saying goes :)
Suddenly I'm feeling grateful for the little things I have in my life..... I can imagine how painful that is.... My heart goes out to you, to fight it out such tragedy with so much courage and patience is unbelievable... I hope your health stays good, you find happiness and comfort in the people and things you have there with you... This is such an encouraging story.... I'm posting a prayer request for you on a website... God bless you always....

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Barbara Walker

4 Years Ago

Thank you so much for your review and many thanks for the prayers.
i am truly sorry for what happened - thank you for sharing that injuries, especially involving 'vital' parts of the body, should never be taken for granted - my heart goes out to you - may you find comfort and strength in your family and friends - i, for one, care that you recover and live a high-quality life amidst this life-changing affliction

best to you,
steph

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Barbara Walker

4 Years Ago

Bless you, Steph. From the heart...
highonwords

4 Years Ago

you're welcome, my friend :)

best,
steph
Oh my dear Barbara... God be with you and trust me this was not an easy read.... But you know what...the courage one can understand after reading your story is unbelievable. My prays are always with you my dear...

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

A. Amos

4 Years Ago

You're most welcome my dear...Please convert this work in a book
Barbara Walker

4 Years Ago

Oh I would love to make a book of my work but being on a disability income for so long and living in.. read more
A. Amos

4 Years Ago

I just thought there would be so many who would need support and your courage can seriously help ma.. read more
This was incredibly painful to even read. I can't imagine the pain and the terror you were going through. You narrated it excellently and so a mental picture could have been clearly formed. I pray you always have strength....you are after all, a strong woman already. Take care!

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Barbara Walker

4 Years Ago

Thank you very much.
Haunted Doll

4 Years Ago

Always welcome!
A story like this should make most anyone who reads it feel very thankful. Thank God for modern medicine, such as it is. Some of us must bear terrible burdens, the reasons for which may never be known, but I feel like there must be a balance or reconciliation that takes place eventually. May you always find strength, and with any luck, healing.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Barbara Walker

4 Years Ago

Thank you Samuel. All the pain I've written about on here had to do with my back, the suddenly being.. read more
Thank you for sharing. This must be extremely difficult for you! The honesty was refreshingly staggering!

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Barbara Walker

4 Years Ago

Thank you for reviewing. It helped to get it out of my head.
Shannon

4 Years Ago

I have noticed many people read these type of stories, but rarely comment. I really like learning a.. read more

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Added on March 16, 2016
Last Updated on March 16, 2016
Tags: fear, paralysis, surgery

Author

Barbara Walker
Barbara Walker

Lake Havasu City, AZ



About
I am retired from the Postal Service. I find I write poetry to help myself through difficult times and I have written many poems in response to the chronic pain I've been living with for over 30 year.. more..

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