Holy Motherfucking Shit: The Battle of the Bulge in my Spine.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 | 1 Comment(s)

I know they say that on your Bar Mitzvah you become a man, but i say it happens when you hit 10 of 10 on the happy to cry-y face pain scale.  How do you know it's ten of ten.  Well, tears squeezing out of your eyeballs like grapefruit juice are a good sign.  If biting on something helps, that's another clue.  If the faces around you all have a mixture of pity and horror, you're probably there. 

I got there Monday.

3 weeks ago I went to the University Health Center (i have to start there because of my insurance) and the so called doctor there put me up on the table and he saw how i was shaking in pain.  I wasn't sleeping well at night and i was hoping to get some indication of the severity of the injury.  When he asked what I had done for it, i told him that id taken some of the gf's old muscle relaxants (per friendly docs' advice) and he seemed to frown upon that.  He said to come back in 4-6 weeks when he gets back from vacation and to go to physical therapy downstairs.  As he was leaving, I asked if there was anything i could do for the pain.  He saw me shaking.  He saw the pain right in front of him.  He said i could take more of my anxiety meds as needed (it's also a kind of muscle relaxant).  I didn't particularly like that, and eventually i went elsewhere to get some form (ANY FORM) of pain control.  I will say now that it was this doctors blase and negligent evaluation that led to the trauma i went through on Monday.  It's also fair to say that im pissed about it.

On Monday I went to my 7th PT session.  It was not unlike the prior visits.  That said, at the end of the appointment, i got off the table funny.  Something tweaked.  Whatever it was, it made walking painful once again as i went to my car.  After a 3 minute drive to my office building, I began the 4 minute walk to my office.  Pain.  Pain pain pain.  I took a break on the steps outside.  At the elevator another break.  By the time i was walking down the hall to my office I was in severe pain.  Enough pain to sit on a chair with wheels in the hallway to take another break 10 yards from my office.  My adviser saw me and helped me wheel to my office.  I relaxed.  Sitting on the right buttock hurt.  Sitting was hurting.  For whatever reason i went to my lab meeting a few minutes later (it's why i was there).  While we were meeting, the pain got sharp enough that i went to lie on my back.  I've seen Larry Bird do it, so i figured it would work for my to.   I should add that going to the floor during a lab meeting is unusual behavior, and i would really only go that way in the face of "fire ants down my back and right leg" pain.  Lying on my back didn't help.  At all.  And the next thing i realized was that I couldn't even sit up on my own.  Panic.  Pain.  The word pain is hidden in panic for a reason.  If lying on my back during the meeting is strange, calling across the room to my colleague (and friend) to come pull me up to a sitting position is . . . humbling.  Helpless. 

A minute or so later I excused myself and went back to my office.  The pain was constant now and there was no position i could put my body in that didn't hurt.  Then, i couldn't really move.  Panic.  Pain.  Think.  think.  Now, while i realize that going up to my office on this day instead of going home or to a hospital probably wasn't brilliant (how could i predict this?!?), but i am proud that at the point of immobility, I realized that this was why 911 was invented.  I called.  They transferred me to the schools 911.  They were there in a matter of minutes.  And any minute between this point and the moment i got some morphine were extremely memorable and painful minutes of my life.  I appreciated the hustle.  As i was helped, moving similar to Golem, to the stretcher, the first 10 of 10 occurred.  Nothing they could do yet (meds in the truck).  I tried not to scream as my eyes watered and the stretcher jarred over the elevator bumps.  the younger EMT, a woman, was trying to play the "tough girl, have a sense of humor about things" card.  I have a better than decent sense of humor.  But at that moment her flippancy in the face of my misery made me want to rip her throat out.  Ha ha. 

I was glad she was driving.  The older medic, who in my recollection looked like "the Commish w/ mustache" and took a more professional approach.  He was kind and good spirited while taking me seriously.  After the first splash of morphine, my humor improved.  2 minutes later it came back again, and the Commish, who called everyone "skippy" and thus was called Skippy in return) was kind enough to give me a second dose of the drugs.  Phew.  Drugged out and the pain at bay, i, for the first time faced the recognition that something was very very wrong.  Had i been more with it, this is where i would have been scared.  As it was, i just kinda, went with the flow.  What else could i do. 

When I got situated in the ER, the first does of pain meds was in me.  I had taken a percocet then the morphine, and i think they added vicodin.  I remember the vicodin not helping.  And then thinking, "vicodin's not working."  I'm not sure i remember how much time went by after that.  My mom got there.  I was shifting a bit uncomfortably on the bed/stretcher.  When my gf arrived, the pain meds were up.  Horrible timing.  Just as she was getting acclimated to the situation (not my abs), i went 10 of 10 for the second time.  If being in severe pain is bad, for me, being in that much pain in front of those who love me is worse.  Not sure why.  Maybe i feel embarrassed--or badly that i'm putting them through the pain of having to see me in pain.  Either way, i don't like it one bit.  After what seemed like an age, I got another dose of meds.  Strong ones.  The pain once again subsided. (are you seeing a pattern?)

That was the worst of it.  By nightfall, i had come to a resting level of comfort.  I was going to go home, but after 3 minutes on my feet going to and from the bathroom, the pain came back.  I really didn't want to go for a third 10 of 10.  I'm still scared of it right now.  I was admitted for the night. 

And that my friends is part one of my tale about my tail.  stay tuned.  and stay thirsty my friends.

In more positive news: Grams is doing great and my friend Sam sent me a get well flower/stuffed bear package, and the bear is REALLY lifting my spirits.

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