Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Story of My Herniated Disc

You know this story doesn't end well.

Three weeks ago, I joined an over 40 hockey league. I was looking for the exhilaration, excitement, and buzz of warm blood flowing through my veins that I missed since I was unable to run

After the first game, my damaged leg held up fine. My lungs were not overworked. I was plenty fast on skates. This was good.

Oh, but poor Odysseus, your trial and tribulations are not over.

My back was hurt, painfully so, and I took many rest days. I saw a doctor, who gave me steroids and muscle relaxers  I rested, walked a bit which made it feel good, but did nothing strenuous. After about ten days, I started to do back stretches along with the walking. The pain was nearly gone. I was going to recover.

But with no apparent precipitant, it got worse one day. I woke up with a painful burning in my hip. With each move, the pain spread its tentacles down the side of my body. I was unable to put on my clothes, and had to lay on the ground to try and put on a sock. When I tried, I felt something snap.

The pain, I assure you, was not exquisite. I gulped for air. My vision was hazy. I tried, but could not walk.  I called a neighbor to take my daughter to school, and then called my wife while I lay on the ground. Before I could even finish a sentence she said "Just stay there, I'm coming"  which were the most wonderful words to hear.

Urgent Care, where I moaned in pain and cursed with audible F-bombs. A Taradol shot followed. More muscle relaxers. X-rays said my back was not broken, so I went home but the pain started to spread down my leg to my toes. I spent a weekend in more pain than I knew was possible. Grunting, groaning, like a woman in labor only I couldn't scream at medical staff to cut the creature out of me. Nope. I was stuck. I haven't cried from pain since I was 9 years old, but wonder who's crying now? yes me.

The pain did subside some on Sunday night, and I went back to my primary doctor first thing Monday morning. The examine included a reflex test. (you know, the little hammer thingy on your knee and ankle) and my left leg has none. Zero reflex. The other leg was responsive, but my left leg was not.

(I got nothing)
The nerves are compressed.  And when I do walk, my left leg will suddenly give and is weak. These are all signs of a herniated disc. As I write this, my leg is not in so much pain anymore, its all about the bass. A nerve burns in my inner hip, but the flesh feels like a dentist has numbed up my ass cheeks.  I walk with a gimp. Think Keyser Soze from the usual suspects. 

Physical Therapy is next. Unclear of how long, but if the pain persists, then its time to cut me. I have spent 23 years in recovery from addiction and have never taken a benzoid or opiate, but out of necessity to bear this pain, I was given a ten day supply of Tylenol 3. (My doctor is fully aware of my addiction history) Also I am on a new round of steroids.

What now? Well, many people have herniated discs that cause no pain. Others get them but after a period of rest and core strengthening exercises, are able to continue with physical activity (I hope thats me).

Already I am hearing; "see what all that running did to you?"

My cynical, dark said says I'm fucked. That I will be the seemingly able-bodied guy riding in a scooter around Krogers and Disney World. But my optimistic side says, while I am tending to my back, my leg heals.. That all these steroids and anti-inflammatories and rest will repair not only my back but my leg, and I will go full circle and can go back to running.

Odysseus never gave up

For now, I just want to be able to walk normal and not fear the pain in each step. To walk the dog, mow the lawn. I want my gimp to turn into a steady, confident gait, and I will continue to not go gently into that good night.

The biggest trick the devil ever pulled


LBTEPA said...

Oh no! It sounds awful. Best wishes for a straightforward recovery. PS I bet it wasn't the running; the running probably gave you a strong core that delayed this from happening.

Charlene said...

I'm so sorry this happened! I hope that with rest, medication and some PT this will clear up and you won't need surgery.

Ty @tyruns.blogspot said...

I'm really behind on my blog reading..... so sorry about your back! I see this post was 26 days ago....I hope it is improving now? I will go on to a newer post....

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