Rocking the hospital gown look (or maybe not)
Ah, a week ago I would never have thought this would happen. At 4 am on July 4th – yes, right before a 3-day vacation weekend – I put Sam down in his crib and felt an agonizing pull in my back. I yelled for Wes and curled up in a miserable heap on the spare bed. I pretty much refused to get up and out, and the thought of putting weight on my feet made me cry. Dramatic? Yes. Justified? YES.
I did go back to sleep, but fitfully. The next morning I wanted to see a doctor, but as it was a vacation day, that would mean ER (or urgent care, who can generally do nothing of use in cases like these, except get you into ER quickly). ER seemed so over-the-top (my dramatic ways tend to end when the sun comes up), and more than that, required a $100 co-pay which didn’t even go towards our deductible. And I was convinced they would think I was making it up and trying to score pain meds. Plus, we had a party to go to that night, and one to prepare the house for tomorrow.
By 11 am, I knew I had to go. We went to Physicians ER in Sugarland who were amazing. They saw us in 10 minutes, were sweet, kind, played with Sam, gave him a popsicle, and diagnosed with me a pulled muscle. They gave me pain medication, muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatories (with a pain relief shot to boot) and sent me on my way. I woefully cancelled both parties (even though it was my birthday party being cancelled!) and lay in bed, awaiting miraculous relief. None came. 5 days later… still felt as bad, I could barely walk, sit, cough, laugh. So I googled. Never google. Google convinced me that I now had a life long back problem that would require several invasive surgeries, none of which would actually solve the problem.
In desperation I called my doctor on July 8th. She could see me on July 24th, which was just wonderful. We called Wes’ doctor, who was on vacation, and they could see my in a few days. Better, but not enough. So, I went to my old doctor, who is not on the Baylor cheap insurance plan, and got an appointment that day (thank you so much Medical Clinic of Houston, who have also always been pretty awesome). Here, they took a more detailed exam and diagnosed a bulging (slipped in the UK) disc.
My doc eyed me: “This is not good”, he said. “No”, I concurred. “Some people respond to conservative [i.e. surgery free] treatment. You might be one of them. Give it a week”. He sent me home with every drug treatment he could muster. I was on strong anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxers, steroids, and opiods for the pain. But the doc did at least say it was fine to be up and about and go back to work and live a normal life as I wished (at which point I thought ‘ooooh! I can run again’. But before I said anything he said “I mean, don’t go for a run or anything”. TY&^*!!).
2 days of horrible spaced-out whacked-out pain followed. I never respond well to steroids, and this was one of the largest sustained doses I have taken. The muscle relaxers made me sleepy, and the Vicodin made me very spacey – a feeling I have never liked. I found myself staring into space and work, speaking very slowly and unable to have a cheerful word to say. But finally, yesterday, the pain subsided and I reduced my muscle relaxers to half, and my Vicodin to a fifth. I still felt very low – steroids and opiods both do that to me so it was not a great combination- I came back from shopping, and looked and Wes and said “I just can’t find happiness in anything. I really want a craft beer though”. Never has be run to the beer shop so quickly 🙂
But today… today was glorious relief. It was tight, it was uncomfortable, but I only took NSAIDS for the pain (and inflammation), swallowed my last steroids, and had physical and psychological relief. I am still waiting for the side effects of the drugs to go away, but that is not a big deal.
I am so pleased to be very clearly on the path to recovery. And pleased to see that it can be done – let this go into into the inter webs as one success story for how slipped discs can recover, with drug treatment in timely manner.