After years of struggles, Everett resident begins recovery

Story, photo and audio by Morgan Spiehs, NewsNetNebraska

It’s not bold to say Peter Meyer was dealt a bad hand in life.

The 30-year-old’s difficult journey started in 2003, the summer after his freshman year, when he was helping his brother move a desk.

Everett resident Peter Meyer takes life day by day after suffering a debilitating back injury in 2003.

He was in good shape, having worked three summers before moving heavy materials at his job at Earl May garden center. But this was a really heavy desk.

“I strained harder than I had ever strained before,” Meyer said.

There was no pop, no crack.

But when Meyer woke the next day, he didn’t feel right.

“I had this sense something was wrong with my body,” Meyer said.

Over the following months, Meyer went from having sensations to excruciating pain from his lower back to his knees.

Meyer starting taking painkillers and said he was no longer himself.

“It had a bad impact on my interpersonal relationships,” Meyer said. “I never abused but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a big impact on you.”

Meyer uses a straw to show how a doctor explained his following successful surgery. The surgeon said his nerves were bent over a bone but they were straightened out and he should feel good as new in a year and a half.

“I was like, alright, in 18 months I’m going to feel better than ever,” Meyer said.

Eighteen months went by and Meyer was still waking up at eight in the morning to take painkillers and “be pain-free by the time ‘Cops’ came on.”

Another surgery later, Meyer now had a device in his lower back with lead wires applying electrical stimulation to his nerves.

“Chronic pain is like someone whispering in your ear and (the electrical stimulation) is like cranking up the stereo,” he explained.

After the surgery, things slowly got better. Then in 2008, his mother died suddenly.

After his mother’s sudden death Meyer “kept hanging out largely” and was granted disability benefits due to his condition and had to file for bankruptcy. Meyer has supported himself working at a grocery store and selling his plasma.

As of January, Meyer worked off his meds and lost over 30 pounds. He is looking for a path to get off government aid and is now working for a small cleaning company.

Meyer realizes he needs to work up a resume and skill sets before getting a job with benefits and pay more than minimum wage. But things are looking up.

“I’m feeling vastly better,” Meyer said. “Still taking it day by day.”

Meyer enjoys the different perspectives of fellow Everett residents: 

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