Strange Brouhaha

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

In Which I Do Not Complain About Doctors

This post is turning out to be LONG. Sorry.

I'm sure you're wondering where I have been for the last week while I have not been posting. The answer is: flat on my back in bed.

Ever since I fell off a table and straight onto my backside a dozen or so years ago, my back hasn't really been right. (Being fat doesn't help either.) The pain comes and goes, but you get used to it. Of course, my back also gets aggravated by the usual things that aggravate backs--lifting heavy items incorrectly, that sort of thing.

So, it didn't help a couple of weeks ago when, being lazy, I tried to carry four bags of water softener salt in from the garage. All of them at once, that is, and for those of you who are blessed enough not to need a water softener, the salt I buy comes in 40-lb. bags. At one point in my life, carrying 160 pounds would not have been a problem (and in fact I used to carry only slightly less than that much around my midsection). That point is long gone.

The pain persisted for a while, and it also didn't help that after that time I continued lifting weights as part of my workout. I don't lift for muscle tone, I lift for strength, which means lifting as much as you possibly can. This is a mistake when you have back pain, even though you may be annoyed that you cannot lift as much as you did 15 years ago (despite the fact that you have not lifted anything more than a computer or two in the intervening 15 years).

Finally, last week Wednesday morning, my back hurt a lot. I did my workout anyway. By the time I got home, it was difficult to even stand up. I ignored it. "Do you want me to call the doctor?" asked Savannah.

"Nah," said The He-Man.

Next on the agenda was baking bread. I was kneading the dough: push, fold, turn. I took a step on my right foot and nearly blacked out, it hurt so much. Hmm. Maybe we oughta call the doctor. Nah. Tried the right foot again, everything's fine! No problem! Still couldn't stand straight, but it's okay. Covered the bread, bent over to stick it in the oven to rise. OW!

"Honey," I called out. "Maybe you better call the doctor."

Eventually, the nurse calls and says to Lay Down Flat NOW and ice the back while she tried to catch my doctor between patients to see if he'll write up a prescription. The ice didn't really help. And I had Bread To Bake. When the first rise was done, I limped down the stairs--hey, that right fooOH MY GOD--and pulled the bread out of the oven and punched it dAAAAGGHHown and split it and covered it to let it rest.

I decided, after shaping the loaves and getting them in the pans, that Savannah could stick them in the oven for the second rise, then pull them out early and generally attend to getting the actual baking started. These things she did.

The nurse called back with the news that the doctor had given me a prescription for Percoset, which we had to go pick up and take to the pharmacy ourselves since they couldn't phone in a prescription for a narcotic. Savannah went to get it--after some things at school that needed to be done--and I got the bread out of the oven myself, only coming close to passing out once. After that, I decided to eschew the stairs and just lay on the floor until blessed relief arrived.

When Blesssed Relief Arrived in the form of Percoset, I received the instructions gratefully--Take One Now, And Only One. If The Pain Abateth Not After 45 Minutes, A Second May Be Taken.

Ninety minutes later, having received absolutely no relief from the Percoset, we decided that a trip to an Urgent Care facility might just be in order. After hearing that the only thing the Percoset did for me was make me dizzy, the nurse agreed and said that we should head to the closest clinic.

Getting into the car was an adventure. There was no way I was driving after taking two Percoset, not even the three blocks to the clinic (and I am SO glad it's that close), so I had to get into the back seat. We have a 1994 Ford Escort. I am 6'3". I feel confident that you can figure out how hospitable the back seat of my car is for me, especially since half of it is occupied by a car seat. After several false starts ("Are you sure you don't want an ambulance? They offered to send one," to which The He-Man responded "It's only three blocks!") I managed to half slide, half fold, and half lever myself into the back seat.

Getting out, I had to actually turn myself around and slide out ass-first, kneel on the ground, and use the car to help me push myself up. ("Are you sure you don't want me to get someone to help you?" "NNGH.")

I don't think I've ever been in so much pain. It hurt to walk, it hurt to not walk, it hurt to sit, it hurt to stand. Everything. Hurt. After TWO Percosets, which is supposed to be enough to knock you the hell out.

I had to wait a long time for the doctor, but that was okay. I mean, it hurt, but my philosophy is, if you're waiting it means (I hope) that the doctor is not just darting in and out of exam rooms, but is taking time with each patient--and if you want the doctor to take his time with you, then you'd damn well better be prepared to accept that he's going to take his time with other patients, too.

The doctor came in. She was very nice. We talked about what was happening, I told her that I had taken the two Percosets and gotten nothing but dizzy, and then she told me to take off my shoes and socks.

"Uh, that's easier said than done," I ventured.

"I know," she said. "That's why I'm telling you now, so that you can take your time." We talked some more as I struggled to take off my shoes and socks. She did a bunch of things to my feet and legs and then told me I could put my shoes and socks back on.

These things were on the FLOOR. I don't even want to contemplate bending over to pick them up. I looked at her. Oh well. I picked them up with my feet, managing to bend over just enough to grab them. NO way I was putting them on, though. She wrote out a prescription for a muscle relaxant and heavy-duty Ibuprofen and told me that I could continue to take the Percosets as well if I wanted to. I just slipped my feet into my shoes.

"And here," she said, "is a referral sheet for physical therapy. When you're feeling better, you should head over there."

Part 2 tomorrow.


  • Oh...the "things" she did to my feet and legs were tests to see if by any chance it was a pinched nerve, since I complained that the pain went down into my right leg. It is apparently not anything like that, since I pushed properly and felt everything.

    By Blogger Robert, at 11:13 PM  

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