Well, you're certainly on the right track. You're taking the steps that I would have recommended, had you not mentioned them here first. Still, there are other factors that might be contributing to the inability to transfer the media from the card to the PC or other device. If you're still having this problem, let me know. I've got some suggestions that will get you back on track!
Have you tried connecting the phone to the computer in "mass storage" or "mount as disk drive" mode? It load as if there are two external drives. One is the phone internal storage and the other is the sd card storage. Depending on how you had setup the camera settings, your pictures might be on either one of the drives. They would be in a DCIM folder in both cases.
I have successfully mounted the phone and can see folders (including a DCIM folder) in explorer. However, I looked into each folder and don't see the photos. I tried searching for files created this past week, and get nothing. Tried searching by type, but don't see them in recent dates.
I still can see them on the phone, so I know they are there.