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What is the treatment for torn disc and how to overcome psychiatric problems?

Dec 2015
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Practicing since : 1993
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I'm having psychiatric problems sense I was in an accident. I will try to be quick and concise, but my brain goes where it wants. I'm an RN working in L&D. I had to go to 4th floor for something, and on my way back down, the elevator fell about 5-8 feet with me (with a very loud BAM) and then I was stuck in that elevator for over 2 1/2 hours. While I was in the elevator I truly believed I was going to die at any moment. They opened the doors and I could see the people on 4th floor. The nurses were talking about the cable had snapped (which I found out later was not true). The fire department came and said they were going to brace under the elevator and to just stay still for now. I wanted to climb out (had something with me I could have climbed onto and got out) but I had such an image of being cut in half when elevator fell again, and I was told to stay still. The hospital got ahold of the elevator repair guy and he told the fire department not to touch anything (I'm guessing he was afraid that they might cause the elevator to fall the rest of the way down). He was two hours away and I had to wait till he got there. I was afraid to move. I thought for sure the elevator was eventually going to give, fall, and I was going to die. I had to take NTG, it helped some and I was afraid to take another because my BP is usually too low to take a second tablet. .They got me a telemetry monitor which I hooked myself up to. This took a while because the first two were defective. After I was on a cardiac monitor I felt a bit better that I wasn't going to be dying of heart attack in next few minutes. During these 2 1/2 hours they kept running the other 3 elevators by it. Every time the one beside mine or behind mine would move ...... mine would rock. I still can't believe they kept they one beside me running because it's the same type of elevator. They just kept telling me that all the elevators were on there own system. WELL, they didn't know what was wrong with my system. What if the movement of them caused mine to fall. What if they were transporting a critical patient in the other one like mine and it broke? I guess in a nut shell, I spent 2 1/2 hours sure I was going to die. This is the best hospital in the area and I've been receiving all subsequent care there (having problems with knees, low back, and psych). I'm trying really hard to get over the psychiatric issues. Before this happened I was depressed and seeing a counceller. When I saw her on Monday following the accident she recommended and I was placed in the Psychiatric unit for three days. I don't feel like it did any good. It was too loud, there was very little individual therapy, and I think the Ativan caused memory loss. I'd say I remember less than 6 hours of the 3 days I was there. I only met one person who wasn't a drug addict. I think I spent most my time walking the halls reading a book (I don't remember the book). Well, four days ago I finally convinced my psychiatrist to change the Ativan. I started on Xanax. I think it's helping some, but I not sure about this tired feeling. I'm definitely having less chest pain/tightness which is great (I have spazmatic angina which is set off by stress). When I have the chest pain / tightness it makes everything worse, so to have that decreased is major. My psychiatrist sent me immediately back to work when I left the psychiatric hospital. At that time (due to shoulder surgery) I was on light duty. I was going around teaching diabetic and CHF patients. I made it through 3 1/2 days of this (although I had to take NTG multiple times and puked once). I didn't use the elevator I just took the stairs (tried to look at it as if maybe it would make me physically healthier). On the fourth day I followed up with doctor on my knee / back injury and have been out of work sense (found out I have a torn disc). Sorry about the length of post / question, but ocounceler wants me to tell it whenever I get the chance (believe me this is the short version). I've been released by orthopedist to full duty now. Shoulder is healed. I'm terrified to go back to my L&D job. What if in my decreased mental status I make a mistake? If I let something happen to a patient just because I didn't pick up on something ........ ? Also, do you have any advice on how to move something from knowing it logically to believing it? Example: I know the chances of something happening to me while I was in the MRI was extremely low, but I couldn't help but feel I was going to die in it. I made it through most of it (crying all the while) but they eventually had to stop due to me throwing up inside it. I'm sorry this is so long and maybe my questions are not clear, but any help, advice would be appreciated.
Posted Sat, 14 Dec 2013 in Anxiety and Stress
Answered by Dr. K. V. Anand 1 hour later
Brief Answer: Hope is always the future. Hope guides you. Detailed Answer: Dear Welcome to XXXXXXX We understand your concerns I went through your detailed description of the events. I can clearly understand the traumatic experience you underwent during the elevator experience. Such experiences are not common and you have been put into more stress while inside the elevator. I know the feelings you underwent during the process and I can understand their depth and gravity. But I can also tell you something more. I know a number of people who went through traumatic experience (though the situation differs with each person) during their work or when they are at home. Most of those people are almost anxious now about their life and they cannot go to work or leave the house. You are doing well now and have the will power to think this clear. Even after all these traumatic experience, you have the resolve to get up and go. That is what is required for you to come out of the trauma related anxiety. Your problem is PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). From my experience, I can say that, people who are affected with PTSD, can be fully cured. If you take psychiatric treatment it might take around 6 months or so. If you combine psychiatric treatment and psycho therapeutic methods, it might take less. Even if you don't take any treatment and follow simple life, and think positively, the problem might go off may be in a year or so. In any case, it is going to be cured. Everyone in the world, go through traumatic experience. Some meet with severe accidents, some is bereaved, some have severe family problems, etc. 95% of the people come out of it simply because there is no other alternative. Life must go on. We advice you and help through so many means, but it is you, with your resolve, decide that "I WILL COME OUT OF THE SITUATION". Your psychiatric did a nice job by sending you to work immediately. Because if you were allowed to take rest, you will be lost in your negative thinking and suffer more and more. That is the advice here. To escape from the thoughts of traumatic experience, you need not to run away from it. Just be busy. Don't have time to think about it. Be so busy throughout the day, so that you just fall asleep when you touch the bed. After around 15 days of this practice, this becomes a habit. This experience is an experience and is past. You cannot expect that this might happen again. You cannot expect something more or equally traumatic can happen in future. You cannot be anxious or apprehensive about the future happenings. Because, you DON'T HAVE THE CONTROL OF YOUR FUTURE. Future happenings cannot be predicted. God has it in his hands. Let him control it and you hope for the best. Allow god to do his duty and pray. Prayer and hope along with relaxation techniques and shallow and deep breathing can help you immensely. I am sure. God is always with you. He has given you an experience to learn positive lessons from it. To make sure that you are bold enough to face another experience in your future. Accept it with open hands, and say... "I KNOW. I AM GLAD NOW. I UNDERSTAND NOW. GOD KNOWS WHAT HE DOES AND I KNOW WHAT IS MY DUTY. Hope this answers your query. Available for further clarifications. good luck. Dr. K V Anand Psychologist / Psychotherapist.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What is the treatment for torn disc and how to overcome psychiatric problems? 4 hours later
Thanks for your time and answer. I do believe that only with God's help will I be myself again. I am seeing a psychiatrist, also going to group counceling 3 days a week at this time. I like the group and the psychologist and feel she has my best interests in mind. Although I can't go to work at this time due to my back (have to see neurosurgeon before returning to work), I've tried to stop by my work unit just to see friends at work. I also really think the Xanax I started a few days ago is helping MUCH more than the Ativan. I just want to make sure I understand you correctly. Even though I knew logically that the chances that I would die in the MRI I got physically ill. I believe you were saying that this will go away if I continue to push myself. Is that right? I have a hard time figuring out just how hard to push. Like I said, while I was at work those 3 1/2 days I was mentally and physically a mess (threw up and taking NTG more than once each day). How hard should I push? I really don't understand why this has bothered me so much. I've always been a strong person and have gotten through tough times before. This is very out of character for me.
Answered by Dr. K. V. Anand 9 hours later
Brief Answer: This shall make you more confident. Detailed Answer: Dear, Thank you for contacting me again. I was expecting the follow up. I am very glad that you are seeing a psephologist and attending group counseling sessions. Very good... You can always expect good notable points from it. From my side, what you essentially need is Cognitive Behavioral therapy. As I mentioned in my earlier literature, nature is the ultimate curer. In the past, such traumatic experiences were present and almost every one came out. Time and patience is the key. Time passes by and the experiences of these times cures our mind and teaches it to be a mature. Maturity involves approaching things without prejudice and with confidence. Both of these comes from experience. And experience is related to time. You do not have to fix a time to come out of this trauma, because you cannot fix it. Time takes its time. Nobody can say whether you are not going to face another experience like the previous one. No one can predict. Because future is unpredictable. Hope is the only thing everyone carries on. Hope is belief. Belief is god. Do not fix a time for recovery and just live, live happily. Knowing life is essential. Life actually means--- "Past is past, learn positive things from it. Future is uncertain. Hope for the best and don't be apprehensive. No negative thoughts about future. Present is the only thing where you can do something. Do it happily and enjoy it. Anything you like, do it today and enjoy it". Bible says, enjoy today as if today is the last day in your life. So, don't fix time for recovery. Don't push hard to go through. Just live. Live happily. Enjoy every second of life. Automatically negative thoughts and distress leaves you, because you are interested in them. You are then interested in enjoying life. Hope this makes you more confident. Available for further clarifications. Good luck. God bless you.
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