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