I was involved in a serious car accident on 10/22/09, and have a fractured sternum and crushed T12. The neurosurgeon said I've lost 20% of the height and it will not ever come back; he said I'm going to be a little shorter. He put me in a brace that I have to wear for 3 months. They did a CAT scan at the hospital when I was taken to the ER by ambulance after the accident.

This is all so new and strange to me. I've had lots of soft tissue damage from minor accidents over the years; I have fibromyalgia as well. I was doing very well at managing this with supplements, and was very active before the accident.

Now, at 43 years old, I find myself unable to do the simplest things for myself, and I have little to no information to go on from the doctor. They sent me home from the hospital on Tuesday with instructions to have a follow-up appt. with the neurosurgeon in a month. They didn't mention PT or seeing any other doctors.

I have to wear this brace anytime I am not lying down in the bed. I can't stand up for my shower (I have to use a shower chair and hold the shower head. . .then dry my upper body, put on a tee shirt and back in the brace to finish drying and getting dressed). I am not supposed to lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk, and the doctor told me that if something doesn't feel right, don't do it.

I went to church this morning, and by the time I got home and made dinner, I was totally wiped out and had to go to bed for about 3 hours. Is this normal? I also started having some urine leaking issues yesterday. It happened once yesterday when I was sitting at the computer. I moved forward in the chair, and it just happened without warning. It happened again this morning when I was getting ready for church. I was told if I lose control of my bowels or bladder to go to the ER, but I didn't lose control. . .it just "sprung a little leak." Should I be concerned about this?

My hands have been going numb off and on when I am using them, and when I took a nap this afternoon I was lying on my right side with my arms stretched out in front of me, and the hands went numb in that position, which they have never done in the past (happens occasionally when I bend my arms during sleep due to some minor nerve irritation).

I've had a headache off and on since the accident. I was on a backboard for about 6 hours, and flat on my back for 16 hours after the accident, which is horrible for my existing conditions. I thought the headache was a result of that, but it is still coming and going. I don't know if I should be concerned about that.

I am also having leg pain in my sciatic nerves in both legs. I have had sciatica for several years, so I am guessing this is pretty normal and I'm not too worried about it.

I have been on Vicoden since the day after the accident (I talked them into taking me off the really strong stuff). I am still getting shaky insides when it wears off or when I get tired. I was told this is still from the shock of the impact (it was very hard; the other person lost control and slid into my car from the front). I am also getting chills, which is very unusual for me since I had a hysterectomy and normally I'm "hot" most of the time. I'm wondering at what point in time I should be able to start tapering off on the vicoden. I try to stretch it out to 6 hours, and only take it in the night if I wake up in pain. I am taking the normal precautions (lots of water and stool softeners, and eating plenty of fiber). I have been this route before (after my hysterectomy) and learned how to use narcotics responsibly; but, it makes me very nervous having to take them so regularly. I have been taught that if you allow the pain to go uncontrolled it will slow the healing process, so I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place.

I'd just like some feedback if what I am experiencing is "normal" and should I call the neurosurgeon's office to ask about anything in the meantime. I didn't see the neurosurgeon the day I went home from the hospital. The nurse gave me the general list of what to do and not do, and I've been trying to comply with it. I am a very active person and I do alterations and clean houses for a living. I am starting to worry I won't be able to go back to these things in the future.