If you have been reading this blog for at least a year, then you’ll know that I have been suffering from pains and severe muscle tightness in my lower back, which have prevented me from exercising for over a year. Well, 2 weeks ago I had my worst experience with my back as of yet, and it ended with me having to be taken by ambulance to the emergency room!
My Trip To The Emergency Room
It started off like any normal Sunday; I spent the morning in church and was able to have a couple of meaningful conversations after the service ended. Because we were having home groups that afternoon, I stopped back home for a few minutes to pick up Sherrian. As we were about to leave, I decided to run the dishwasher (which was already packed). I reached down into the cabinet to get the soap pellet (what do you call those things, anyway?) and once I stood back up, I head and felt a pop and then immediately dropped to the floor in pain!
The sensation that I felt was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It wasn’t the worst pain I’ve ever felt, but for the next 5 minutes there was a very strong burning sensation at the base of my spine and every time I moved – even an inch – it felt like my spine was separating at the base.
It took me a few minutes to be able to crawl to one of our dining room chairs, but no matter how I sat the pain wouldn’t subside. I don’t know how long I sat in that chair while my wife let the people in home group know that I was running late – I really thought I would be able to get up and go within a few minutes – but it had to be at least an half hour!
Once I got tired of being stuck in the chair unable to get up, I decided to make a dash – more like hunched over stumbling – to the bedroom. It was very painful, but I was able to make it to the bed. The only position that I could tolerate was lying on my back – I wasn’t even able to lift up my head!
I stayed in that position for over 4 hours as we tried to decide the best course of action. I was hoping that the pain would just die down after a little while, so I took a muscle relaxer and an N.S.A.I.D. (both prescribed by my doctor for my back) and waited. The pain was so bad that I couldn’t even lift my head!
Any deviation from lying flat on my back with my knees up caused a lot of pain and a return of that spinal separation sensation. A few calls to my doctor’s office were no help, and since I was worried about this new pain and that odd sensation, we decided that I should take a trip to the ER to make sure it wasn’t serious and possibly getting worse by the minute.
The Trip To The ER
At first we called a good friend of mine, but after talking with him and considering the fact that I couldn’t stand on my own we decided that it would be safer to call an ambulance. By the time they got to the house, I was able to stand while holding myself up. I was afraid that if I sat down to rest, I wouldn’t be able to get back up.
Two EMTs showed up and one of them helped me down the hall while the other one went to get the gurney. It’s hard for me to put into words how helpless I felt while being wheeled out of the house on that thing. 😥
As we drove to the hospital, I received a couple of shocks. First, the driver didn’t know how to get to the hospital and was using GPS – he is from a different region and was filling in for someone who was out.
Second, the suspension system on an ambulance is not any better than what you have on your car! That second point combined with the abundant potholes (courtesy of all the winter storms and subsequent plowing) was a nightmare for my back, as the pain fired through it with every bump we hit. 😐
Not The Worst Experience, But I Still Dislike ERs
Once I got to the ER, I was sent to “fast track” and immediately had a bed (even though sitting up was more comfortable). However, it took over an hour before they did anything more than take vitals. They ended up taking an x-ray of my spine – that was extremely painful because of all the angles I had to get into so they could get all the necessary shots – and gave me the same muscle relaxer that I took earlier in the day, along with a pain medication (percocet).
Like always, the percocet did nothing for me, so they decided to give me something stronger (?). They gave me a shot of toradol in my thigh, and eventually the pain went from a 9 (on a scale of 0-10) to an 8. The x-rays were all normal, so they sent me home and told me to follow up with my doctor.
By the time I got home it was a little bit better, but I ended up missing most of work the next week because of the pain, tightness, and fatigue.
I’ve been to the doctor twice since then, and in the next post I’ll tell you all that was done in that time, how I feel right now, and what’s next regarding my treatment.
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