Pain, pain, pain

Jean in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont

I am a 69 year old female who first had pilinoidal sinus surgery in 1962. Totally successful surgery without recurrence since that time. Several weeks ago I got up in the middle of the night because I wasn't feeling too well. I looked in the mirror and said, "My God, I am dying!" I woke my husband and he immediately took me to the ER, where my blood pressure was 60/40 and I was in acute renal failure. Well, after moving me to a "city" hospital and after every test known to mankind to rule out stroke, spinal meningitis, etc., and after all sorts of MRIs, spinal tap, etc., and lots of antibiotics, the diagnosis was sepsis of unknown origin. After 12 days I was released to go home.

Now to the relevant part. In 1993 I fell to the tarmac while getting off a commuter airline, breaking my back in three places as well as a finger and putting a hematoma on my head. I have permanent spine damage. One of the breaks was my tailbone. About 2 weeks after leaving the hospital, I have the same pain I had before my surgery in 1962. And yes, the release of pressure is worse than sitting down itself. I am in agony.

I guess my question is what to do. What kind of a doctor should I see? Where I lived before I had access to exceptional medical care. Now, although the care is good (and bless them the ER folks in that little country hospital saved my life), I just don't know where to start - or if to start. I am afraid of surgery, although I never have been before (and I've had lots of it). After coming so close such a short time ago, I don't know whether to grit my teeth and live through the pain or try to get help. I wonder whether what happened has triggered this symptom, just as it has my terribly stiff neck. Any ideas?

Updated 2003-04-27

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