Thursday, May 12, 2011

My Aching Back

My Aching Back
I awoke one day with a sore back.  I went to work and it got progressively worse.  I was experiencing severe spasms so bad I couldn’t stand and it felt like I would lose control of my legs.

By 4 o’clock, I was getting desperate and decided to go to the “Quacks”. 

I got in my car and proceeded to drive about 5 miles to the Chiropractor’s office.  During the drive I was in a lot of pain and continued to get the spasms.

The Chiropractor was someone I knew and had gone to briefly some years before. 

I didn’t have much faith in his services but didn’t know what else to do. 

My lack of faith stemmed from my sister-in-law’s experience with him.  She went to this particular guy and he had prescribed a series of treatments for her shoulder.  Around the 3rd or 4th time he gave her the treatment and said “now that’s better, isn’t it?” something he said after each treatment. Turns out he had looked at the x-ray backwards and adjusted the wrong shoulder.  She didn’t return.

I arrived in the parking lot and struggled out of the car.  I made it into the building and into his office by bracing myself against the walls.  I made it to the front desk and held on so I wouldn’t fall down.

The receptionist sweetly asked what I wanted.

I explained my problem and to their credit, a nurse immediately came out and helped me into a treatment room.

The room was cold and it made the spasms worse.  However the Chiropractor came in and started various treatments to see if he could alleviate the spasms.

After about 40 minutes, it was no better.

He informed me that he recommended I go to the hospital.  I of course thought he was crazy.

“Are you crazy? Stand me up,” I said, “and I’ll go home”.

“You drove yourself here?” he said somewhat aghast. “You need to go to the hospital”

“Stand me up,” I insisted.

They tried to stand me up.  I couldn’t make it and had to be lowered to the table.

“I’ve already called for an ambulance, and contacted an Orthopedist I know who will meet you there.  Do you want us to call your wife?” he said.

“Yeah, let me talk to her,” I answered.  They connected me.

“Barbara, I’m going to be a little late,” I told her.  “Nothing to worry about, I’ll see you home”.

The nurse, listening to this, took the phone away from me and spoke with Barbara. 

After giving me back the phone, Barbara informed me what an idiot I was and she would meet me at the hospital.

The ambulance arrived and carted me away.

I arrived at the emergency room and Barbara arrived shortly afterward.

Fortunately, it wasn’t busy and they took me in to be examined.  They did x-rays and then the doctor came in to see me.

“Well, we’re going to admit you and put you in traction,” the doctor said.

“Are you crazy?” I retorted.  A theme was emerging.  “I want to go home, I’ll be fine tomorrow.”

We argued back and forth; finally he said, “If you can get up off this gurney and stand by yourself, you can go home.”

“OK,” I said, “just give me a minute here.”  I valiantly attempted to rise.

They checked me in.

They put me in traction and gave me a shot which helped alleviate the spasms.  Barbara had gone home by then and called me.  She claims I was slurring my words, but I don’t remember any of that.

I woke up the next day and I was better.  The nurse came in and wanted to know if I wanted a sponge bath.  I told her I would shower myself, but if they wanted they could have that pretty nurse’s aide help me.  They declined my generous offer.  I showered alone

The spasms were gone and I was ready to leave.  The doctor had other plans.

He scheduled an MRI for that afternoon and was keeping me overnight again. I wanted to leave but if I left against doctor’s orders, my insurance wouldn’t pay. I stayed.

The next day he informed me I had a herniated disc and I should follow up with him.  He then discharged me.  He had given me instructions to keep my feet elevated in bed and not do too much walking.

I came home and told Barbara as per the doctor’s orders; I had to sleep on her side of the bed for a while.  The spasms had returned and I couldn’t walk very well to the bathroom.  Fortunately her side of the bed was closer.

That night, we were watching TV.  I had my feet elevated on a couple of pillow.  This blocked Barbara’s view.  After some complaining, I agreed to switch sides.  This meant a long walk to the bathroom, holding onto the walls.

My daughter was aghast at her mother’s actions.  I, the long suffering husband, just shook my head.

After a few days I was fine.  I didn’t have another episode for about a year. The next episode coincided with my birthday.  I stayed home, struggled to the bathroom when I had to go and just rested.

It was during this time that Barbara chose to give me my birthday present.

Picture me in pain, not able to walk because of the spasms. Barbara had gotten me a membership to a gym.  I lay there stunned.

It was a great present with bad timing.

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