Monday, January 25, 2010

Another Bruised or Broken Body Part

I have plans for you. Not for evil, but for good. Plans to prosper you and make you a success . . . God's word - for God's people - to the Prophet Jeremiah

When we finished unloading our belongings on Tuesday I started to have some pain at the base of my neck. On Wednesday it radiated into my left shoulder. On Thursday the tips of my pinky finger of my left hand started getting numb - except for the burning sensation that would come and go. On Friday my entire left arm, from just above the elbow, and 3 of my fingers went completely numb. On Saturday I didn't have enough strength in my left hand to loosen the cover of my water bottle. It felt like jagged pieces of glass were coursing through my veins and muscles on a river of molten lava.

Throughout the week, Sandy tried to massage the knots and pain away; I methodically used ice and heat, stretching, traction, and took 3-4 thousand milligrams of Ibuprofen every day believing the pain would eventually go away. I kept going all the while unpacking, putting things together, journaling, writing posts, and talking to friends. Sandy and I even hiked 6 miles on Wednesday.

But you know how that goes . . . I will go to a doctor on Wednesday . . . Well, maybe a chiropractor would be a better choice . . . I will give it another day to heal . . . It should be better tomorrow . . . We are in a tornado watch so I can't go today.

By 2 this morning I could not sit, stand, lie down, or find any position that did not leave me gasping for breath and feeling faint, so we headed for the Emergency Room at Providence Hospital.

When we pulled into the parking lot of the ER, a worried and stressed looking mom was hustling across the parking with her little girl cradled in her arms. The tiny face, circled by ringlets of blond hair, was streaked with tears and her raspy, ragged cough made MY throat hurt. Once they got inside, Robin, a male nurse with a teddy bear persona, immediately took the little girl in his giant arms and began rocking her, speaking lovingly and sympathetically. The effect was magical; she quit crying and coughing in seconds.

Confession . . .

My stinking neck, shoulder, forearm, and fingers hurt so bad, I found myself wishing Robin would either pick me up and heal me, or body slam me and kill me!

In a few minutes I was signed in and led to a room where Emily, a nurse that looked like a 13 year old, told me a doctor would see me shortly. She took down some more information, while commenting that I didn't look too good. "Are you in pain?" she asked. I think my ashen face and trembling body gave me away.

"Most definitely," I responded. She continued, "Dr. Boyer is with another patient, and it will be a few minutes before he is free. Are you sure you are alright? I will ask him if we can give you something for the pain." Just then the doctor came in and began banging around on my left arm with one of those little rubber hammers. There was almost zero reflex. "I am going to get some X-rays, and schedule you for an MRI at 8 a.m. We will have to take you to another hospital. We don't have an MRI. You can sleep here until then."

Emily returned a few minutes later with a needle and syringe. "I am going to give you a shot. It's a mixture of Demerol and [some other drug] that will help with nausea (For my friends who know me well . . . no, I did not tell her that I am 54 years old and have never vomited. Although it is a story worth telling).

Highly motivated to get this pain under control, I began to roll up my sleeve . . .

"Sir, I will need to inject this into a bigger muscle."

"You are going to stick it in that muscle?" Just for the record - I didn't even flinch when that needle penetrated the dermis of my derriere. In no time at all the pain began to subside, and I was being pushed in a wheel chair to the X-ray lab (They would not let me walk on my wobbly, Demerol-influenced legs).

Here's the really cool part . . .

After the X-rays - sure enough - two EMT's were waiting to put me on a stretcher and load me into the ambulance, and we were on our way for the MRI. Sandy rode with us. Sandy was in the front talking to the EMT Kelsey. I was in the back talking to the EMT Dave.

It just so happened that Kelsey and his family train "cutting horses," and his mother is a teacher. It also "just so happens" that Dave is an advanced kayaker, and his wife is a media specialist in the Columbia school system! Just like that, we have two new friends! Sandy has 2 direct contacts into the school system she desires to teach in, both of us love to kayak, and I will get to ride (and fall off) horses again!

But first I must finish regimen of Prednisone and wait for the inflamed nerve canal to cool down. A neurologist will decide where we will go from there. More good news: the pain killers prescribed help me enjoy this brand new adventure!!

1 comment:

  1. is it going? :-) Wow! Now that is what I call Enjoying The Adventure....NOT!
    Seriously though, glad to read you are somewhat safe and sound in SC..and attempting to settle in. Life is a trip indeed.
    Best to ya Bill. Love ya man. Rock