CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION star George Eads suffered from a broken back for 12 years before doctors discovered the spinal injury.
The actor, 42, reveals he hurt his tailbone during a basketball game in the late 1990s but refused to go to the hospital because he wasn't adequately insured.
But back pain forced Eads to get his aches checked out by a medic earlier this year (09) - and he was stunned to be diagnosed with a very serious injury.
He recalls, "I was playing basketball about 12 years ago and I fell and hit my tailbone and both my legs went numb. I was a struggling actor sleeping on a futon and dirty clothes, didn't have any insurance or anything, so I just grinned and beared it and my back was really hurting for a long time.
"Then I went to the doctor and they took an X-ray and said, 'When did you break your back?' I think my pain threshold is a little bit high."
Eads was advised to undergo major surgery to correct the problem, but he had no idea he'd end up with screws holding his spinal cord together after the summer (09) operation.
He says, "They said they could fix it but it required surgery and it was a spinal fusion. I had the surgery done and had a post op check up a month later and my X-ray was stuck up behind the doctor. I said I felt great, and said, 'Well, it could be worse, I could be that guy (in the X-ray)!' The doctor said, 'You are that guy!' and I was like, 'I didn't know I was going to get five screws in my back!' and he replied, 'Well, what did you think a spinal fusion was?'"