Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A WEEK IN REHAB, THEN AN EARLY VACATION

I'm spending this week in rehab. No, not for alcohol or drug addiction, but for a very painful left knee, which I told you about in my last entry.

That joint didn't get any way but worse over the weekend, in spite of everything I did to treat it myself. I kept my dental appointment, as scheduled Monday, and all went well. I'm having little pain from the twin extractions I underwent. Either that, or the pain in my knee when I walk is so much worse that it's making me forget about my sore mouth. I was still limping along on Monday -- painfully, but still under my own motive power.

Tuesday, the day I was scheduled to leave out again, all hell broke loose. I got up from bed, stood, took one step and promptly sat right back down again. YEOWTCH!!! The pain was supercharged that morning. Felt like someone was stabbing my knee with a red-hot knife when I put the slightest weight on it. Total agony with every step I took. It was all I could do to make it to the bathroom and back.

I hobbled back in there, drew a tubful of steaming hot water, then yelped some more as I lowered myself into it. Sat there more than an hour, got out, dried off, took another step and sat back down on the Throne. The hot water didn't phase it a bit, as it had done on Sunday morning. I was now down to walking in a series of tiny "baby steps," inching along to wherever I had to go. This won't do, I thought. Ain't going trucking in this shape. I wouldn't even be able to climb up in the thing, in this condition! I called my company, told them what was wrong and that I'd be seeing my doctor that morning. Wasn't much they could say but "Okay. Keep in touch." Ten-four.

I got dressed, gingerly went down the basement steps, moving slower than a snail, made it to the garage, and sat down in my trusty pick-em-up truck. Drove to my doc's office and quickly learned that she was closed for her annual two-week vacation period. So, I went to the E.R. at the closest hospital, out of necessity. I had to find out what was wrong and get some kind of relief for it. I'm a reasonably tough old buzzard, but this kind of pain was too much for even me to shrug off. Something was very amiss in my left knee and I knew it.

I got to the E.R., drove through the closest lot and, of course, there wasn't a space to be had at all. So, I went to the next-closest lot and paid three bucks in advance. This put me across the street and in the situation of having to walk over there, then down a hill, to the E.R. entrance. I didn't make it. I got across the street without getting run over, made it onto the sidewalk, then gave out entirely; the muscles in my good right leg were screaming at me from overworking them, trying to compensate for my useless left one. I was on the verge of falling over and there was nowhere I could sit down. One look at the hill I had to descend and I was quoting Tony Soprano:  "Fuggitaboudit!!!" I would end up rolling down the hill, on my head, probably.

A hospital worker came out, noticed my plight, asked me what was wrong, and I gave him the short version of things. He held onto me, helping to support me, and called inside on the walkie-talkie he was carrying. A few minutes later, a nurse came out with a wheelchair, and she rolled me through the hospital and downstairs to the E.R. I filled out the admission form and waited till they could see me. They took me back after about twenty minutes, put me in an exam room, tossed me a gown, and told me to strip to my skivvies.

A doctor showed up and I gave him all the details I could about my injury. He squeezed around and rotated my leg and knee until he hit paydirt and I yelped with the pain. He then sent me upstairs to the Ultrasound lab, where I underwent a test for blood clots in my leg. He said that long-haul truckers, like myself, were very susceptible to blood clots, due to the long hours we spend sitting in one position, driving. I prayed that I passed that test, because that sort of thing can doom a driver's career, permanently, I knew.

Whew!!! The ultrasound showed that all was normal in my circulatory system, thank God!! The doc came back into my room and told me I had a pinched sciatic (sp?) nerve. Major nerve that runs all the way through your body, practically. That was why, he said, the pain was radiating upward, into my hip, and also downward, to the top of my foot. Major pain was in the knee, though, because that's where the pinch had occurred. He thought I did it when I twisted my knee slightly, crawling under my trailer the week before. Pulling the nails from the trailer Saturday had likely aggravated it and that's when it began hurting, as I drove home. No swelling at all, and I hadn't pulled or sprained any muscles or tendons.

He gave me a shot that made my tongue feel like it had an overcoat on, and prescribed an anti-inflammatory drug, to calm the nerve down, a muscle relaxer, to calm my knee down, and some Happy Pills, to calm the pain down. All the stuff is doctor-prescribed Industrial Strength, which I need and which beats the crap out of any OTC meds you can legally buy. I'm high as a kite from the pain pills as I write this. Pleasantly high, without a pain in the world. As long as I don't put all my weight on that knee. That still gets my undivided attention, even with the meds! Doc told me to take this week off and stay off the leg all I could. That's easy advice to take. I called my company again when I got home and moved my last week of vacation up to begin this coming Saturday. That will give me an extra week to recover and I won't lose a week's pay, which I definitely can't afford to do.

So, I'm not all the way out of the woods yet, but I have gotten some relief which I badly needed. Still creeping along with very short steps, with the help of the aluminum cane I bought Sunday, and which I promptly and aptly named, "McCane." It's my Best Friend right now; we're almost inseparable!! I lean on it to my heart's content, and it supports me like a government social program. And so far, at least, it's proven to be 100 times more dependable than the government ever was!

Now, let's get this screwed-up nerve all healed up fast. Got a vacation week coming up and I WANNA RIDE VELVET!!!

10-7

2 comments:

jeanniebuggz said...



Glad you are at last feeling no pain(until you get up again anyway)

tsalagiman1 said...

I'm so glad that the problem wasn't a blood clot or anything more serious, although it's serious enough as it is.  I loved the "McCane" and being supported "like a government social program" double entendre!  Take it easy, and I hope you heal quickly. Glad the extra down time worked out the way it did.

Dirk