My ER Visit, Back Pain, and The People You Can Count On

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Photo by Gratisography on


Well, dear readers, it’s been a while.

I’m offering my apologies and an explanation.

Had I not been flat on my back and/or writhing in pain for the last 11 days (although each day did get a little better), I may have been able to concentrate and write a blog post.

Being immobile for a period of time gives a person a lot of time to contemplate things—lots of things, even if they were fuzzy at times due to the drugs.

My troubles began when an intense pain took over my lower back mid-week, a week and a half ago. Over two days, it intensified. On Thursday, I never made it down the stairs of my house. On Friday morning, I somehow made it to the couch downstairs when everything went all wrong after using the restroom. I’m not exactly sure how I would have made it back to the couch had it not been with help from both my mom and dad who were with me when it happened. At that point, I knew no one at the house could help me and it was time to make the emergency call. I had eight paramedics in my living room hovering over me. “Are we having a party in my living room?” I asked them when the slew of them showed up after we made the call to 911. I couldn’t move. Couldn’t get off the couch. Couldn’t even sit up. There I was, looking about as unglamorous and awful as possible, in an old nighty wrapped in a brown fuzzy blanket, my hair disheveled, lacking any sort of grooming, and yet these people didn’t care at all about how I looked. They just wanted to get me some relief.

Somehow, they got me on a steel gurney and into the ambulance.

In agony, they transported me to the ER, where I remained from morning until late at night when they thought I could go home. As someone who is queasy about blood, the doctor asked me if I’d like to start with oral medications or go the intravenous route. I told her to shove that IV in my arm and get started pumping me with whatever was needed. Steroids. Morphine. I’m not sure what else, but whatever it was, I was glad for it. The wonderful doctor and nurses at Anne Arundel Medical Center took great care of me with love and a sense of humor. The doctor thought I had a bulging disc of some sort pressing on my nerves. I received excellent care, and at about 10 p.m., they sent me home because I could then sit up and get in a wheelchair without too much pain.

Since then, I’ve been to the doctor and had back X-rays and MRI scans, all to find out that I have a herniated disc. The healing of this disc takes time. And there’s a sciatic pain that still remains that begins in my lower back and goes down my right leg. I believe in time, that will heal, too.

In circumstances such as these, you recognize who you can count on in emergencies: your family—my husband (patience & caring award for the week), mom and dad (caring award for the week), kids, my in-laws, family, and friends who reached out to see what they could do to help out. My doctor, our friend Joe, who made sure to check up on me and see me in his office and is on my case. The paramedics who tried to make me as comfortable as possible. Sweet Dr. Ambrose in the emergency room, who took all the time in the world for me and never rushed my husband or me with questions at any point. You remember those people who were willing to help or check up on you and try to make you feel better.

And so, it’s Sunday morning. I’m feeling better. Making strides. Writing a blog post.

And each day, I presume, will get a little better.

I’ll probably live in constant fear of pulling my back again. There will always be anxiety that lingers from that episode.

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On Wednesday, when I began to start to walk around and took a selfie to prove I was beginning to be mobile. 

The biggest lesson I learned from this experience—one that cancelled my spring break trip with my husband which were were both very much looking forward to and made me feel a little depressed, if I’m being truthful—is that back pain is no freaking joke. I’ve never experienced anything remotely like that kind of harrowing agony. I cried in the midst of it all and almost passed out in the shower when the pain shot through me like a rocket.

To those of you who have suffered with anything that remotely resembles this scenario, I’ve got your back, quite figuratively and literally. I know what it’s like now, and I will never, ever make light of someone with that kind of pain or not share empathy with you ever, ever again.

And to those of you suffering from much harsher health issues, you have my empathy as well. I look to you as inspiration from this day forward.



One Comment

  • Mom

    As I learned too…when someone describes work or whatever as “backbreaking,” we alll understand.
    Here’s to doctors, nurses, and medical folk everywhere…bless you all!
    Now is the time to “smell the roses” and revive. Here’s to you, and here’s to springtime…Bravo!

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