i’m back. What an ordeal.
I had the epidural on Wednesday a few weeks ago. I was feeling a little better each day for about 10 days. Then, in the ealy morning hours of Sunday night, I woke in excruciating pain. I had taken a Tramadol before I went to bed on Sunday. When I woke up at 3 AM I took another, since it was the only heavy duty pain killers I had in my possession. When I woke again at 8 AM, in just as much pain,I took another. I proceeded to get nauseous and pretty soon was sick to my stomach. Over and over. Meanwhile I could barely make it from my bed to the bathroom, maybe 10 steps. Trying to get back was another thing all together. My thigh just went out from under me, and I collapsed on the bathroom floor, right on the parts of me that hurt so badly. Thank God, Dan was there. He got me up, I walked with his help to the bed, where I couldn’t get back on it. He lifted me onto the bed since my left leg had become useless. At some point, I fell again. Got up with his help.
Finally, I realized I needed to be in the hospital. I couldn’t do anything for myself. Nothing. I called an ambulance. Dan would have taken me, but I couldn’t walk into the hospital. Walking was by now out of the question. The pain was excruciating. Since I was sick to my stomach, I couldn’t take any more pain killers. I thought I was dying. It was undoubtedly the worst I’d ever felt in my life. Dan helped me get some decent pajamas on, that I could wear to the hospital, he packed a small bag with my med, my kindle, a comb. The EMT’s came, got all the info, and helped me get on the transport to go in the ambulance. 10 or 15 minutes later I was at the hospital being admitted in Emergency. Still throwing up. And almost delirious from the pain I was in.
They were wonderful. The first thing they did was give me an IV and hit me with some Dilauded, and some anti-nausea medication. I could have kissed them. Instantly, after I got the Dilauded, the pain was gone. I was conscious, but so groggy. They got me into a room. Then got me in the queue for an MRI. It was 5 PM when the ambulance picked me up, it was about 1 AM when I finally got the MRI. They were busy.
I want to say, I waited about going to the hospital. Most people know we have a terrible COVID problem here. I was afraid to go, for one thing, and feeling guilty about taking a bed up for another. I mentioned this to the nurse who was escorting me to the MRI. He said, “Look, you are a definite hospital patient. You are not a home patient. You have to be here. And don’t worry, we have plenty of beds.” As it turned out the COVID patients are kept entirely separate from the rest of the population. They came in every day and sanitized my room completely. I never felt unsafe there. They also gave me a COVID test when I got there, which was negative.
The next day, Tuesday, I met the hospital neurosurgeon. He was nothing short of fabulous. He asked what “they” told me was wrong with me. I told him, “spinal stenosis.” He kind of rolled his eyes and said, “You have a LOT of stuff going on in there. But the thing causing all your pain is a couple pieces of broken bone, or vertebrae which have lodged behind L3 and L4 and are rubbing against the nerves in your spinal column.” He then told me he could make a small incision along my spine, pull back the ligaments and nerves, and fish the broken pieces out. Not for a second did he make me feel unsure that he could do it. He knew he could fix me and conveyed that to me. That within days of the surgery I would be feeling way better. I asked when he could do it, expecting him to say, next week…two weeks… He though about it for a moment, and said, “How about Thursday.”
If I could have jumped for joy I would have. Two days, and he’d have me fixed. OMG. There was hope at the end of this 6 months of struggle. I can’t believe the euphoria I felt just having a real answer, and a real solution.
So Thursday morning they wheeled me to the OR. The surgery was scheduled for 10:30, and started right on time. He had guestimated it would tak an hour and a half, and another half hour before and after for the anesthetic So that’s 2 ½ hours, I expected to wake about 1PM. When I woke it was 2:30. When I saw the dr I asked if he got both pieces out. He said, “You had a LOT more than 2 pieces in there. I must have pulled out 6 or 7 pieces of bone. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a spine with so many bone framents in it.”
So that’s why it took 4 hours. And why I was in so much pain.
But even by that night I felt better, with pain levels way down. Not to mention they were giving me hydrocodone, something called Torodol, and another nerve pain drug, every 4 hours. However, I had never felt this much relief before the surgery.
I loved the fact that at the hospital, when you are in pain, they just give you something for it. I was so sick of hassling over getting pain meds, especially when I found out how much damage there was to my spine. And still when I went home, they only gave me 3 days worth of pain med, which I am rationing out because I’m afraid I am going to run out. However, not so worried about it now that I’ve been home a couple days, and feel better each day. Today, I got up from the recliner for the first time by myself. Which is HUGE. It means I can go to the bathroom without assistance. I can go to get dressed. I can get into the kitchen. And most f all, I don’t have much pain.
6 months I have been in agony. And in 5 days at the hospital, I was fixed. Finally, I’m on the right road, got the right people helping me, and I am getting my life back
Couldn’t be more grateful. Or happy. Euphoric, really. And blessed. So many many people checked on me from Iowa to Connecticut to Florida. My sisters, my friends, all checking in on me, making me laugh. Keeping me from feeling alone. , remember, we are in the time of Corona. No one can come see you once you go through those emergency doors you are alone, except for the competence of the wonderful hospital staff caring for you. I tried to tell them all how much I appreciated what they were doing, like firemen running into the burning building, they are going into the fire of COVID every day, with a smile on their face, working 12-13 hour shifts, never making you feel like you’re a burden. They ARE heroes. For Sure.
And then there’s Daniel, without whom I’d have been lost. Who has cared for me wonderfully, been there for me every step of the way. Still I lean on him, still he stands by me, straight and strong. I love him so much.
So I’m back, at least for now. Thanks for reading this, and sticking with me. Love and light to all.