Adding Insult To Injury

Our June date to go camping didn’t fare much better, but at least my appearance was not an issue for everyone this time around. Maybe I had started evening out or the initial shock of seeing the “new” me had worn off and that was good. The only thing that was a deterrent was the pesky pain in my back that wouldn’t allow me to get comfortable. But it’s camp, and that alone comes with its own set of discomforts but it’s something we look forward to all winter and we elected to grin and bear my discomfort. I wasn’t sleeping comfortably at home so what was the difference if we were out enjoying ourselves?

A few weeks later, as summer vacation during the 4th of July  was fast approaching and as if the debilitating pain in my back wasn’t enough, out of nowhere,  my left ear suddenly felt clogged, like I had gotten water in it and I couldn’t get it out. I tried an over the counter remedy and the grandfather of all cure all’s, hydrogen peroxide, but I still heard things as though I were under water. And I felt like my own speech was compromised because I couldn’t deal with sounding like I was yelling in my own ear.

Call the doctor’s office–this was beginning to be an annoyance. Suddenly I’m falling apart and becoming “that” guy that runs to the doctor for every little thing. Once again with Nurse Practitioner Aman who didn’t remember me from the back spasm appointment, (how’s that for reassuring?) but nonetheless I apologized to her for not getting back to her like she had asked to let her know how her dose of that sample pain killer had worked. Onto my new ailment. Did it have something to do with that back problem? Would I be going deaf?

I explained what was happening, dismissing the back issue for the time being and said I’d really like to try to clear it up before vacation, Dr. Aman prescribed a course of Prednisone to take care of it. 6 pills on day one, 5 the next, then 4 and so on and lo and behold, I was hearing like a champ during our time in Rehoboth Beach and best of all, which never really occurred to me until after we were home again, that I was able to sleep normally–in bed, laying down. Flat! So, whatever it was, had really been a temporary thing and the Prednisone had taken care of both my ailments.

angela  maduros boardwalk

But then reality set in when the Prednisone wore off a day or two after we got home and I was once again a curled up bawling mass of flesh on my living room floor, night after night with no relief in sight. Coincidentally, Ariel’s father, also on Lipitor for his cholesterol was having pains in his legs and with some research, we found that certain statins, such as Lipitor, can cause bone pain, and,…get this!…in the hip area. Bingo! That must be it.

Ariel had an appointment with Dr. Thomas on July 17 to review his recent blood work but decided it was more important that I see him so with a call to the office to switch appointments so I could get the ball rolling with my own doctor to get this back issue taken care of once and for all. Plus Ariel already had an idea of how his conversation would go with the doctor, that some of his test results were out of whack and they needed to be corrected.

After we spoke about how pleased he was at the amount of weight I’d lost thus far, we started discussing my back problem and I felt somewhat embarrassed that so much time had passed before seeing him, though I had seen those others. I told him about the zzzzapp sensation from months prior and how it passed and flared up again. I mentioned I’d just done a course of Prednisone for my ear and oddly he asked “How was your back when you were taking it?”  He did a battery of physical tests and assured me nothing was wrong structurally. We talked about stopping the Lipitor to see if the pain would decrease or go away and he agreed with those findings and told me to go off it for two weeks, give him a call and see how I was doing and if it was still an issue, he’d set me up with an orthopaedist.

Not even a week later, the pain had intensified so greatly to the point that more than once I proclaimed aloud that if I owned an gun I’d shoot myself. There was no relief in any way, shape or form and shooting myself would be the only way out.

I’m not sure if I can accurately describe the pain, but I will try. At first, with that initial zap during the calf exercise months prior, it was a warm stinging sensation and I could feel the tightness all up and down from my middle to my neck. As it progressed, when it began to reoccur on its own, I felt that same sensation. But as time went on the pain was centered more exclusively in my lower back, not shooting up to my neck. At first it felt kind of like the stressful pain you might feel in your upper back after lifting heavy bricks all day, but in your lower back. As it intensified over time, the sensations ranged from how I imagined it would feel if someone had shoved a dull knife in my back to being smashed by a sledge hammer and that initial feeling upon impact remained indefinitely. The more I would try to stretch it out, the worse it would feel and more often that I care to remember, I’d end up drooling uncontrollably like a rabid dog until the added stress from the stretching had subsided. I had mentioned this to Nurse Practitioner Aman and her response was a quizzical and uncomfortable blank stare.

There was no way I could wait the two week test period of being off the Lipitor and I called the office in tears and out of breath one morning asking to speak to the doctor, but he was away on vacation and I recounted  as calmly as I could the conversation between him and me a week prior and I said I could not last another week and one of the times I spoke about shooting myself was to the receptionist on the other end of the line. Apparently there was no record of this arrangement between Dr. Thomas and me and the nurse’s hands were tied, she could not help me without the doctor’s say so and thus could not  tell me what to do other than finding an orthopaedist would rest on my shoulders. I cursed the hell out of those nurses for being incapable and uncaring and went about finding Dr. Bones on my own.

By the time our July camp date arrived, it was useless for me to deal with trying to sleep on an air mattress as sleeping in my own bed was becoming a nightmarish chore and it’s next to impossible to stack pillows against the side of a tent so I could try to sleep that way and we ended up canceling our weekend.

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