Above photo: Me with my daughters, Alyssa & Kayla (2010)
My name is Robert Hinton. I have enjoyed the last 45 years of my life because I have accomplished many dreams. I graduated from High School in 1992 and married my High School sweetie, Lee. Lee has been my wife for the past 22 years. I was a Licensed EMT and Firefighter with the Primrose Fire Department, in North Smithfield,RI. I have also had the pleasure of working with a great medical team selling Medical Equipment for Invacare in Holliston MA.
In my spare time I enjoyed oil painting, home improvement projects, cooking, making jig-saw puzzles, collecting Disney Memorabilia and being a Dad. I have had the pleasure of coming from a wonderful family background which has included travel, two wonderful parents, two younger sisters, aunts, uncles and wonderful grandparents. I also have a great mixture of family heritage which includes Irish, English and Italian. I can tell you we had great suppers growing up.....everything from meatballs and sauce to corned beef and potatoes. My "Barber? " Fred McCormick, Fred's Barber Shop, S. Attleboro, MA once told me ... ?If you have your health, you have everything the world has to offer". I always remembered that........little did I know, that years later, I would pray for that same thought nightly.
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My Trip to Hell is about to begin
I had the surgery in May of 2005. It was needed due to a car accident I was in in February, 2005. It went well, I thought, I was on the road to recovery. I had no idea what type of Hell, I would encounter and bring my family into. It was twelve days after surgery, I awoke from a sleep, screaming in pain...my entire shoulder and arm felt like someone poured gasoline on me and lit a match. In the months that followed, I realized this burning pain did not stop. It caused a great mystery to the doctors which I saw. I was looking for an answer, hope, a doctor that knew what I was feeling. I did not find one.
I was in so much pain the doctors checked me for blood infections, bone diseases, pinched nerves, muscular dysfunction diseases, even psychological disorders?all tests and exams came back negative. It was a mystery?.except the pain continued to spread, from my arm to my right foot, to my right leg. It was the morning of January 21, 2006 when I awoke to see that my right foot was a strange shade of purple and blue. I did not know it but this would be a key sign which eventually would diagnose my illness. I decided to call my primary care doctor who immediately ordered a full body blood pressure exam which also ruled out blood clots. The exam was normal. I kept a diary of sorts from this point on of what I was feeling daily for what reason, at the time, I did not know. I started having ice cold hands and feet,daily. It was not until June 2006 when I would finally know what to call my illness?.June 16, 2006?I was home alone, when I received a letter explaining all of my symptoms from one of the doctors which I had been seeing.
The beast, as it is called by some is RSD, CRPS, or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. I said to myself, great now let?s get this treated, fixed and my life straightened out. I missed painting, working, the fire station, being and EMT many other things. I went online to look up the diagnosis, since I had never heard of it before. I just remember not being able to take a breath and having tears stream down my face. I sat at our desk and cried. I lost all hope. I even closed the door on my faith, my wife, Lee and my family. I got angry, very angry at everything and everyone. I started to have days were I was not able to walk and some were I could not even get out of bed. I started to fall down stairs at our apartment. I could not take the pain and started to use a cane. I was in another car accident on my birthday, October 26, 2006. Again, I was hit. I started to have signs of the RSD spreading to the left side of my body after this accident. It first started in my foot. It quickly went into my leg and up into my spine and head. The pain was terrible; I cried taking a shower; because the water felt like bullets hitting my skin. I had sweats so bad that I would need to change my clothes 3 or 4 times a day. The burning pain was killing me from the inside out. I did not want to live anymore. I prayed for God to take me home to Heaven. I waited and waited?.I realized it would not be my time to go.
I started having nerve blocks, epidurals and medical cocktails given to me to comfort my pain. It did not work?none of it did. The pain got worse. I started having severe migraine headaches that would last for days; I was having body tremors, I was choking on medication and food. I could not take it?.I spoke to my friend, Richard, a pastor. He told me to read the Book of Job, in my Bible. I was not in the mood to read this, I felt as God did not care, why read about him. I found that Job also had been tested by God, losing everything, but in the end getting more because he barred his cross. I then realized that this was my cross, God did not dessert me, he challenged me. I realized then that I did not want people to suffer like I did to get diagnosed with RSD. I want to help people with RSD; we have a voice which needs to be heard; many things need to change. I am still working on this, I have meet wonderful people along the way too. I have also had the opportunity to meet incredible doctors that care, like Dr. Schwartzman.
During an interview in the living room of his Cumberland, RI residence on Wednesday afternoon, July 1, 2009, this is a close-up view of the the right shin of Robert Hinton who suffers from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy(RSD)/Complex Regional Pain syndrome(CRPS). The skin discoloration which is one of RSD's symptoms an range from dark blue to purple to dark red and can change within minutes, according to Hinton.