Notes from the Bunker….Winter 2019… Missing in Action

Hello Again, my old friends…”still alive!…”

Time to do a little catching up, with this old guy. The last thing we were discussing was the recent dealings with my orthopedist, with more x-rays, physical therapy, MRIs, and kicking my care up a notch to a neurologist.

These guys work on spines, vertebrae, and actual nerves. Well, great…forward movement…while  not great, because we started cutting, carving, and squishing things around my spinal column. Never have had any work done on those areas of my body parts, because…well, things like paralysis, partial paralysis, or death seem to come forth into the lives of people who have work done there.

Spock, BONES….The……SHIP!!!

My neurologist came highly recommended, and thankfully my workers comp company (The Hartford) granted permission to move forward, and get it done.

On 12/12/18, just over one year ago, I went under the knife for at least the 8th time in my life, but this one having such a much higher chance of affect on my literal future. Meaning, if it went bad, I’d wind up in a wheelchair (i was lucky). In at 5 am, put under around 7:15 am, in recovery around 11-ish (still fuzzy coming out of general anesthetic…normal for me). The nurses and assistant surgeons dropped by saying “great job, went well, excellent results, …” and so forth. Saw the doc the next morning, around 6:30 am or so

About an hour later, got moved into room 72 on the third floor, and got to see my lovely wife again, who had been there waiting for the news. Turned out, that having neck and spine surgery is getting easier and easier every day.


This was the wreck in Kentucky that ended my career. Distracted driver, cell phone in hand, never touched the brakes. No rubber behind those front wheels…

That work related car wreck in April 2018…just had neck/spine surgery, with more surgery expected ahead. A discectomy with fusion of C4, C5, and C6, with cadaver bone used to replace the extremely herniated disks.

After 4 weeks, I didn’t have to wear the cervical collar 24/7, and two weeks later, I could drive again, and I’m was looking forward to a cortisone shot in the lower back, where another .set of vertebrae still has exactly the same issue.

No relief came from the shot, or several, in the succeeding months. The next step was another discectomy and disk fusion. The neurosurgeon decided that low back surgery of this type was not going to work, and the medical community was moving away from it, as it was less than 40% effective

The day of the first surgery, I was also given a flu shot…and it worked…I caught the flu…on top of everything else. Just fricking lovely.

Retirement? Really?

That is a big question, don’t you think? Career change, potential retirement, potential permanent disability.

After a few months, the above mentioned shots, and waiting-waiting-waiting, I finally got the OK to see a pain management doctor, and in mid summer had a procedure called radio-frequency ablation done, which is the doc sticking a big ass needle into my spinal area, and burning the nerves that were being impinged by extremely herniated disks. This actually worked, and I’ve had about 50% decrease in pain, but the low back still aches and spasms regularly. Since the human body is an amazing machine, the nerves that are burned apart, grow back together within a year.

Unfortunately, this is as good as it gets, and I’ve now been classified as permanently disabled by social security, and my working career is over. I was not ready to retire, but I have no choice.

Where are we now?

Using SSI that SS paid to me, we moved from the very dangerous St. Louis area (again, the most dangerous city in the US), and moved back to Wyoming. Why? All five of our grand kids are back there, Back in an apartment for the first time since 2008, but this time we’re empty nesters, and our grand kids are minutes away.

Still getting things sorted out, but I’ve got my desktop computers, printers, terabytes of external hard drives, my DVD duplicator, and a huge hard drive duplicator in my hands again, as well as most of my library, and of course SEVEN boxes of government created  survival and preparedness hard-copy (read that as a massive collection of historical civil defense documents and manuals) to start scanning and getting online to join the other 25,000 eBooks already online.

The Future

In the next week we’ll be moving from our current apartment, to an accessible apartment in the same complex. It just came open, otherwise we would have moved into it first. Not looking forward to moving all the boxes of books, but it’ll be the last move for a long time.

I’m still waiting on a couple of refunds coming my way from the government to get deposited, and what that happens, I’ll be replacing the bookshelves and desks that got left behind when I moved from Wyoming to Nashville in the spring of 2017.

After that happens, the entire system will make it possible to updated my package, adding some new disks, and creating the alternative storage packages (SDRam, Micro SD, USB pen drive, hard drive, and even a single disk BluRay data disk, with EVERYTHING on one optical disk. I’m even going to create a package which includes a tablet, Micro SD chip, and solar panel to get and keep it charged for off grid use. That’s going to be an amazing package.


There are so many things I will be able to do, with time on my hands. I’ve promised video projects, more podcasts, and then a slew of books, based on real world history in all areas of prepping, using that library currently residing in those boxes in the back bedroom. It’s going to happen.

I really will get regular posting moving forward, instead of one post IN A YEAR. Truly sorry about that. And, fixing several pages that web technology moved forward from, causing some inconstant page functions, or breaking entirely.







Updated: December 13, 2019 — 9:35 pm

The Author

Rich Fleetwood

Rich is the founder of SurvivalRing, now in it's 24th year, author of multimedia CDs and DVDs, loves the outdoors, his family, his geeky skill-set, and lives in rural southern Wyoming, just below the continental divide (long story, that...). Always ready to help others, he shares what he learns on multiple blogs, many social sites, and more. With a background in preparedness and survival skills, training with county, state, and national organizations, and skills in all areas of media and on air experience in live radio and television, Rich is always thinking about the "big picture", when it comes to helping individuals and families prepare for life's little surprises.

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