May 15, 2005

not fun at all.

What a weekend! Not in the "Oh my goodness, I've had so much fun I can hardly stand it!" sense, but it the "It hurts so bad I wish I were dead!" sense.

It started out innocently enough. Wednesday I started experience mild lower back pain. I've had problems with my back before - and this didn't feel too serious. Thursday at work it felt worse, and so that night I did a few exercises on my exercise ball - a therapeutic strategy I picked up during physical therapy last year.

Friday morning I woke up feeling pretty good. I hopped out of bed and got in the shower with no problem. Although when I went to sit down after showering, something felt really wrong. I thought to myself, "Well, it's not so bad as to miss work, I'll just bring a pillow to help support me during the day - and then tonight I'll use my massaging heat pad, and all will be good."

I walked out of the house that morning feeling really tight. So when I got in my MINI Cooper, I put the pillow behind me for added support. It was a bit painful, but not so bad. As I started driving (stick shift just SUCKS when your back hurts) I was feeling worse and worse. I had gotten on the freeway, and things were getting really, really painful.

I thought that maybe the pillow just wasn't doing the trick for me. So I grabbed the pillow out from behind me and immediately felt all sorts of sharp pains shooting in all directions. The rest of the trip to work was me trying to play mind games - telling myself that the pain wasn't there - I was highly unconvincing to myself.

I got to work, relieved. I thought that the worst was over. Getting out of my car was enough to disprove that silly notion. I had not felt this sort of pain in quite awhile. Merely getting myself out of my car was enough to bring tears to my eyes. Trekking from the parking structure to the office building reduced me to full-on crying. Every step I was greeted with more and more pain.

I got to my desk, sobbing with pain. I was early enough to be almost alone in the room. A co-worker heard my sobs and came up to ask me what was wrong. I was standing, leaning against the dek in my cubicle, my hair sticking to my tear-streaked face, as I replied that my back was really hurting, and I just needed a few minutes to get myself together.

I had a single Motrin pill with me, and decided to get some water to take it. I walked to the watercoller, carefully got myself a half-cup of water, and then made my way back to my cube, the Motrin bottle and a tear-soggy paper napkin in one hand, my papercup in the other. When I noticed my boss in her office, I broke down.

She immediately came to my aid, helping me to her couch. She then called for paramedics. I was hurting so much. On her couch, I was actually able to get into an awkward position that felt a little relieving. Little did I know that this would be the most relief I would feel in a day or so.

The on-lot fire department guys showed up first. They took my vitals, and asked me what happened. And they stuck around until the paramedics arrived. They, too, took my vitals, and asked me what had happened. They got my on a gurney and rolled me out to the ambulance. I haven't felt this embarrassed in, well, I don't remember the last time.

I was then transported to St. Joseph's Medical Center, in Burbank. The laying position was not too bad actually. I spent a few hours there, a doctor who looked younger than me decided that I had sciatica, and prescribed me some extra-strength Motrin and Flexeril. A nurse came in to give me two injections - Toredol(sp?) and something else. I felt relaxed.

They discharged me, and I was left to walk out of the hospital, trying to carry my seemingly-heavy backpack. That actually felt like the hospital was being a little negligent. I called my boss, and arranged to have one of my co-workers drive my MINI home, and the other would follow to give that first co-worker a ride back to the lot.

Megan, the MINI-driving co-worker, picked me up - and the pain came on again trying to get into her shiny new Chili Red MINI Cooper S, back to the lot to pick my MINI up. The pain, THE PAIN! Whatever injections I had been given at the hospital was clearly not enough. Not enough at all. By the time I got home, I was exhausted with pain. My dad, who has a messed up toe himself, did me a favor by filling the prescriptions I was given by the hospital. I took a dose of meds and tried to sleep.

I had called Erik with the news as soon as I had been discharged from the ER. He sounded stunned, but wasn't too talkative. I later learned that he was just sitting down to lunch, so it was an awkward time. He called me a bit later, when I was in my MINI getting driven home. My biggest worry, at the time, was that I had a 10K mile service appointment for my MINI on Saturday, and a road trip planned for the next weekend. I asked Erik if he would consider driving my MINI to its appointment, and he didn't hesitate saying yes. He even mentioned that he planned meeting me at the dealership on Saturday anyways, to bring me coffee and hang out during my appointment - the guy could not be sweeter. That confession made it all better for a few minutes as I revelled in how cool a boyfriend he is.

So I was now at home, in pain. I couldn't move. And everytime I did, searing pain shot through my lower body. My dad was in no shape to help me, and my brother Matt couldn't really either. Erik called after work and offered to come over and help me through the night, and to drive me to the doctor's office after the MINI appointment. Again, he continues to amaze me.

The night was long and bad - but Erik made it as tolerable as possible. He helped me move, and massaged my head and held me while I was in pain. I love him so.

He left me in the morning to take my car in. When he got back, a couple hours later, I called the Toulca Lake Motion Picture Health Center to help decide if we should trek out there to see a doctor, or if I should just go to the ER in Simi Valley. They said they were so busy they couldn't promise to see me, so it made the decision much easier. Soon we were loaded up and off to the hospital.

I had hoped that they would do further tests - maybe an x-ray at least - because things just felt really wrond in my back area. The wait seemed really long. I couldn't get comfortable. Sitting was torurous, and I couldn't stand long before my legs started shaking. I was finally wheeled into a room and placed on a bed. I already felt more comfortable.

The doctor finally arrived, and she quickly decided that, because I couldn't remember falling or twisting oddly - no specific tramua to point at, an x-ray was not necessary. They gave me another injection of Toredol (what the previous ER gave me) and a shot of Morphine. Timepassed, and while I felt a little relaxed, the pain was still there. They gave me another shot of Morphine, and a different muscle relaxer. This one seemed to do the trick.

I left the hospital feeling relieved - even good enough to eat some when we got home. The rest of the day was pretty good - watching tv, napping briefly, and overall enjoying the drugged effect from the morphine. I was able to get up out of bed myself with little pain - walking was not a problem - I was feeling pretty warm and fuzzy. Erik left for home shortly after 10pm, and then I fell asleep.

This morning I woke up several times - in pain - the morphine had clearly worn off. It wasn't until around 11am that my dad had come home having filled my new prescriptions - for the muscle relaxer Robaxin and the pain-releiver, Vicodin. I took two of the Robaxin, and tried to get comfortable. Not feeling any relief, an hour later I decided to take one of the Vicodins. Still no relief, although I managed to sleep for a little bit.

I was in and out of a nap when Erik called me to check in. After talking for just shy of an hour, I decided I wanted to try to walk around. It did help a little. I stiffly took a lap around the house, and returned to my room and spent some quality time with my exercise ball.

I don't yet know if I'll be able to go to work tomorrow. And the road trip we were expecting to embark on next Saturday might need to be postponed until I fully recover. I'm not a praying-type of person, but I'm hopeful that my recovery from this will be light-years more speedy than the last time I suffered this type of acute back pain - the last time taking literally months before I felt normal again.

Okay, time to take another lap.

posted by julie at May 15, 2005 04:58 PM

things people have said

I am so sorry to hear that you have been in so much pain. When you hurt to much to enjoy time in a MINI. I hope you feel better soon both Brad and I know how badly back pain truly is. Aren't excercise balls wonderful. Since I have been using mine daily I have had very little back pain at all. That for me was truly amazing because a stiff back had just become part of my life. May next week be a better week for you.

so said: Karin at May 15, 2005 05:55 PM


so said: JORDAN HUTCHINSON at May 23, 2005 10:49 AM