Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Rescue Squad And A Bladder Clock

I wrote this entry almost two years ago over on Sarah’s site. (That was back when her site was more about our whole family) I just ran across the piece again recently and even though the experience itself wasn’t funny, reading back over my telling of it did make me smile. And so maybe this will bring a smile to your day as well! (If nothing else, it will at least make you thankful that you can use the restroom any time you want. Small blessings!)

Jan. 30, 2008

Sunday afternoon I leaned over to pick up an empty water bottle and something bad, weird, and decidedly unhappy happened to my back. (I have a long, inglorious history of back problems.) I spent the rest of the day ingesting as many legal doses of Motrin as I could fit down my throat.

When I woke up Monday morning, my plan to get up and get ready for work came to a screeching halt when I swung my legs over the side of the bed and experienced terrible back spasms and pain . I did some major screaming and carrying on and collapsed back on the bed, trying desperately to locate a position that didn’t hurt. When Steve got home from taking Sarah to school, he found me whimpering and blubbering on the bed, telling him that I could not move, I was not going to move, and no one could make me move because moving hurt, dagnabit!

Although the back pain was bad enough, the more immediate issue facing me that was that I hadn’t used the restroom in twelve hours and I was starting to feel some definite tinges of desperation in that area. Steve was trying to figure out what to do with me, what to give me for pain meds, and how to get me out of the bed so that he could get me to the bathroom, to the emergency room and/or to the chiropractor.

I’m sure if I hadn’t been hurting so bad it would have been quite funny as Steve earnestly intoned, “Okay, Honey, scoot your rear end two inches to the left and move your shoulders a couple inches counterclockwise and then swing your legs toward me.” He was so wonderful and patient, but nothing either one of us did was working. Every time I moved at all beyond one certain semi-comfortable position, I was stabbed with spasms and pain.

And the bladder clock kept ticking.

After about an hour of these on-again, off-again contortionist maneuvers, after an hour of tears and trauma, we both came to the same conclusion: We could not solve this problem alone. Steve called Beth, a nurse friend from church, for advice. She said, “I would recommend you call the silent rescue team; that way you can get to the hospital without announcing to the whole neighborhood that there’s an ambulance outside your house.”

Well in my pain-befogged mind, I had it all figured out. My rescuers in shining armor were going to come in through the bedroom door and (after laughing hysterically at the sight of my make up-devoid visage and blender-in-a-hurricane hair) were going to take out their magical “happy needle” and give me a shot of something wonderful. At that point I was going to sail away on a peaceful, groovy journey to La-La Land while they removed me from my house.

But alas! That was not to be. There was no La La Land in my immediate future. In fact, there was a decided dearth of any form of La La Land-ness in my immediate future.

Instead, two burly guys marched up the steps and into my bedroom carrying a horrid looking metal contraption with straps. They set it down on the floor by the bed, looked me straight in the eye and one of them announced, “Honey, this is not going to be fun and I promise it’s gonna hurt, but we are going to have to pick you up off your bed and put you in this special chair so that we can get you down the stairs.”

Well, I started crying before they even touched me because I knew what I was in for. One of them locked his arms around my neck and shoulders, the other one grabbed my knees and legs and we took off, working seamlessly like a well-rehearsed team: they lifted and I screamed. (I’m sure they were most grateful for my inestimable contribution to the operation.)

Now back when Steve had put the call in to 911, he had told the dispatcher (and I’m sure this bit of news brought hearty chuckles and smirks to all involved) that not only was his wife having severe back pain but she was also desperate to go to the bathroom. And by this point, desperate was not anywhere near to being a strong enough a word to describe my pitiful state.

Once my two fellas and I had made our bumpy way to the bottom of the stairs and I had stopped screaming long enough for their ears to stop ringing, one of them said very politely, “Miss Becky, do you want to go to the bathroom now?”

I was incredulous. There had been no needle-abetted trips to La La Land. I’d endured a traumatizing yank out of my bed into a medieval-looking chair. I’d survived a terror-inducing trip down fifteen stairs. And now I was being asked if I would like to be placed on a toilet by two big ol’ Rescue Dudes?”

I think not.

Instead I scrunched my eyes shut and wailed like a 2-year old, “I wanna wait till we get to the hospital!”

We got out to the ambulance and I was moved from the chair to the gurney which, of course, produced even more ear-splitting howls on my part. I’m sure both guys were wishing they had brought their industrial strength earplugs along. They started me on oxygen since I was on the verge of hyperventilating—body shaking, teeth chattering,
bladder screaming. They also tried (twice) to start an IV in order to give me morphine but had no luck. By that time, my bladder had become fuller than full and I had became unhappier than unhappy.

Steve followed faithfully behind us in the car and then followed us into the ER where I was transferred to yet again to another bed. By this time, I was getting pretty close to the end of my (very short) rope. A few people came in to hook me up to stuff and ask me questions--I finally cut through all the blither and blather and yelled as delicately as I possibly could, “I
need a bed pan!” (I thought about adding “STAT” to my command, but thought it might be overkill.)

More pain ensued with getting the bedpan maneuvered into place (sorry if this is too much information) and after a few minutes of hopeful waiting, you’ll never guess what happened!

Nothing. At all. Whatsoever.

At this point, the nurse from our church came in, took one quick glance at the traumatic tableau and said, “We’re going to have to put in a catheter.”

Well, dontcha just know that
that news made me happier than I have ever been in my entire life. My body was already in such a hypersensitive state that if anyone even brushed my knee with their hand, I would jump ten feet in the air. And now they were talking about a catheter? I’m sure it was one of the more challenging jobs my little team had ever performed, but to their credit they persevered with great patience gentleness and were eventually successful.

My comment at that point? “Ahhhhh!!!”

Another nurse came in to ask Steve some questions and somewhere along the line she inquired, “Does Mrs. Smith smoke, drink or use illegal drugs?” Steve said, “Nope.” Then he waited a beat and added, “And she don’t cuss, neither.”

The nurse thought that was pretty funny. I even smirked (a very tiny smirk) in between my yells of “Ouch! Oh, I hurt! Ouch, ouch, ouch!” (For a person who loves words, I was certainly not being very articulate!)

The people who were working with me had tried several times to start an IV (using the tiniest needle size they had) and each time, the vein blew. When at last they succeeded, I experienced one of the happiest moments of my life. Going to the bathroom
and getting morphine all within five minutes—well, that was just about my closet brush with bliss ever.

The rest of the day was pretty much a blur from that point on: I recall mumbling some incoherent things to Steve and waving my arms around occasionally for absolutely no reason. Steve said the doctor came in to talk to me and I fell asleep right in the middle of answering one of his questions. (How rude!)

After about four hours of being observed to make sure the medicine was going to keep the pain under control (in addition to an uncomfortable, not-so-fun bout of dry heaves) they cleared me for discharge. My own personal
Sir Galahad was waiting with the car and we made the trip home to where my darling children and worried dog were all waiting for me. Steve went out and get my pain prescriptions filled, we ate a dinner that someone from the church had brought in and then, just for the fun of it, I started throwing up and running a fever. (Throwing up with a bad back? Not a good thing.)

By about 8:30, I was thoroughly medicated by half of the Wal Mart pharmacy, tenderly tended to by my family, and lovingly tucked into bed by my wonderful, considerate husband who had just spent his entire day off, lovingly and patiently ministering to his screaming, bladder-bulging, throwing up wife. He’s a good man!

Today has been a bit better; I’ve rested most of the day except for going to the chiropractor. The pain meds are keeping everything under control and someone else from the church brought dinner again for tonight so I am feeling well loved and well cared for.

And the best news of all?

I can go to the bathroom any ol’ time I want! Can life get any better?

2 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

Anonymous said...

I sure don't remember reading that one.

I can identify with needing a chiropractor for back pain... OUCH!!!

mrs pam

krueth said...

I have never read this before. I sympathize with you on your back pain. I have a horrible back as well, and start each day out with laying on an ice pack for 20 minutes before I get up to shower! So glad you have such a humor about it...Now... :-) Wendy