Back (look I did a pun or is it a double entendre?)

Soo….. I am back.

Like, really back. For real.

I know what many of you are thinking. And frankly, you’re all a bunch of pervs.

But seriously.

Something pretty bad happened and it’s taken me a while to feel capable of being funny about it. But I think I’m there now. Lucky for all of you.

I am sure you all remember that time I fell down a flight of stairs and hurt my back. If not, feel free to read about it here.

So, I recently had to get a new MRI. My back pain has been getting worse. And my doctor wanted to see where we were. I mean, I knew where I was. In lots of pain.

When the results came back my doctor sat me down for a serious talk. My disc is herniated and pressing on a nerve that goes into my groin. So she asked me, “Are you having any issues with incontinence?”

Now, you guys all know that I totally am. *cough cough* Here.

But like any responsible adult, I lied my ass off to my doctor.

She explained to me that incontinence is a sign of serious nerve damage. And that if I am experiencing it then I would need to see a neurosurgeon about getting back surgery.

Nothing like being threatened with surgery to get the truth out of me. So I told her I was having issues. Needless to say, my doctor was not pleased. Hell, I wasn’t pleased.

She also told me that my vertebrae were also pressing on my spinal cord (called spinal stenosis and is a result of the disc herniation). And that, untreated, it could cause me to become paralyzed.

And some combination of those three things are causing my constant back pain.

I’m not sure what my response was at that point. I believe I may have bragged about winning the genetic lottery. I know it isn’t fair to rub that in people’s faces but I really am a sore winner. And then I got the hell out of her office so she couldn’t see me cry. 

She referred me to a pain management doctor to see about getting shots in my back for the pain. And she referred me to a neurosurgeon to see about getting back surgery.

I left her office and cried for basically the entire day. I also texted a bunch of my friends some whiny self-pitying bullshit. Sorry, friends!

But then I started joking about trading in my body for a robot body. Like, a sexy lady robot with 8 foot long legs and laser gun arms. And I had to admit, that was pretty cool. But unlikely.

More likely was that I would be paralyzed and get a wheelchair. So I started thinking about that instead. But my wheelchair was going to be bitchin’. I wanted like, a glow in the dark human skeleton frame. And I would knit and embroider all the panels and spokes. And maybe carve some Enochian spells from Supernatural into it.

That wheelchair would be cool as fuck.

That night I lie in bed and thought. It’s not like back surgery would be worse than five heart surgeries. It’s not like being paralyzed would be the worst thing to ever happen to me. Not even death was scary to me. I had already made my peace with it years ago.

So what was the big deal?

Turns out nothing. I waited for my doctor’s appointments and tried to pretend like I was fine. Not facing the reality of my life is a finely honed skill. And I am on some expert wizard level at that.

But, I found out this week that my neurosurgeon wants to wait on back surgery. My pain management doctor wants to put some needles into my spine (which sounds metal as all hell).

And now I am just waiting to make sure I’m not allergic to the drugs I’ll get pumped full of. Which would be my luck.

In reality, nothing much has changed. My back doesn’t hurt worse now that I have names for my problems. And I’ve been making a lot of pretty dark jokes to everyone about it.

So I am back!

And I decided to dye my hair grey to match my tired, shitty, old person body. That story will be next!

Wheelchairing

After my most recent heart surgery I wasn’t able to walk due to the hematoma on my leg. But I still wanted to do things. I mean, I was young and wanted to celebrate not dying.

 

My ex, A, and I decided to go to Leu Gardens. It is a beautiful botanical garden. Sometimes there are weddings there. Also, I adore plants and love botanical gardens. One of my old friends used to tell me I was a lesbian for Mother Nature. So there you go.

My next gf?

 

A and I went to the main entrance and saw that there was an option to rent a wheelchair for free. I hobbled over to the lady behind the desk and let her know that I needed a wheelchair.

 

She gave me this appraising look with an arched eyebrow as if to say she didn’t believe I was sick enough to need a wheelchair and perhaps I was faking/lazy.

 

At this time, my leg was so swollen and painful that I could only wear elastic waist banded skirts. I couldn’t wear any pants or shorts. Not even sweatpants or pajama pants.

 

Instead of explaining myself or arguing with this rude bitch, I lifted up my skirt (flashing her my sensible but loose fitting underwear) and showed her my hematoma.

I was all “Bitch, please.”

 

She gasped and asked me what had happened. So I told her about the 5 heart surgeries and she ran to get me a wheelchair. She was super nice after that. But is still a terrible person for making rude assumptions.

 

A pushed me down the hallway and out into the gardens. They were beautiful. It was a warm and sunny day. Flowers were in bloom everywhere I looked. It was one of the most romantic things A ever did with me.

So pretty

 

And it all would have been really great. Except for my motion sickness. I almost immediately started feeling sick. A had to push me slower and slower because every turn felt too fast. Soon we were barely crawling along.

 

I don’t know if other people in wheelchairs get motion sickness. I don’t know what I would do if it were in one permanently. Even the motorized ones make me feel sick.

 

I was dizzy and miserable. I tried wheeling myself but it didn’t seem to help.

 

After about half an hour of rolling around in the wheelchair I begged A to stop. Unfortunately, he stopped me right by a park bench. And I immediately threw up my breakfast of eggs, bacon, and toast all over it.

 

Once I threw up, I felt much better. A and I laughed about me ruining the bench and we found a hose nearby to spray it down. We finished looking around and enjoying the gardens. But I would love to go back sometime now that I am ambulatory.

Maybe don’t sit on any benches there.


It took me quite a while to be able to eat eggs again after that.

The Trip to IKEA

After my most recent heart surgery; I had a massive hematoma on my inner thigh. By massive, I mean it was the length of my entire inner thigh from my knee to my groin and it spread to half the thickness of my thigh as well.

 

 

I actually have a picture of it, but it turned out to be a bit of a crotch shot (a disturbingly graphic underwear shot)  and I don’t want to traumatize you kind people any more than I already have with my stories. But here’s a picture of exactly what it looked like.

 

It looked exactly like this.

 

It was so swollen and painful and I had to go back into the ER for a few days so they could do an MRI of it to make sure I wasn’t going to bleed to death internally. The thing I like best about MRIs is how they take a day or so to be analyzed so you have plenty of time to think about blood transfusions and internal bleeding. Fun times.

 

I was out of work for two months after the surgery and one day my brother and I decided to go to IKEA. I had never been before and had been wanting to go for some time. I  had also heard of it’s magical  ability to initiate arguments in any group that went there. I sort of imagined it to be the equivalent of wearing a horcrux. I was secretly excited to test it out.

 

Why am I not a member of this club?!

 

When T and I got there, I was already having a bit of trouble walking but I was determined, as usual, to do whatever the hell I wanted (despite it being a very bad idea). Heart surgeries and hematomas be damned! This is the part where I tell you again that I am an idiot.

 

Walking into the store through the parking lot, we found a collapsible cane. I hobbled out into oncoming traffic to rescue it from being run over. I felt it was very serendipitous but T was worried we were taking a cane from someone that needed it. My attitude was: fuck the original owner. I legitimately needed a cane. And if the owner had needed it so badly, he/she wouldn’t have left it in the parking lot to begin with.

 

 

 

How sexy is this?

 

I used the cane for the remaining months and in fact still own it.

 

T and I had intended to rent me a wheelchair once we got into IKEA. It doesn’t get you reduced wait times or anything, but it was the best solution we had. At that point I had ridden in wheelchairs all over the place. Grocery stores, parks, malls, basically anywhere anyone would rent one.

 

Like being on a rollercoaster.

 

If any of you have never ridden in a wheelchair, they are pretty fun, provided it is temporary. But they give me hella motion sickness. Also, people treat you very differently when you are in a wheelchair.

 

For one thing, did you know you aren’t allowed to have a sense of humor when you are ill in public? Any time I made a joke about my health condition, I horribly offended other people that had never gone through what I was going through. Also, if I laughed at anything anyone else did, people questioned the seriousness of my illness.

 

I had several people comment that I didn’t look ill enough to need to rent a wheelchair. Even people that were actively making money off of renting me a wheelchair. This is another one of those 0 to bitch in 0.3 second moments of my life. I don’t generally get all ranty on this blog: but fuck those people. Seriously. Fuck them.

 

It turns out the wait for the wheelchairs was longer than anything I have patience for (ie: more than 5 minutes). So T grabbed a flatbed shopping cart and suggested he push me around on it. I looked at the uncomfortable metal frame. I looked at T. I could tell he really wanted to do this.

 

My chariot

 

 

 

Also, there wasn’t any other way (aside from waiting in line for 5 minutes) for me to view the store. So I gingerly climbed on.


My brother and I went on a tour of IKEA. It was one of the most fun days I have ever had. It was like being pushed around on a shitty, uncomfortable bed frame. And he and I disproved the IKEA fight theory. Or maybe it only works for couples.

Stress Test

In between the first two of my heart surgeries I had about a month and a half of downtime. All of it spent at home. Waiting for the blood thinners to kick in to the right level to make it safe to have another heart surgery.

 

It was a rough time.

 

Especially since I was still having serious physical issues. So serious that some days I literally could not stand up without blacking out. I would have to crawl to get to the bathroom.

 

I couldn’t drive at this point in my life, obviously. I couldn’t even walk. So I had to convince people to drive me around. But it wasn’t actually that hard. People tend to pity you when you have heart surgery.

 

One day, my little sister came to pick me up to drive me to the cardiologist’s so I could get my blood levels checked. It was a particularly bad day. It was one of those days where I couldn’t stand.

 

While we were driving to the doctor’s office I started feeling really really bad. My breathing started to get ragged and my sister started freaking out. She could see my heart pounding through my t-shirt.

 

We called my nurse and asked if we should go straight to the hospital. I was having trouble breathing. But she said to just come to the doctor’s office.

 

When we got there, my sister had to get me a wheelchair and wheel me in across the parking lot. By the way, if you have motion sickness (like me) never use a wheelchair if you can help it.

 

Before you start feeling too bad for me, you should know something. When I am feeling that badly physically, I feel incredible emotionally and mentally. It’s probably the lack of oxygen going to my brain. But I feel amazing I am cheerful and happy and upbeat. I tend to make a lot of jokes. The nurses over there love me. I am the youngest, happiest person they see.

 

The nurse checked my stats. My heart rate was so high the EKG couldn’t track it. My blood pressure was 60/30. The nurse felt my pulse and said it was somewhere over 200 bpm.

 

She left the room to cry away from my sister and I. She thought I was dying and didn’t want to upset us.  It turns out I was only having a stroke.

 

My cardiologist came in and told me that I needed to go to the hospital. But first, he wanted to do a stress test. I had never done one before. And being super high and hilarious in my delirious state; I couldn’t refuse. I was ready for any adventure, as long as I could do it lying down.

 

So they injected me with some crazy shit to do a chemical stress test. My heart began beating even more rapidly. I was sweating. I still couldn’t breathe and now I couldn’t talk.

 

My sister was sitting in the room. Watching me. There were several nurses I didn’t know. One I did. And my cardiologist.

 

My cardiologist began rubbing my throat. It felt really weird. I remember thinking this is what you do to a cat to get it to swallow medicine. But the medicine I was getting was via an IV.

 

I’m going to level with you here. I was 100% convinced that I was dying. I’d already had two heart surgeries by this point and I knew what abject misery and pain felt like. This was different.

 

I couldn’t talk. All I could do was look my little sister in the eyes and wonder how scarring it was going to be for her to watch me die. Because I was dying, guys. Really and truly.

 

Once I could speak again, the nurse that injected me asked, “How do you feel?”

 

And I told her. “After both of my heart surgeries I wished I had died on the operating table because I felt so awful. If I had had the energy and ability to kill myself, I genuinely would have. And this is the worst I have ever felt in my entire life. I didn’t think it was possible to feel worse than I did after those previous surgeries. And you have proven me wrong today.”

 

Then they called the paramedics. The were both young and super friendly and I asked them if they would pull a sheet over my head when they wheeled me out through the crowded doctor’s office lobby. They wouldn’t. Those guys don’t like to joke about death.

 

I got to ride in an ambulance, across the street, to “my” hospital.

 

When I got there, I was like returning royalty. The charge nurses remembered me. I was the only woman on the entire cardiac floor. And also the only patient under 60. But the high point of this experience was my cardiologist making the hospital let me wear my street clothes instead of a gown.

And also, being high from almost dying.