Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ow! My Back (pt 2)

So, my lovely blogees. When I last left you I'd been kicked out of our city's armpit ER with a pain pill to tide me over.


So I went into work Monday (because, yes, that's how I roll) in much pain, screaming out in horror when I had to take a shower, go to the bathroom, and pull my pants up and such.

So finally I decided to call in sick Tuesday (do you know what a massive thing that is for me?), and see Smokin' Dr Javier to see if, in fact, I needed that MRI I didn't want to have because it was not paid for my by insurance, the "Never Pay Policy."

Smokin' Dr Javier hit my knees with the little hammer, and then made me stand up. He ran his hands along my back, said, and I quote, "Ahhh," then stuck his thumb in a place in my buttocks that almost took me to the ground, and I was holding on to his 95-lb ass, so he almost went down with me.

I told him this was most precarious, as we didn't want to be found in the floor together all tangled up like that, as tongues would wag, and he laughed, then helped me to a chair and started writing.

His writing contained a refill of those pain-killing drugs I got in the ER, but not an appointment for an MRI. Instead he told me, "You need physical therapy and you need it immediately. Even one session could help." He told me to go home and wait, and he'd have me an appointment with someone he highly recommended. With a physical therapist.

And so at noon Tuesday, I met my new hero, Dr Everton.

I walked into his office and he started asking me questions about my situation. I found immediately he was British, which of course endeared me to him. He had a very droll sense of humor during all of the investigory questions.

He made me move this way and that, then told me that although I was in great pain, he thought my situation was not so dire. I had twisted and inflamed ligaments rubbing against my sciatic nerve. He also used the word "sacroyilliac" many times, which as a podcaster of the Hucklebug, I found comforting.

During our introduction and his making me go through some basic back and leg movements, we (somehow, I honestly can't remember) got to mentioning English football. That's when he told me he was an Everton fan. (Sorry, Stennie.) Then he asked me to put slip off my "jumper"(it was just a shirt) and put on the hospital gown he'd given me. I started doing that immediately, and he said, "Oh, no, let me at least leave the room first, love."

OK, this was my guy.

After I'd put on my hospital shirt and he made his way back in, Dr Everton asked me if I thought I could lie on my stomach on his bed. I did my best, and then - then! - he began to tell me how he was a "hands on" therapist.

He lowered my pants and undies, brought out some oils and an ultrasound machine, and began to rub.

And God, how he rubbed.

He massaged my hips and nether regions like you wouldn't believe. All the while, he told me his story (he was from Liverpool and began life as a printmaker, then followed his now-wife to Amsterdam where he studied physical therapy). He did a perfect Beatles Liverpool accent and a good Newcastle Geordie accent. We talked back and forth about England. It was bliss.

After the massage, I got off the table, and still had that screaming (remember?) sensation, but I felt better. I could almost stand upright. He scheduled me for another appointment on Friday. To be honest, I couldn't wait.

He gave some exercises to do in my chair at home and at work that would help loosen up the muscles. Push the back in, feel the strain, then relax the back, feel it let loose. He said to do it all day, every fifteen minutes, no matter what (even on the toilet), then I needed to move.

He was worried my insurance wouldn't pay for his sessions. (What are you talking about? I knew it wouldn't, but I was prepared to pay it myself, whatever the cost.) After I got home that Tuesday, he called me at home to ask how I was doing, and to say that the insurance wouldn't pay, and he was so sorry (Mr Socialized Medicine), but he'd try to get the "Blue Cross" rate for it for me. Didn't matter to me. That ass massage was golden. (And let's be honest, his working the system, less than half the price of an appointment with Smokin' Dr Javier. And still, he apologized. What a guy!)

So I came home and did my exercises. Push, push, feel the strain, then relax. Then move. Get up and lumber around the house or office. Where the first step made me realize how much pain I was still in. Well... hoo de hoo.

I saw him again Friday, and told him I wasn't so much feeling it (I was near tears when I entered his office), because all of the things I do in a morning's time (showering, taking Milo out, going to the bathroom, getting dressed) were the things that made me scream out in pain.

He wasn't the least bit worried. He told me that the push and strain exercises would help, but the key was to move. All the exercises led to movement. But - before my next ass massage - which, let me tell you was wonderful and I swear I could have one every single day - he stressed "movement" wasn't lumbering around a house or office, it was moving my sore leg and hip.

And so I got my ass massage (which, let me tell you, etc), and after I got back to work after that, I stood up every half-hour and moved my leg. This way and that. Leaned to the right and left. Put my leg forward and back.

And I'm not kidding - by about 2pm, I was really starting to feel a difference. I could move! I could stand up and walk without crying. I went to the bathroom and didn't once scream while pulling up my pants!

That Dr Everton knows his stuff!

And so Friday and most of Saturday was a revelation. I could do my normal daily tasks without screaming and crying. (Remember screaming and crying?)

Saturday was not so good, and all my fault. I drove the drive to B'burg, then watched a movie with my buddies, and didn't do the whole "strain-push-get up and move."

And how I paid. Saturday overnight was torture, I got almost no sleep.


I got up Sunday morning and started the whole thing again. Push, strain, move. Move, move, move. It helped, almost immediately.

I see Dr Everton again tomorrow. I can't wait to tell him I've had some progress, but more than that, I can't wait for my ass massage.

Insurance or no, "Blue Cross" rates or no, I want that ass massage. Forever. From tomorrow till the end of time.

With the rates he got me from his apologies that we in the US have no socialized medicine, I'd be happy with two ass massages every week the rest of my life!

But I'm progressing, blogees.

Slowly. Did I mention I can't wait for my ass massage tomorrow?


Ow! My Back! (pt. 1)

Hello, my long-lost blogees.

Yes, I know, I've been away a long time. I'd like to say that's because I've been off doing really exciting things, but, well, you know me. That's not the case. I've just been living my normal life.

And speaking of my normal life - hey! How about my back?

I've often talked about my back being "out," throwing out my back when lifting and slinging and doing hard tasks around the Poderosa, the things one has to do because only one lives at the Poderosa.

But then.... There's that other thing I've mentioned.

I don't know if you yourself have heard me mention it, but I have, many times. Between work and doing Paw Duty and working every day and living a life at a house where's there's only one gal to do all the stuff. "I'm just a mule, and one day this mule's back is gonna break."

And well, it did.

Over a week ago I found myself down in my back. And I'll be honest right here in the old blog, I have NO IDEA how it happened. I got up on a Tuesday. I got ready for work and got ready to leave, and I took Milo out for his pee and poo and got dressed and everything was as usual.

Then when it was time to go to work, my windshield was frozen over from the cold, and I had to scrape it, but then, I've scraped windshields for over 10 years, right?

I came into work, sat down, took a phone call, then went to the bathroom. And when I came back to start the rest of the day, my back was out. It hurt. I had no idea why. I was OK during the ice scraping, during the bathroom break - it was a mystery. But my back hurt, and that was it.

I endured it that entire week, babied it and tried to get it better, but to no avail. Then came the weekend. The weekend I had Paw Duty.

That was the Saturday after the initial Tuesday of my back going out. I didn't particularly want to do Paw Duty, but it was my weekend, so that was that.

There was a point, right there in the grocery with Paw, where I started to cry from the pain. I put my shirt up to my eyes to catch the tears. It was not a pretty sight. But still, there were cans and bottles to be lifted into the cart, and I did that, because I'm a dutiful daughter (mule), and that's what one does.

When we got the groceries back to Paw's house, he saw my shape and said, as he has in the past, to be honest, "Now, I'm carrying these bags into the house, you don't lift anything." And for the first time ever, I took him up on his offer.

I let him carry the bags into his house, then I went home. And I hurt. I kept thinking, "If there's just one place I could find a little peace...." and so I made that Fatal Mistake.

I went to bed.

I slept in my bed for over two hours. Which was nice, to be sure, but then I woke up and had to get out of bed.

And I couldn't.

My back had completely seized up. The muscles were gone, and all I could do, once I finally lifted myself from the bed, was to lumber around my house, screaming and crying.

Yeah. Screaming and crying. Remember that.

During all that screaming and crying, I wasn't sure what to do. I kept thinking of dialing 911, but you know, I have Milo, and I couldn't leave him in an empty house while I went off to the hospital.

So I called the parents.

I told them that if i could get in my car and drive the 2 miles to their house, I was coming, so at least Milo would have a place to stay if I had to confine myself. I threw Milo into the car, and screamed my way to their house.

And still....

It's hard to explain. In my town, the local hospital is an armpit. No one wants to go there, including myself. I tried to come up with any way possible not to end up in their ER.

I walked, I sat, I bended this way and that. I did everything I could think of doing. Three hours later, I finally decided that if I felt this way now, tomorrow and the next day couldn't be much better. I finally gave my dad the go-ahead to call 911.

And so they came.

Yep. So I screamed my way in an ambulance to the local ER, every bump and curve being a new reason for me to scream my lungs out.

I arrived at the ER and got evaluated. Yeah. I was a bit worried that I was one of the Saturday Night Crowd who wanted drugs (that's a natural around here), but they still went and looked me over, and did an X-Ray, and blood and urine tests.

Turns out I had no infections, and my X-Rays of the bones showed nothing amiss. They told me to follow up with my regular Dr, Dr Smokin' Javier, and that maybe an MRI was in order.

Yeah, OK. Total ER visit not paid by insurance, and now an MRI? I knew this routine.

They said they'd give me a shot to help the pain, one that would last for about two days. It didn't even last two hours. I was able to ambulate for a moment, then when they pronounced me ready to go, I was still unable to walk, screaming and crying (remember?) and leaning over various pieces of furniture to exist.

My dad (who had ridden in the ambulance with me) and I were kicked out of the ER. We had way no home, no one to call to get us home, but it didn't matter. We were duly released, and so we had to leave. It was 4:15 am.

The only person we knew to call was the bro-in-law's dad. He's a wonderful man who has spent his retirement taking care of lost souls. Oh, Lord, were we lost souls. He came and got us, and I professed such embarrassment that it it was, well, embarrassing.

I got two prescriptions to take home with me. One was a muscle relaxer, one was a pain pill. They gave me an extra pain pill there at the ER, and I took when I got home around 5 am. I slept a little bit, which was blissful, but let's be honest, I was wrecked and that was only a spot-relief.

But any relief was welcome as I slept a bit on Sunday, and went to work on Monday, cause that's how I roll, of course, but I was in just as much in pain.

I needed help!

So I followed up with Smokin' Dr Javier on Tuesday to see if that (non-paid, remember my health insurance) MRI was needed.

Stay tuned - what happened? Did I get better? Did I have to pay for an MRI I can't afford?

It's worth another check back, I promise!