It happened in my mind six years ago. The divorce. I remember the exact moment I knew it was over, though it would be five more years before I took action.
I first injured my back in a fire incident years ago. Over the years I have been involved in car accidents (hit from behind), sporting accidents, etc. My next debilitating injury happened when I was six months pregnant with my daughter. I was at the beach with my sons and while holding my two year on my hip I jumped down from a cliff that was higher than I estimated. The fall landed me in the emergency room.
I was in such pain that sitting was impossible so I stood for hours, waiting. I was there alone and although I stood up for myself, it was a busy evening and those who were bleeding profusely and not breathing took triage priority. As I watched, I told myself that if I ever ended up in emergency again I would use my pocket knife to stab myself until I saw blood in order to get fast tracked. Course, that would also land me in a psych ward.
Well, it took the humiliation of urinating on myself to get me in. This was a result of the herniated disc but they attributed it to the pregnancy. They did not want to do any imaging or provide me pain meds because of the pregnancy. I was in such pain that I begged for anything and asked God to just protect my little one through the ordeal. I was released at 3am after being given a shot of some narcotic. Not wanting to wake my husband I called a cab. A nurse should have wheeled me out but I walked out instead.
As I sat in the backseat of the cab I could feel one of my legs go numb. It was a passing observation. I wasn’t concerned, rather euphoric actually. Once arriving at home, the cab driver should have opened my door for me, but I opened it myself and stepped out. However, the leg that was numb was still in the backseat so I twisted and fell onto the sidewalk. It is unbelievable to recount, but, that cab driver drove away while I lay there on the sidewalk. Looking back, I’m not sure whether gravity closed the back door or whether he drove away with it open.
In any case, I was now in ten times more pain than earlier. Euphoria vanished. It was dark and I panicked. I wanted to scream but also didn’t want to wake the neighbors and make a scene. The front door was only 800 feet away. I crawled, cried and groaned. I got there and banged on the screen door with as much strength as I could garner in a prostrate position. One of my sons answered the door. The pain I held was released. I started crying, shaking and screaming uncontrollably, “Get your father, tell him to call 911!”. At the time, I was positive that my hips were broken (karma?). That is the only way I can describe that pain.
EMT’s arrived to find a woman six months pregnant, on the ground, screaming in pain, partially drugged, lacking sleep, drenched in urine and with crying children in the background. Oh the jokes we make about that scene today.
Note to self: Arriving to the emergency room by ambulance is the fastest way to get seen. Stabbing self not required.
As I lay in the gurney in the hallway, the attending physician who had released me less than 2 hours earlier walked by and did a double-take. He stopped and looked at me and asked if he had just released me. I told him he did but that I fell. My fix: more narcotics and re-release. I am positive he thought I was a drug-seeker. Without imaging it was my word against the disbelief I could see in his eyes. This time, I called my husband to pick me up and I was wheeled out by a nurse. After a week of bed rest I was fine again, albeit, with a slight limp. What an ordeal.
The progressive injuries took their toll and after a year, what ended up really taking me out after all of that, was playing on the floor with my crawling daughter. One moment I was chasing her and laughing and the next I was screaming in pain unable to move or stand.
~ His whispers had become unavoidable shouts ~
This time was different. I knew something more extensive and significant was happening. I did not want to call 911 and incur the cost. So, my mom arrived to watch the kids and both she and my husband helped me to the van where I laid down on the floor, unable to sit. The bumps throughout the drive to the emergency room were excruciating and upon arrival I was in such pain that I was literally unable to speak through my tears.
I also vividly remember being extremely upset that I could not hold the tears in. I was embarrassed that my pain was visible and that I could not function through it.
The attending physician rounded through diagnostics and as I watched him prick my feet my body did not respond. I could not feel it. Internally I was panicking. What does this mean? Am I paralyzed? He did other similar tests, looking progressively concerned. Meanwhile, I had been given some super strong narcotic for the pain which left me vomiting, causing more pain. Next stop, MRI…