This wasn’t the right time.
It wasn’t nearly the right place.
And it was never supposed to play out like this.
Pain is a bizarre thing. The two of you who read my words on a regular basis (Hi Annie!) are aware of my spinal problems. Over the past few months the sciatic pain in my right leg from a degenerating disc in my lower back has gotten very bad.
It started in an ironically harmless way. At the end of 8 hours in front of the classroom my leg hurt. That’s not too bad. I’m sure lots of people have pain in their leg from standing too long.
By Christmas it was bad. Pain setting in early and lasting long. But Christmas is a hectic time of year and lots of people probably tire easily from being on their feet so much and hanging decorations.
Then a physicians assistant in my doctor’s office decided it was her duty to deny a refill on my painkiller. When I went in for the obligatory office visit to beg and plead and show that I’m not actually a drug addict, she gave me a lecture about smoking before writing a refill for a drug half as strong and with half the number of pills. Did I mention this was a PA and not a proper doctor? But I don’t want to start writing about that. Let me just say that she also sent me for an MRI because I suggested it. This lead to me seeing an orthopedic doctor. I didn’t care for his bedside manner so I saw another. All the while, the pain was getting worse.
And then there was the car accident.
Did I forget to mention that one? Well… It was so traumatic that all I remember of it was lying on the side of the road, twisted metal all around me, unimaginable pain… The thing is, that was a dream. Last night I was in so much pain that I actually dreamed I had been in a car accident. I woke up, out of breath, reaching for my legs. Instead of the usual inflamed sciatic nerve on the back of my right leg I now had total coverage pain in both legs. What had happened?! What was going on? I looked around for my wife but realized that she wasn’t in our bed. Instead our daughter and Buddy the Dog were sprawled to my side.
It took me about 20 minutes to lift my legs and drop them onto the floor. Then it took me another ten to walk down the hall to the guest room where I found my wife. She had decided to lie down in the guest room with our son who must have woken up earlier in the evening. I inched closer to the side of the bed. I could not take another step. I plopped myself into the wingback chair that was sitting in the corner and… and…
Scratch that, I sobbed. The pain was that unreal. I tried to keep it in. Grown men don’t cry and all that. I was crying because of pain. I tried to understand this. What was I, five year-old? No, there was something more than that going on here. And when she opened her eyes, sat up with a hint of fear, and said “Oh my God, what is it, honey?” that’s when I realized why I was crying. Yes, I was in pain but what hurt more than anything was that she had to see me like this. As soon as she sat up I let it all out. I told her about the pain. She asked what she could do to help.
For the record, it took over two hours to find a comfortable position to get back to sleep. But before that happened my wife wanted to know what to do, how she could help me. She wanted to take me to the ER but I knew they couldn’t do anything for me there. Honestly, I was shocked by the rapidity with which this went down. In trying to explain my tears to my wife I said something to the effect of “I just never thought it would get this bad this fast.”
And that is where I want to leave this for now. I did get back to sleep (for a bit) and then I called in sick to work. And then I took my wife’s advice and called the surgeon. And I will tell you all about what he said in my next post.
In the meantime, please, please, please pray for me. I ask in all sincerity. In your charity, remember me and my family. Pray for us all. I pray for each of you every day at mass. Remember a special intention of mine that is related to this whole thing, please. Thank you.