My mother's right hand, photographed in April 2019.
It seemed a standard thrown out back, if a little long in the healing. But still, eight days in, Young Geoffrey felt well enough on Sunday afternoon to engage in gardening. Gently, carefully, bending only from a seated pose upon a stoop, he nevertheless pulled weeds, dug earth, planted bulbs.
And felt ... optimistic, as to bed he went on Sunday night, more flexible than he had been for eight full days.
Young Geoffrey awoke up on Monday morning early, bladder bursting, back more stiff and sore than it had been since the first day of his attack, now nine days prior. Five minutes he strove (ten, if his sweetie has the better timer) to exit his bed and — grunting painfully with every step — make his way to the toilet to void his bladder.
The pain was now not only in his back, but lanced like permanent lightning, from base of spine to right buttock, then along the back of his thigh to the knee. Agony beyond any he had known before ...
* * *
Ahem. Enough of poetry and rhythm.
Raven said we We're going to the ER, and I didn't argue for a moment. I've had back pain before, I've torn my hamstring, I've broken a leg (yes, I've had my right orbital bone shattered, too, but that didn't actually hurt much at all), but I've never felt such agony, at least none that lasted.
Raven called a cab, and I managed to make my way out to it unaided. Made the mistake of sitting in the back seat, no way to recline or ease the jolts from Ottawa's austerity-riddled roads.
By the time we reached the hospital, I let five month pregnant Raven heft the over-night bag I'd packed in case ER refused to let me go home that night.
Thank god, and as I'd hoped, the 8:00 AM Monday Emergency waiting room was sparsely populated. We waited no more than a couple of hours before we found ourselves assigned an examination room. Thank god it was a short wait for the ER doctor to appear, because my pain only got worse and worse.
He checked me out, tested me (lying on my back on the table) for strength in foot and leg and determined that, I had sciatica, a nerve problem in my right leg. But when I tried to turn and sit up, I ended up on my knees on the floor. I needed the MD's help, and Raven's, to get back up onto the table.
He told me I'd be getting a shot for immediate pain relief, and wrote out a prescription for a Naproxen/muscle relaxant combination (Vimovo 500&20MG, according to the label), and for not 5, not 10, but 15 god-damned 1 mg doses of hydromorphone, a full-blown narcotic. Yes, serious pain relief.
Meanwhile, before the initial shot took hold, I really had to pee. I mean, I really had to pee. I managed to get to my feet on my own, but the pain was so severe I couldn't take a step, and finally a saintly orderly found a pee-bottle and Raven held it for me so that I wouldn't piss my pants. First time for that indignity, but I guess it won't be my last. #GettingOldSucks
* * *
Anyway, to make a long story short, when the shot finally kicked in, I exited the room and soon enough the ER doctor (a youngish, middle-Eastern, or East-Indian looking man who was super sweet, he shook our hands three different times) sent us off with my prescriptions, and we limped towards a cab and home. Grabbed some breakfast, then Raven (who had called in to work and used one of her Family Days) went down to our local pharmacy (one of whose owners was on my soccer team this winter, strictly by the by) and filled the prescription.
When she came home, I gobbled my pills and limped up to my office. They hit hard, they hit fast and the rest of Monday was a blur.
Tuesday, I took two more doses (as prescribed), worked on the exercises the ER MDeity provided, and Wednesday, I only had one of the Naproxen/muscle relaxant combos, along with more reps of the exercises.
Thursday, though (as I had Wednesday) I awoke with a viscious "hangover" from one of the drugs, I felt well enough that I cycled close to 8 kilometres to my family doctor's office, for an unrelated appointment, sans any medication at all.
Friday, same. No drugs, no pain. Knocking the proverbial wood as I type this on Sunday, it's over.
And if I take any lesson from the whole ordeal (other than that I need to strengthen my core), it is this. I remember a close friend who has also had back problems, telling me that he had to take to the streets to find pain relief. No Emergency room would dose him. But I imagine that when he visited an emergency room, he was alone. Me? I was well-dressed, and accompanied not just by my doting wife, but by my pregnant doting wife.
Would I have received the scrip for fucking narcotics without her prescense? No way to know for sure, of course, but I have my doubts.
And that's the story. If you're ever in need of serious pain relief again, dress well and, if you can, bring a respectable-looking woman with you.
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