And we’re back! I last left you hanging with the knowledge that I’d injured my back to the point of crippling pain and scary numbness just days before I was to board an aircraft for a nine and a half hour flight to Frankfurt.
Not a very pleasant prospect.
I’d hurt my back before, but nothing like this. That time it was only painful during the acts of rising from or settling into a chair, once that was accomplished I was fine. My current situation was vastly different as sitting merely exacerbated the pain and I only got relief with two things. One was lying down sideways on the floor with this as my view. Please excuse the mess. I was in no position to orchestrate the perfect domestic photo, thank you very much.
The other source of relief was walking. I spent that first night watching Netflix and circling the main floor of our house, around and around and around. As Poppy, our beloved border collie cross retreated to her bed, highly confused at my decidedly odd behavior, I was consumed with worry. What was that disconcerting numbness that fanned out from my right knee up to my hip about? Involvement of my sciatic nerve wasn’t a consideration because all the folks I knew who had sciatic issues had been impacted for weeks. Our family reunion of three, the first one since Christmas, was taking place in just eight days in Germany at a long anticipated wedding. I couldn’t imagine not being there, so endless sciatic nerve issues were off the table.
Let’s cut to the chase. What the heck had I done to my back?
My first courses of action were to get meds to handle the pain and a diagnosis.
After several fruitless phone calls at dawn the next morning, I finally managed to snag a physiotherapist appointment. With driving being a physical impossibility (the repetitive pedal action would be murder on my right leg) I knew it was time to share my news with other family members. That was difficult, sharing made it real. I was also worried about my 94 year-old mother’s reaction. A nurse in “a previous life” and a one-time sciatica sufferer, I thought she’d overreact and insist that I delay my trip. However, she rose to the occasion splendidly, stirring my MD into action and then purchasing those much-needed drugs. My sister swept in and arranged for not only the miracle meds of T3s, muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory cream to be delivered but also for me to be driven to my physio appointment. As for my kids, I’d avoid alerting them to my injury until I had concrete information, as there was no sense in needlessly worrying them.
As I exited the elevator and walked down the long hallway to meet my new physiotherapist for the first time, my heart pounded. Please don’t let him tell me I couldn’t make the flight. Please just let him prep me enough so that I could fly. I was prepared to do anything as long as I could fly on the appointed date.
The small examining room with its marvelous view of the mountains was somewhat refreshing. The walls were strewn with several framed and signed athletic jerseys, hinting that this guy was obviously a sporting fan. His response to my query as to their lineage was somewhat startling.
“I’m the physio for a German soccer team. I just got back from there actually.”
Things moved swiftly after that. I was subjected to a series of contortionist pretzel-like movements, one or two chiropractic moves and then hooked up to the soothing delight of the EMS machine, which you can read about here, if you’re so inclined.
An hour later, after being instructed in a series of exercises and being sent on a looping walk throughout their gym, I summoned the courage to ask him for a diagnosis. He smiled, innately aware of my concern and carefully replied,
“You’ve pinched a nerve.”
He had one other pertinent tidbit.
“You’re NOT to sit until your flight. You can lie down or walk on level surfaces. But you cannot sit.”
I chose to view this as a glimmer of hope and vowed to walk as much as possible in between the multiple appointments. But there were two problems. One, I live on an impossibly steep hill and two, my sister is a 45 minute drive away. Fiercely independent and loathe to lean on others, I knew it was time to broaden my circle of informants. Someone would have to drive me to flatter areas and “walk me” and chauffeur me to my appointments.
But who could I ask for help with such huge impositions?
Stay tuned and thanks for reading. I have missed you.