A father of quintuplets, Robin Dixon was injured at work. But workman's comp doctors said it was a previous condition. He fought lawyers and doctors to get his back surgery, now he's hunting, fishing, and hiking again.
Over 20 years ago I had a work accident, and finally had to have a back surgery to give myself a life again. At the time of the first injury I was at a rock quarry, running a jackhammer every day for four months, drilling boulders. I was by myself in a rock quarry, which was pretty much against OSHA rules at the time, but there was a blind eye turned to that.
I was drilling a boulder, I was 12-14 feet off the ground. The boulders had been shot, any boulder that was too big to go through a rock crusher I had to drill these boulders. Do to the previous shot there were cracks in the boulders of course. While I was jack hammering the rock split, I fell, and around 300-400 pounds rolled on top of me. At the time a piece of it hit my ankle, so I thought I had broken my ankle. That was my immediate response, I broke my ankle.
Through the injury I was sent to some workman’s comp “doctors.” They put me through a work hardening program. With the MRI I had they said, “Well you had this before and you had it from birth.” I said I’m sorry, I wasn’t born like this. One day I have an injury and I’m in constant pain. I’m another one “milking the system.”
They sent me, after a back injury, they said I had a pulmonary embolism on top it. They sent me to an orthopedic leg doctor on a back injury. I let them do what they wanted to do, then I made the choice after seeing this doctor, that doctor. Going to a physical therapist who said they could not work on where I was hurting, which I made this comment every time I made the visit.
Workman's comp doctors said I’m another one “milking the system.”
My attorney recommended that I see Dr. David McCord, for his cutting edge surgery that reduces the recovery time. At the time I didn’t know a lot about back surgery, all I knew is that some people never got better after it. After I had seen all of workman’s comp “physicians” who said you just need to get over it, Dr. McCord said there’s no way your back is being held together by scar tissue, and the MRI plainly shows this. So I opted to have a back surgery so I could get back to living some type of life. I didn’t want disability, I didn’t want to sit on the couch, as 20 years ago I was relatively had a lot of life before me.
I chose to have the surgery, which at the time was very cutting edge. There were only a few that I checked with the information I had, that were qualified to do the surgery. I had already talked to other people who had botched surgeries. At the time, you just take a gamble and roll the dice. Either you want life or you don’t, but you have to take a chance otherwise you’re stuck with living where you’re at.
The surgery was very painful, at best. It’s back surgery, and the recovery time I remember muscle spasms in the middle of the night, it’s just horrendous. But due to the procedure, I’m a hunter and fisherman and that’s one thing I wanted to get back to doing, enjoying life. You work hard, you play hard.
I never did go back to that state system, they said I did not have a “job” for me. Course it was political, I chose to find employment elsewhere. I slowly got better, I knew walking and exercise was the key to recovery. Through time and effort, I got back to hunting and fishing, that was very rigorous. The experience was 18 months of recovery time then, for the bone to be fused back. I had part of my bone and part of a donor bone, which I chose to use. I thought somebody’s been generous to give this, not to mention the less I have to recover from the better off I’m going to be in the healing time.
The pain got better and better, the more exercise I would do, the better off I’d be. The more walking, especially. They had me on an anti-depressant. I later found out the drug was very controversial to begin with. You feel like you don’t have a life anymore, your future is pretty much bleak. You’re not going to do this, you’re not going to do that. You’re going to work, I was at wits end. Are you going to live like this or do something?
I asked my attorney and said I can’t afford this. We’ll do whatever it takes and we’ll sue them for it. We’ll let a judge listen to it. They can say what they want. Their opinion is what it is. The bottom line is my choices. Do you want to be in pain forever, or want your life back. I chose to have my life back.
This is how I came back to Dr. McCord. I hadn’t seen him in 20 years, hadn’t been in contact with him. If I don’t need a doctor why should I go? I made the decision to have my life back and do the things I was meant to do. Not taking someone’s word “Well, you’re just this way and that’s how you’ll be the rest of your life. Grow up, just accept it, take the world on as it is.” But Dr. McCord said, “We can fix you. We can fix you. You can do these activities that you used to do.” In that decision, I did. I’ve been an avid fisherman and hunter. I grew up with my children, played ball, ran with them, played with them. Did everything you take for granted until you’re injured and you can’t.
"We can fix you. We can fix you. You can do these activities that you used to do.”
I was a father of quadruplets at the time, so if you can imagine taking care of four babies at one time. I raised them up and played an active part of their life. But when your child wants to throw the ball, kick the ball...I can do all that. If I hadn’t had the surgery, I wouldn’t have been able to do it. Probably wouldn’t be here today. In his confidence talking with him, he talked to me like I was a human being, not a subject. He said we’ll fix you. I was resigned to not having a life when they said I wasn’t going to have one. They said I wouldn’t do these things. I would not be in a gym, I would not be able to hunt, climb a tree in a treestand, would not be able to sit on a boat for hours on end fishing, no hiking. If I wanted to hike and climb up bluffs I had that opportunity because I made the decision. Making the decision wasn’t easy, like I said everybody I had talked to said “You better not have back surgery!” Otherwise you’ll never do anything again.
Why I came back to Dr. McCord this time is he had done my previous surgery successfully and I got my life back!