Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sometimes It Just Hurts

Note: This is a post about the last week and a half of my life, which has nothing to do with baseball, cards, and other fun stuff.

The night of May 30th, 2010, I felt a little lethargic and went to bed earlier than usual on a Saturday night. Little did I know that I would start a week and a half trip down the strangest path I have ever taken. Strange, only because I have no idea what happened.

Sunday and Monday saw mostly sleep and had little appetite. I pushed the water though, because I did not want to get dehydrated. Monday night, my appetite returned, so I sat down to watch Game 2 of the NHL Finals with some snacks and some chilled bottled waters. The Blackhawks won and I was on the road to recovery... or so I thought.

Tuesday morning, I woke up with a pain in my lower right back. I initially thought that this was the result of sleeping the better part of two days away. If you don't move your muscles, they tend to cramp up on you, or at least that's how they work for me. I figured if I keep drinking water and keep moving around, it'll work itself out. For good measure, I did some back exercises. I'm no stranger to having a bad back, so I'm usually prepared in how to handle it.

The pain only got worse. So I thought, "Great! My second kidney stone!" The last time I went through that pain was in 2003. I had the benefit of a morphine shot at the hospital to pass the stone. This didn't feel as bad as a kidney stone, but the pain seemed to be in the same general area.

The pain waxed and waned from excruciating to somewhat tolerable in the following days. I was starting to lose sleep and a little bit of sanity. I decided I would try to see my doctor on Thursday afternoon. There's only so much you can do in an office that's not in a hospital. He wrote some antibiotic scripts and told me to go to his hospital for some outpatient tests on Friday morning. Fortunately for me and unfortunately for my doctor, the pain was in a low period every time that I saw him.

Friday morning, my white cell count was high and so were my creatinine numbers. Not alarmingly so, but enough to be concerned. An ultrasound and x-rays ruled out kidney stones, gall stones, bone problems and basically any other theory that was suggested. By this time, constipation had me in its grasp for a few days, which just added to the problems. I was told to go home, push the fluids and see what the weekend brings. If I felt bad enough, I could always come through the ER.

The weekend brought the worst pain of my life. I have a high tolerance for pain, but even I was having trouble with this level. I had to go have followup tests on Monday morning to compare to the ones on Friday, so I figured I would just stick it out. In retrospect, that was probably the best idea, but it didn't appear that way during everything.

Lack of quality sleep, lack of proper eating, an overabundant amount of liquids and intolerable levels of pain finally caught up with me. I looked at my face in the mirror and did not recognize the person staring back at me. Trying to analyze my symptoms logically, I tried to make the pieces fit and came up with some real doozies. Did I accidentally swallow a kalamata olive pit? Could someone have poisoned me? Since I felt better away from the house, could there be an airborne toxin around my bedroom? I'm not proud of any of those thoughts, but I was grasping at straws for a plausible explanation.

By Monday, I couldn't take the pain anymore. It was like Andy Kaufman was playing the bongos on my lower right back with a steady beat. The pulsating pain, I think, is what was the absolute worst feeling among everything. My doctor decided to admit me for observation. I'd get an IV hooked up and get my levels back to normal and figure out what was going on.

Then the admissions office denied my admission. Since I did not come through the ER, had no insurance and had no present job, they refused me. I'm not sure what my doctor yelled to persuade them, but soon they were welcoming me with open arms. Gotta love a doctor like that.

I was admitted and all that was left was to put in an IV and to secure a room. First, the nurses accused me of being a vampire. I had no veins. Then they found faint veins and failed at every single attempt to strike it. Left hand: fail. Right hand: fail. Left elbow: fail. Right elbow: fail. The decided to wait until they found a vein in one of the forearms before they tried again. They failed to find a vein. An IV specialist was brought in. She stuck me once in the right forearm, before she declared me a lost cause. I was going to get a pickline.

My dad had a pickline in earlier this year, so I knew what it was and he told me it didn't hurt at all. A long tube going from my arm to my chest, inside of me, sounded painful. To my surprise, I felt nothing. Soon after an x-ray, to make sure the line was in the right place, I was hooked up and ready to go.

All my levels were normal and I was released in less than 24 hours. I wasn't quite out of the woods yet. After spending an uncomfortable, hot, sticky night in a bed that self adjusted, I left with different pains in my back. I threw my back out, sleeping in a hospital bed overnight. Let that sink in for a second. I went into the hospital with one pain in my back only to be replaced by a completely different pain in the same general area of my back. Got that? Yeah. I know. It's completely screwed up. Every time I would get into a comfortable position, the bed would auto correct itself and sink me into a position that did not support my back properly.

Yesterday, everything finally went back into place and I couldn't be feeling better. So what does my doctor think happened to me? No one has a clue! They just know that whatever they did, it helped. If that's not the scariest part of the last week and a half, I don't know what is.

I want to thank everyone who sent messages and well wishes in the past week and a half. They really uplifted my spirits and helped my sanity.

We now join our regularly scheduled blog, which is already in progress.


Contrary Guy said...

Glad you are feeling better and I hope that never happens again.

That was frankly a little painful to read.


dayf said...

ouch. sorry to hear you went through all that. I trew out my back a couple of years ago and it was the worst pain imaginable. Glad you're feeling better with a shiny Stanley Cup to enjoy.

night owl said...

I've been through the too-much-pain-go-to-hospital-go-through-tests-for-2-days-feel-better-get-released-nobody-knows-what-happened routine before.

It was a long time ago. I still wonder what happened. Hopefully you'll have an answer some day.

Glad you're back.

Jim from Downingtown said...

Welcome back Steve!

gritz76 said...

That's just years of being a Chicago sport's fan catching up to you. It happens to all of us eventually. Glad you're off the DL!

Unknown said...

Man that sounds rough. You should put a discalimer on that - Hypochondriachs do not read. Glad you're out. Have they blasted you with medical bills yet? That's the worst.

PunkRockPaint said...

Glad you are feeling better. It probably won't help, but here is my diagnosis:

You unknowingly swallowed gum from packs of Heritage. That rancid stuff is poisonous enough to kill a horse. You are lucky to have survived.

Once again, glad you are feeling better.

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