Thursday, July 17, 2014

My Back

I elluded to this in a previous post but here's what's really going on with my back.

On July 6, I was out in the backyard doing some weeding and garden work.  I was in a crouched position and pulled on a weed and apparently that combo along with a twist put me in immediate and very acute pain.  I could hardly lower myself the rest of the way to the ground to sit down and there was definitely no way I was going to stand up.  I wasn't close to the back door; I didn't have my cell phone on me; and Troy was taking a nap.  That all overwhelmed me more than a bit.

After resting for a few minutes, I tried to scoot to the edge of some concrete steps thinking if I could get my legs down a few stairs maybe I could try to stand up.  Well, it was excruciating to move at all.  I'd scoot an inch or two and then take a break.  After what seemed like an eternity, a few bouts of crying, and some prayers, I was sitting on the wall by the stairs and had my legs where I thought I could rock myself up and grab the shovel that happened to be upright in the grass at the bottom of the stairs.  I was going to use the shovel as a crutch.  I'm really not sure how I managed to get the shovel and stand up but I did.  And then I saw Troy walk across the family room, thank goodness!

I waved for him to come outside which of course he did.  He later told me he thought I had broken something from the pained look on my face.  I explained what had happened and told him I couldn't really walk.  He was a support on one side and I used the shovel for the other side.  I took baby steps and that might be an overstatement.  It took us 30 minutes to go maybe 75 feet and up some stairs to get into the house--something that's normally done in a few seconds.

We decided to try laying down on the floor in the family room.  We quickly determined that wasn't an option because I couldn't bend to get down.  So we walked to the bedroom so I could lay flat on the bed.  That too was a slow process and a painful one at that.  The relief was overwhelming when I was finally laying flat on the bed.

The rest of the day was spent laying as flat as I could with my knees propped up on pillows using ice packets on my back.  My dad and step-mom came over to help Troy with a few things and also to see me.  They have also both been suffering with back problems and I heeded their advice and appreciated their sympathy.  My first trip to the bathroom and back to bed caused so much pain and I remember telling Troy it was worse than the labor pains I had with Hannah.  I truly didn't think I was going to be able to get back in bed.  Troy was trying to convince me to go to the ER but I knew there was no way I could get in the car much less sit in the car.  I told him if things were still as bad in the morning we would call for an ambulance to come and get me.

I took a hydrocodone that I had left from after Hannah's c-section around 8 pm.  I don't think it did anything to help my pain.  I tried to sleep but that was pretty much impossible.  Around 4 am, I decided to take another hydrocodone so that maybe I could get a little bit of sleep.  I think I managed 2-3 hrs of fitful sleep.  When I woke up around 7, I had to go to the bathroom again.  Troy helped me of course and as I was sitting on the toilet I told Troy I was either going to throw up or pass out.  Well, I passed out and scared Troy to death.  When I came to (which was a good while later according to Troy), Troy was talking to 911.  I managed to get back to bed and put some pants on before the EMTs arrived.  Dad and Frankie also came over to watch the kids so Troy could follow me to the hospital.

The EMTs gave me some narcotic (I don't remember which one) so that I could tolerate the ride to the hospital.  It was an uneventful ride and I remember thinking to myself I can't believe this is happening.  Once at the hospital, I was feeling much better.  It took a while for the doctor to come and when he did all he did was ask me what happened and how I was feeling.  That was the only time I saw him.  I was not impressed looking back on it.  Before they released me, Troy left to come home and get my car rather than his so I wouldn't have to lower myself into the car.  While he was gone I got a morphine drip.  Once that was done and Troy was back they released me--no x-ray or MRI was done.  If I had been more with it I would have requested one.  They did give me a prescription for a muscle relaxer at least.  

The ride home was awful.  Before we even pulled out of the parking lot I told Troy I thought I was going to get sick.  Thankfully, I keep a plastic trash can in my car.  I threw up twice and also had the dry heaves on the way home.  Let me just say that when you're having tremedous back pain that wretching motion is no where near comfortable.  I think it was so bad because I had so much medicine on an empty stomach.  

We got home and I got back in bed.  I was quite happy to be in my own bed again.  Frankie was still here taking care of the kids; it was so nice not to have to worry about them.  I was able to eat some lunch which settled my stomach a bit.  Later in the afternoon Troy took me to the chiropractor that Dad and Frankie have been seeing.  I wasn't too sure about this and didn't know what to expect.  They took a whole bunch of x-rays and came to the conclusion that I had two locations of at least a bulging disc (between L3 and L4 and also between L4 and L5).  The chiropractor gave me an adjustment, OUCH, and then I came back home.  Dad and Frankie stayed through dinner and then everyone went to bed early.

Tuesday morning I went back to the chiropractor and already I was walking a bit better although still not completely on my own.  He wanted me to have an MRI so the full extent of the injury could be seen.  After another adjustment which didn't hurt near as much, Troy took me to have an MRI.  The chiropractor called later in the afternoon to tell me not only were the discs bulging but there were slight protrusions as well.  He explained it all to me but I had a hard time following it all.  The one thing that stuck in my mind was he said he didn't think it was bad enough for surgery--hooray!  Frankie had come to stay with the kids again until we got home and then my mom arrived from KC around Hannah's nap time.  This situation would have been so much worse if it had not been for our families helping out and taking care of the kids.  

And now today, eleven days after I initially hurt my back I am doing so much better!  My mom and step-dad have been here all week taking care of all of us.  I am still going to the chiropractor every day and I truly believe that is why I am doing as well as I am.  I believe I turned a corner last Monday and I've gradually been doing more throughout the week.  Don't get me wrong, I still have a ways to go and I have to be very careful with my movements but I'm definitely headed in the right direction.

The hardest part of all of this was not being able to pick up or hold my kids for those first several days.  Hannah was constantly saying, "Mommy is sick" or "Mommy's back hurts."  On Tuesday afternoon after the chiropractor showed me a safe way to do it, I was able to pick Hannah up for the first time in over a week.  She got a huge grin on her face and said, "Mommy not sick!"  It brought tears to my eyes.  This is definitely not how I wanted to spend these weeks of summer especially since Luke starts kindergarten exactly 4 weeks from today but I'm very grateful to be on the mend and we'll make the most of these last few weeks before school starts.

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