View from my exam table

View from my exam table

You might recall that I threw my back out when I went to Connecticut in early September. It was so bad my doctor had to phone muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatory scrips to a CVS in Litchfield. I have had periodic back pain over the years, but nothing like this. When I got back to St. Francisville, I went to see our local sports medicine therapist, who got me back into shape.

Last evening, reaching into the freezer for something, I was at just the wrong angle, and boom, back went out again. This afternoon I went back to the sports med guy, who did the usual stretching therapy. But this time, something was different. When they finished, the pain was so bad I could not get off the table. I’ve been a very lucky man in my life; I’ve never felt pain like that before. When the doc and his nurse were finally able to help me stand, I was in so much pain that I would have collapsed if they had not been holding me. There was very nearly a sense of panic that came over me. What do you mean it hurts so bad I can’t even stand up?!

They got me into another room, and onto another table, where they started ice packs, and after that, a heating pad. That did no good. When they finally got me up and standing, it felt like my entire upper body was stacked on a block that was about to topple.

The doc said it was a tear in the something something around the disc. I had to wait for my wife to come get me (I was incapable of driving), and after a very slow and agonizing walk to the car, she drove me to my physician’s office, where they gave me two big, bad shots in the back. That helped somewhat, enough for me to be able to walk without feeling that I was going to topple over.

“This could become an emergent situation,” Dr. Tim said. “If you lose control of your bowels, or get to where you can’t feel your feet, you call me, even if it’s at two in the morning, because you have to get to the hospital right away.”

Wait … what?! This kind of thing does not happen to me. But there it was, happening to me. I swear to you, the pain was so intense that I would have taken anything, and confessed to anything, to make it stop.

Dr. Tim said there’s no way I can travel in this shape, so it’s looking like I’m going to have to postpone my trip to UNC-Chapel Hill. I’m not ready to accept this yet, so I’m hoping tomorrow I’ll wake up feeling a lot better, and all will be well. I am now taking the Hydrocodone Option, and on all kinds of heavy-duty muscle relaxants and steroids. And I am bound to my bed.

So if there’s not a lot of blogging tomorrow, you’ll know why. My wife has degenerative disc problems in her neck, and I’ve seen her in extreme pain before from it, but I honestly could not have imagined how bad it was until this afternoon. Pain so bad I shuddered to think about taking a step forward. Lucky, lucky man, getting nearly to 50 without having to contend with pain like this. Well, that’s over with. I’ll decide in the morning, when I see how I feel, if I can risk the trip to NC. I’ll be crushed if I have to postpone; I am so looking forward to it, and I even have an appointment to meet the great Stanley Hauerwas on Friday. Believe me, if I can come, I’m damn sure going to come. If not, I’m going to get out there as soon as I can reschedule it.

I did not plan for this. All because I reached down into the freezer at just the wrong angle.

UPDATE: Good morning. A restful night, thanks to Better Living Through Chemistry™. Walking is still really shaky, but it’s a lot better than it was yesterday. Back to the doctor at 9 a.m. Poor you, it looks like I can blog just fine, so absent a recurrence of distractingly intense pain, today is probably going to be a busy day around these parts. Let joy be unconfined.