Monday, February 20, 2012

And back to the sick bed

Something you should know about me: about a year and a half ago (October 2010) I had back surgery. I have been struggling with back pain for some time. It started in February of 2010, I began experiencing lower back pain. Then it slowly moved into stabbing pain that went down my leg. I kept going to see my doctor and chiropractor but there seemed to be no stopping the pain. My doctor just kept saying it was stress from planning my wedding (May of 2010) and wouldn't take it very seriously. Sitting and standing hurt, laying down was often the only relief. When we returned from our honeymoon it started to spread across my lower back and up and down my back as well. The pain down my leg was pure agony. Sitting and standing now became unfathomable - lying was the only way to experience any small break - and even then it still ached all the time. 

Finally after 1000's of dollars at the chiropractor, and nights spent crying on the floor since sleeping in the bed next to my hubby was too painful, I decided to seek yet another opinion. I went to the ER in the middle of the night...after hours there a doctor finally heard that my symptoms were more than a pinched nerve. By prescribing me some heavy duty pain pills, he started the process of fixing the issue. When my normal doctor saw what he prescribed and that it had helped he sent me for a CT scan. The CT scan showed that one of the discs in my back was sticking out, and had broken off. There were small pieces of disc sticking into my spine. They immediately knew they needed to do surgery. I had to wait a few months before I could have the surgery but in October of 2010 it finally happened and I have been pain free ever since. Wahoo.


As I mentioned in my last post I went to the Island this weekend. I had a lovely ferry ride over - I blogged, read, drank my latte and enjoyed the view. 

As I started to walk off the ferry I noticed that the dull ache I'd begun experiencing in my lower back of the past few days had spread to my upper back. It felt a bit like my pre surgery pain. I couldn't fully straighten my body. It was a bit worrying but I didn't really know what to do, so I just proceeded as normal. I met up with my Nana, who was picking me up from the ferry, and we headed in to town for dinner. After dinner I really couldn't straighten out - I was completely hunched over, almost bent in half. My nana was quite worried. When we returned to her house I layed down on the floor for a while and that made a HUGE difference. I started to feel much better. And the laying down straightened out my body a bit and I could walk mostly straight, which was a great surprise. Though my body quickly retreated and again i couldn't stand. I was worried I would need to cut my trip short and head home in the morning. We thought we would see how I was in the morning and re evaluate. After an evening talking with my nana (which was lovely) and laying on the ground, I went to bed at 10pm. Laying down felt great!

When I woke up at 10am, I felt wonderful. My lower back still hurt but I could totally stand straight up, which was lovely. I decided to stay for the day and visit with my friend Rachel as intended, and then visit with my Aunt in the evening. I'm so glad I got to do both. I haven't seen Rachel since the weekend before I got married almost two years ago...and she now has a four week old baby. It was so great to connect with her. I love having her as a friend - I miss living in the same town as her. Afterwards I went for a lovely walk around the Gorge with my Nana and then met up with my Auntie Lesley for dinner, and she bought an iPod Touch and I got to help her set it up. It was very fun.

The Gorge - so beautiful
 Auntie Lesley's new iPod Touch
 Mmmm Subway Sandwich - Italian BMT

After we left dinner and headed to the ferry I found that the pain had now travelled to the leg, from the hip down. It was starting to get scary. After my aunt dropped me off at the ferry and I started linking in, I realized I could hardly handle the pain in my leg. The ferry attendants saw my struggle and offered me a wheelchair ride on, which I in no way could refuse since the pain was getting so bad I thought I would throw up. 

The attendant wheeled me  onto the boat, and found me a spot to lay down in. I was able to be pain free while I laid on the ground between the seats. I was so thankful for that, though so scared by how badly it hurt when I stood. Thankfully I didn't have to pee or that would have been excruciating. 

When I arrived in the Mainland Paul was there to pick me up - he had brought two of my best friends, Jodi and Stefany with him. I am so thankful that all three of them were there - it took all of them to get me into the car. The car ride was terrible, since I couldn't lie totally flat. When we arrived at VGH we were again so thankful there were three of us - Paul took me into the hospital with a borrowed wheelchair and the girls went to park the car and grab my comfy pants from my luggage. They were all an amazing team. 

The admittance nurses at the hospital were terrifying and totally mean, and since doing anything by lying down was intensely painful and made me cry, AND i had to sit up to answer their questions, this was not a pleasant situation. BUT i was admitted and able to lay down in a bed within half an hour, and was seen by a doctor with a plan being put in place within an hour, so I'm pretty pleased with VGH, even if their admittance nurses are really rude. 

The doctor thinks I either have scar tissue from my last surgery that is being a problem, or that there is another disc that is sticking out, same as the last one. We need to wait until we hear from my surgeon to find out if he'll want an MRI or CT scan to determine the problem. So all they could do for me was prescribe pain pills, tell me not to go to work, and send my info off to my very busy surgeon. I was under instruction to take at least a few days off (which he didn't need to tell me since i can't actually stand for more than a minute without screaming) and to make sure I got in touch with my surgeon to get an appointment. 

After they prescribed some pain meds and gave me some there I was free to go. While Paul went to fill my prescriptions, the girls helped get me dressed. I felt like a giant baby. You know how when you dress a baby they can't help you? Yeah, that was me. Moving hurt. If someone picked up my leg and moved it for me, that could be relatively pain free but if I used my muscles to do it it was agony. So my two lovely friends put my pants on, my shirt, etc. It was hilarious for us. We were all laughing so hard - it was just so ridiculous. It was also a definite bonding moment!

The three of them drove me home, Paul carried me into the house while the girls followed with my belongings. Paul tucked me into bed, and then drove the girls home. It was quite the home coming! I then proceeded to lay in the bed all night, the pain meds barely touching the pain, unable to sleep except fitfully. Paul had to carry me to the bathroom a few times, and we have no reached new levels of intimacy that way - when you have to hold someone up so they can wipe, your relationship will naturally do that, haha. 

I spent Sunday on the couch. As long as I am lying down the pain is only at a 4 or 5, generally. The second I stand it rockets up to a 9 or 10. Terrible. Paul made us lunch (breakfast for lunch) and dinner (chicken satay stir fry) and Stefany and Jodi came by for a visit later. Other than the pain, it was actually a nice relaxing time. Paul and I have started watching Star Gate and he is stoked that I like it. 

I woke up this morning (Monday) feeling pretty good. I could roll onto both sides (which I couldn't do Sunday). I could get up to go pee - woo! But that was about it. Unfortunately when I got up to move to the couch in the living room I realized that I was in more pain than I thought - I finally landed on the couch in tears. I had been hoping to grab some cereal since I was really hungry and felt pretty defeated. But then I remembered that Paul's sister (who lives next door) might be home - I called her and she immediately came over and made me cereal and poured me some juice. My friend Stefany is is here now for lunch and a visit. 

I am waiting for my surgeon to call me back to let me know when I can come in - if you're a praying person I need prayers that I will be able to get an appointment today or tomorrow and that I'll be able to have this resolved ASAP so I can get back to work because I don't get paid for sick days since I'm on contract...and my boss goes away on vacation soon so I'd like to get back to helping her. 

ANd that is the saga of why I am sitting on my couch in the middle of the day.


Anonymous said...

That sounds like quite an ordeal! My goodness.

I hope that you feel better soon, and hopefully the doctors will be able to fix the issue, on more than just a temporary basis this time.

All the best of luck, and may G-d grand you a speedy recovery!

LeAnna et David said...

that all sounds horrific. I'll be praying for you.

I don't know anything about it, or even if you'd qualify because you're on contract, but if you can't get back to work right way you might want to look and see if you can claim short term disability.


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