Sunday, May 22, 2016

I'm growing older but not up

Ah it's springtime once again in Mt La-La and that means me lying flat on my back and closely examining the living room ceiling paint job for 35 hours.

I once again experienced painful back spasms that took me out for days but this time I ended up in the Hospital.

The short version is After a day and half on the floor we called and Ambulance and I went to the hospital and was back home Saturday night.

The long version:
I was having some difficulty with my back - but minor. I'd say it was a week and half of steady lower back  pain.

As was my habit,  I walked two miles in my neighborhood on Tuesday, , came home took a shower and began to get dressed. It was about here that I should have sat down to dress myself but bent over instead.

Bang! my lower back lit up like a Christmas tree and I was stuck there half dressed hanging onto the furniture, half naked, unsteady on my feet.

With The Chancellor's help I was able to complete dressing and make a lap or two around the bedroom. (Luckily the bedroom is quite large)  - then I needed to sit. And sit I did, for most of the day in my office in the chair. I got up once once in awhile but I had all my meals there.

And if you know the Chancellor, there is nothing she enjoys more than waiting on me hand and foot bringing me unhealthy food and snacks.

That night I was able to make it downstairs and so we sat in the matching recliners watching Anderson Cooper's documentary about his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt - That's  right, Anderson Cooper's mom in THE Gloria Vanderbilt. Who knew?

Anyway, all was going well unto I tried to get up. try as I might there was nothing I could do to get upright as God intended. The pain of each attempt was nearly unbearable and forced me first to my knees and then down to the ground. And that's where I lay for the next 35 hours on the dusty livingroom floor binge watching "The Americans" on Amazon Prime, peeing in a jar and eating meals sideways. At least this time, I didn't have to fight the dog for a hamburger like the Hoff. In retrospect, The Americans was probably a bad choice considering that a certain scene frightened me so much I flinched and had a massive back spasm.

On Wednesday two of the neighbor ladies stopped by to see the Chancellor while I lay glued to the floor. It was like a little party, except I lay prone looking up at people. I spent the time being interrogated.

What are you doing there?
Does it hurt?
Do you want help getting up?
Do you want some of my medicine the Dr gave me in 2008 for a totally unrelated incident?

Actually, I did take the Naproxen from my neighbor. Well, take is the wrong word and slipped in by my spouse is more accurate. It was all a  little surreal.

By Thursday, still pinned by pain, I called "no mas" and figured I needed help.

The Chancellor called 911. It's embarrassing and expensive (we'll see exactly how much) and into home came the man and woman team from my local ambulance corps. (side note: I've noticed that today all EMT teams are a man and a woman).

After some questions (What are you doing there? Does it hurt? Do you want help getting up? Do you want some of my medicine the Dr gave me in 2008 for a totally unrelated incident?) they were able to get me onto a "Reeve's Sleeve" stretcher and began lifting me.

This did not go well. The flexibility of the Reeve's sleeve bent my back in such a way that it spasmed the entire 15 steps to the front door and that's where they put me down, half in and half out the front door. They called the local Fire Dept for backup.

10 minutes later,  there is an Ambulance AND some sort of Fire equipment in front of my house. I don't what equipment since all I can see is straight up at my hallway ceiling.

The team of people now got me onto the regular Ambulance gurney and into the Ambulance.

And so began my first ever Ambulance ride.

So many memories. The harsh ride of the Ambulance. The view as I was pushed into the hospital with the word "Emergency Room" on the side of the building as we entered the Hospital. Hanging out in the demarcation between the EMTs and the Hospital where they all hang out and, drink coffee and discuss their day. The EMT's tale of how she struck her head when she was 14 diving into a pool.

Finally, I was admitted to the ER where I was pushed into the hallway adjacent to the multi-sex, single-toilet bathroom.
For the next 9 hours I now had a job - reassuring people that the bathroom was indeed empty and they were free to enter.
I was able to complete my "assignment" only when I wasn't passed out from the Valium injection.

By 9:30 that night I was admitted to a double room and pumped full of drugs.

I get the the best room mates in the Hospital. Unable to get up and tiring of watching "The Americans", I had only his sad story to entertain me.

He was older than I and at first I thought he was admitted for a stroke but then the staff starting asking him other crazy questions.

When did you last have a drink?
Are you shaking?
How is your hand where the dog bit you?

Dog bite?

It turns out his story can not be made up:
He was in his yard when the neighbors dog approached him and sort of bit him on the hand. I say sort of because he didn't break the skin. Not sure if anything was wrong , he drove himself to the hospital ER. When examined he showed signs of a stroke within the last 2 hours and the ER has a very strict stroke protocol which includes admission.

Once admitted, he was cut off from his usual intake of alcohol and began to go through withdrawal.

Like I said, it can't be made up.

Clearly God is trying to get the man's attention.

I laid there for 48 hours, still unable to move until Saturday when PT came and a miracle occurred. I was able to stand and walk. I headed for the door and did not look back.

Once home and off drugs, I accounted the number of times this has happened to me recently and determined it's time for a change. It's time to lose weight. Again. It's time to build up my core.

So it's off to the next adventure - losing weight without speed, eating sunflower seeds.

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