My Journey

· CRPS My Journey

Day of the injury 28/8/1993 Part 1

I was working in a biscuit factory on the production line. I needed to work for 6 months to save enough money to finish the special effects make-up course I was doing.

I had completed the 1st two subjects and was a qualified wedding/glamour make-up artist, however my dream was special effects. The course was expensive and the fastest way I knew to earn money was factory work. It was boring but if you put in the hours then the pay was good.

The day of the injury I was taken from my job and told I had to work in dispatch, by myself for the remaining 7 hours of my shift. I had to lift boxes of fruit cake weighing up to 15kg, from the floor up above my head into chutes where men would collect them to pack onto pallets.

I had to run around the floor doing this for 7 hours at which time they asked me if I could stay for another 4 hours. I was aching but I said yes.

The next day I felt my shoulder and left side of my neck were sore but at that stage I could never have imagined what was yet unseen, what would take 13 months to develop into this incurable disease called CRPS.

Part 2

I would not discover for 13 months the exact nature of the injury. It isn't until I am finally sent for an MRI that the damage is seen.

I had on that day in the factory, lacerated a nerve in the left side of my neck. The Neurosurgeon described it to me as only normally seen after a motorcycle accident where the rider skids along the gutter. He said the damage was extensive.

By that stage had developed into CRPS, also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy.

Now you know what I didn't, I'll tell you about the treatments they made me endure all the while without a diagnosis.

As the injury occurred at work, naturally workers compensation was involved. I was sent from Doctor to Doctor, from specialist to specialist. I was also still working on the production line. I'm convinced the system is devised to separate the genuine from the non-genuine cases but occasionally there are grey areas and I was one. They couldn't diagnose me but I was put on medication (Amitriptylene) and I was required to endure all methods of physical therapy offered or suggested. If I complained or explained that the treatment hurt me they would say I was being uncooperative and decrease my compensation payments along with my work hours.

I was told to use strapping tape over my whole shoulder while I worked. I was told to use a T.E.N.S machine twice daily at the same time. I was also being physically manipulated and stretched by a physiotherapist. He would lay me on the bed and stand behind me. He would then put a seatbelt out of a car underneath my neck and pull back to stretch my neck out. (lacerated nerve). I would get home from work and cry in despair as I stood in the shower and ripped the strapping off my shoulder leaving my skin raw again. Knowing I would have to do it all again the net day.

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