Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The end of the Pity Parade

Yeah, have a great excuse for not posting. It's true. I didn't want to be Debbie Downer on the interwebs where the proof of the occurrence would last forever and a day. I shall explain.

*Insert wavy flashback effect here*

Mid-April my back went out. It was a re-occurance of a weight lifting injury that was my own fault. Then a week after that my Mom fell and broke her arm. The upper bit, near the shoulder in what the doc called a spiral fracture. There was a big how-do-you do where the ER doc was stoned or just plain dumb, because he sent her home and said it wasn't life threatening so she would have to wait a couple weeks till surgery. Please note, he told my 50 plus year old mother whose arm broke bad enough it had flipped around backwards to just chill with some advil. Oh, and no changing out of those clothes either, we dont want to aggravate it.

After many calls to family and friends, some of them in the medical field, a medical type swung by her house to check her out and scheduled a doctor visit/surgery. A metal plate, 14 screws and a week later she was finally taken care of. Left a nasty scar on her upper arm.

Add onto my mothers injury my own angry back and the fact that May 01, 2001 (nine years and a couple of days to when my mom broke her arm) my father was killed in an accident at his place of work. This delightful emotional cocktail meant I wasnt in a mood to chat with anyone and leave them better than depressed until a couple weeks into May. And that was when my back really got angry.

Apparently when it had went out in April a disk had slipped. Well, around May 15th as I put on my tennis shoes, the disk ruptured. Of course, I didnt know this at the time. All I knew then was by the end of the day I had trouble walking to my car after work. Then the next morning I couldnt get dressed. I went to see my doctor and he set up an MRI, but it was a couple weeks away. I thought I could manage.

I couldn't sleep more than a couple hours at a time due to random spasms of intense pain. Then after a couple days of that I woke up with a spasm that lasted 45 minutes. I've never felt anything like it. Pain so intense I was seeing colors, screaming, gritting my teeth. My poor wife must have thought I was dying. Of course, this was a Sunday and I couldn't get ahold of any of the medical professionals I rely on. For some reason I thought it could wait and no trip to the ER was necessary.

Thankfully on Monday I got the doc to prescribe some intense pain killers over the phone. This numbed the pain to a dull roar, kept the spasms to short and random and made sitting in the easy chair (where I would sleep and spend most of my next several days) tolerable.

June 8th I got to go in for an MRI. Apparently this was the earliest anyone could see me. A month of pain and my free-fall of faith in the medical bureaucracy that started with my moms ordeal continued the entire time. When the results of my MRI came back it showed that my disk had ruptured with such enthusiasm it pinned my spinal cord against the back wall of my spinal canal, setting off every pain receptor I had from the waist down. A handy wikipedia image of what my MRI looked similar too is below.

So, as you can imagine, I was a very crabby kid for about two months. My wife is a saint for putting up with me as well as she did, putting up with the responsibility of all of the household chores that I could no longer handle along with my sterling demeanor. The neurosurgeons and spinal specialists (very nice and capable folks once I was finally able to get in to see them) told me to wait a couple weeks to see if the pain improved. If it did, no surgery. If not then they'd make a pop top out of my L5 vertebrae and remove that disk (an option someone of my young years should want to avoid).

Thankfully around late June the pain started to fade a little and I could walk more than 10 yards without having to stop and catch my breath. By mid July it had faded to a mild discomfort that the doctors said meant I could avoid surgery. Now a couple ibuprofen every few hours keeps the pain at bay, and I can do most things again.

IE, I am finally a decent person to be around and no longer the model of depression and discomfort. Plus, I got all the pity party out of me in one post. Now to catch up on what happened since march, including a recap of Planet Comicon.

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