Gareth: Misdiagnosed Broken Back for Decades - RxLeaf
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Gareth: Misdiagnosed Broken Back for Decades


A fall from a tree took everything from this arborist, now cannabis is giving some of that back. Gareth has to go to the streets to find his medicine.

My name is Gareth Magee, a 56 year old father of four. I am qualified as a “Craftsman Gardener” and specialize in Arboriculture. After working in the private tree surgery sector in Glasgow, moved to Sussex to start a business/training in Arboriculture.

After presenting our business plan to Prince’s Youth Business Trust, we were awarded a£6,000 grant. Met with HRH Prince Charles on three occasions, at various trade fairs.

Went on to train students in tree planting, climbing, pruning, and removal off dead, dying and dangerous trees.

Spent the following three years after the 1987 “Great Storm”, working in England repairing damaged trees.

Was sub-contracted to “Ingolf Schmoll” in Berlin to deal with large trees. This led to my accident: I fell from tree and knocked myself out. After a cup of tea, was up the next one.

After returning home to Brighton, had ongoing pain issue, then on a job in Kent, I threw a large branch from a tree and something went bang in my back. Was diagnosed by GP with a torn muscle and nerve damage.

Scroll forward to Castlemilk Glasgow, 90`s, walking to the library with my wife, when suddenly a massive pain started shooting down my left arm! Heart Attack! was my first thought. Went straight to the doctors and he looking at my previous records, said “Don`t worry it`s a trapped nerve in your back”. So I was sent for a series of physio-therapy sessions, this was a nurse kneeling and using knuckles to “loosen up” my back, acupuncture followed when that did not work it was onto painkillers.

The pain got unbearable and more painkillers were prescribed. This went on for years, until one morning got up for a pee, what followed was blood clots and more blood! Was diagnosed with an exploded left kidney due to an eight cm cancerous growth. So that explained a lot of the pain I was having.

After surgery I was in even more excrutiating pain that I could hardly breath, they pumped me full of morphine thinking it was my operation wound, it was not!  What followed was pills pills and more pills, until I contracted “Sepsis”, this caused my remaining kidney to  shut down. After dialysis and the weeks in bed seven in total, I found it extremely hard to move, feed myself also suffered then and now with massive cramps in legs arms and ribs. The consultant thought that I had neuropathy as my muscles had atrophied.  So after a course of physio, I  managed to get home.

After many return visits to find out the cause of shooting pains in my arms ribs and jaw, was x-rayed on my side. That is when they found out that I had a broken back. That was in 2016!

Looking back at the catastrophe of my diagnosis it is now not suprising to me the different puzzled looks and the comments of “Your an enigma Mr Magee” it also explains “The Pain” throughout the years. It is as well that I am an optimistic person. I have a positive outlook in life, but it still came as a blow to me when I found out in May this year that I was inoperable.

When I think of the surgeons puzzling looks, as to why I was in so much pain after my kidney surgery, Unbeknownst to them or me at the time, lying for eight hours with four collapsed thoracic and three herniated cervical vertebrae, hurts.

So now we are at a stage in my life when the pills don`t work, mechanical pain leaves me sore, nauseated and depressed, that is only when I do not have cannabis!What a magical feeling, being rid of pain, if only for a fleeting moment in time.

So now I have to face the dangling carrot, that is the promise of medical cannabis? Be me for a day! cannot pick up grandkids, gave up my hobbies (Fishing Metal detecting, Allotment) If I garden, it results in dead arms and massive pain and no sleep for nearly a week off putting to say the least.

Cannabis lets me do small tasks and makes me feel more complete, but without the consequences. It also definitely helps with depression! But where to get? I am 56 and having to find my own medication on the streets of Glasgow. The quality is variable to say the least.

So I hear you say “Craftsmen Gardener” grow your own!, would love too, if my hands would do as they are told! Everything from dropping tea to not being able to feed myself.

Have the knowledge, but not body.

Well one last thing to say, Be a half full person in life, don`t have a half empty attitude, it amplifies your pain.

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