Busted, Pt 3.

Wow, I’m like the Peter Jackson of back injury stories. If you’re interested in the film rights, call me.

Part 1

Part 2

Interludes here and here


So it’s now Thursday afternoon and we’re back at RNS Emergency. About 2.5hrs were spent waiting in triage during which time my admiration of triage nurses grew exponentially. Seriously, I’d be stabbing people.

This time when I’m called in the acute section of the ED. “Made it to acute, poppet, the MAIN ARENA,” Chef said quietly as we were ushered in. Monday had us in the “fast track” section. “Fast track” is code for “we don’t believe you” and “you’re wasting our time”. I also call it “If I didn’t have other medical professionals looking out for me I’d be permanently paralysed now”.

Steve’s referral had obviously had an effect. I was moved into ED at around 3. No one, NO ONE, until the orthopaedic registrar came and looked at me until around 10pm. Nothing is more an admission of guilt than silence.

We had a chat. I couldn’t feel him touching the outside of my left leg. I couldn’t pull my left toes towards my head.

He left, reviewed the films from my MRI at the nurses centre stage in the main arena. Chef was watching him through a gap in the curtains and gave me a commentary about what unfolded. The ability of someone to make you laugh when you are terrified was not something I was actively looking for in my life partner but BY GOD it’s a good value add.

Ortho dude returned and Chef now says he knew everything was about to be ratcheted up several degrees.

He gave me a lovely analogy about how our backbone works and that our vertebrae were like bricks but all I can really remember is that I found it irritating he didn’t call the discs the cement (he called them a jelly like substance which sure, is probably WAY more medically appropriate but then let’s just call them vertebrae and ditch the brick shit). Then he started talking about the curtains of bone that protect them and that added to my irritation because if we were going with a building analogy then surely we weren’t up to interior design, these were still part of the structure so wouldn’t it be better to have called them flying buttresses? Also: Fear + Endone.

Then this: You’re going to need surgery to fix it.

Me: Oh. When?

Him: I have you on the emergency list tomorrow.

Me: Oh. So do I go home now and come back? (Also: Fear+ Endone)

Him: No, I’ve admitted you to hospital. When did you last eat?

Me: About 1pm.

(Time check: 11:40pm)

Him: Well, let’s get you some food because from midnight you’ll be fasting and then we’ll get you up to the ward.

And I ate the most delicious hospital tomato and cheese sandwich EVER washed down with one of those little tubs of orange juice my kids think are AWESOME. And cried.

Chef went home, by this stage it had just all unfolded and the boys, who had been at his parents’ place, ended up staying the night.

He came back the next day and waited with me. I was first on the list but RNS is the largest trauma hospital in the State? Country? Southern hemisphere? so Ortho dude had warned me I might have a long way.

It was around midday that Chef’s mum finally ‘fessed up that Oscar was sick. I handed the phone back to Chef and asked him to ask her to check his legs. Was either of them red? hot? swollen?

And yes, indeed, the left one was. Again. So Chef left me to take Oscar to hospital with cellulitis in his left leg for the third time in 12 months. He comes home from hospital today. I’m trying NOT to think about the unavoidable surgeries he’s going to have to have this year to take the hardware that’s in his feet and the likely cause of the cellulitis, even though all the bone scans show otherwise.

So on Friday, February 18 2013, I had an emergency decompression laminectomy at L4/L5 due to “a very large central disc protrusion causing severe central canal stenosis and complete obliteration of the thecal sac. There is severe bilateral recess stenosis at this level.” as Oscar was admitted to hospital with cellulitis and two weeks out from Mum’s emergency knee replacement.

When I woke up in recovery I looked at the theatre nurse watching my obs and said, “I just had spinal surgery” to which she smiled and said I had indeed.

And for some reason as I type this I am crying all over again.


Onward, very slowly onward.

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  • trash

    “For some reason…” ????? Honey, you just ennumerated ALL the reasons. Your ‘Onward’ attitude is the thing that keeps you going when most if the rest if us would be on our knees. In the words of Glennon Melton at Momastery “Warrior on sister”.

    • Oh dude, I kinda needed to hear that. I’m not calling it yet, but today seems to be an All the Tears day. I know I’m going to SOB when I see my two littlest men for the first “proper” time in almost two weeks. But yeah, today I’m on my knees.

  • Lea

    Jesus Christ, Kim.


  • Kathy Slavin

    I just read from beginning to this bit (I won’t say END – cos I’m thinking it’s not) – and cried for you and with you. Yes – I can see a book deal coming from this! They often say to mum’s like us “why are you so strong” or “gee I’m glad you had a kid with disabilities cos I couldn’t handle it” – well – f**k me – we don’t have a choice and YES we are stronger than we could ever have imagined we could be but sheesh give us a break huh? Onward and upward 🙂

  • Chef calls you ‘Poppet’ – all will be well – I feel it xx

  • oh hon, I took one look at that MRI and knew you had EVERY RIGHT to emergency surgery!!!! But the added bonus extras of kid in hospital and Mum about to be? Man!!! that SUCKS!!!

    Take the drugs. You will recover with a new appreciation of not being in agony 24/7.

    I had a similar L4-5 laminectomy in 2003, with foot drop and the bladder/bowel stuff. 9 days later I had it done again, but I was just lucky 😉

    Since recovering I have had to stop belly-dancing (my neurosurgeon nearly had a fit when I asked how long until I started again) but I have established a great career as a nurse and midwife since 🙂

    ONWARD indeed!!!

    • YOU HAD IT DONE TWICE. Holy crap dude.

      I’d love to be a midwife, if there wasn’t all that nursey/blood stuff I had to do with it. I just want to be with women through their pregnancies, births and early months afterwards.

  • paola

    Words sometimes are useless but I am too far away to use my embrace. What to do … I am with you in spirit and hug you tight and tell you that this, ALSO, shall pass.

  • Denyse

    Busted!!! No you are! No you are so BUSTED.. Ok enough of the play on words.
    Kim- medals have been given to those less brave than you.
    Chef & you, his Sidekick, are MADE for each other because the man who can make you smile & laugh (through the curtains in ED) whilst suffering so much pain IS a KEEPER!
    Cry sob do whatcha gotta do… You’ve held lots very tightly inside for oh too many years…. Xxxxx

  • Oh

  • That all sounds utterly terrifying. And yet funny. How do you do that? Take care of yourself.

  • Oh bless – best wishes for a recovery no matter what speed. Lucky you have two hands, one for oscar, one for your mum and a super large heart for all other things that are presented. You go girl.

  • Lucy

    Oh Kim. Far out. How horrific. I don’t have the right words just heaps of awe and admiration. Keep going; it HAS to get better. Xxxx

  • nic

    Gosh, first time reader and commenter, but wow, wishing you a speedy recovery. I totally get the tears – had a stint at RNS last year with all sorts of stuff going on, and there were days the tears flowed, there were others when watching tv all day and snaking on single serve weird lemon flavoured deserts seemed totally normal and fine. I hope it all improves from here on for you. x

  • Just out here worrying Kim. Hope you are on the improve.