|Lil Abner comic strip character Joe Bftlspk |
I've hit a speed bump on my gay journey but hope that I am now slowly on the mend. About five days ago (Day 1), I woke up with a severe pain radiating down one arm, shoulder and back. I dragged myself around that day, but by Day 2, I was competely bedridden, popping Tylenol and Robaxin like they were Jube-Jubes but they weren't helping. I thought it was a pulled muscle.
By Day 3, the pain worsened and I had numbness in my hand and foot on the same side and realized something was seriously wrong.
My doctor came over to my house ( okay, okay... he's my neighbour and friend... Canadian doctors don't do housecalls!) He quickly diagnosed an extremely serious disk problem in my neck and told me spinal surgery might be needed. Back story: I've had serious osteoarthritis in my neck since the age of 34, an after-effect of radical surgery and radiation treatments on my neck done when I was a cancer patient 25 years ago. This latest occurrence wasn't completely unexpected.
After he left, I suddenly became overwhelmed with everything that had happened over the past five months: coming out to my family, my marital breakdown, crushing workload at work, a million jobs to do around the house and finally the prospect of surgery and now this unrelenting 24-hour-per-day pain. I imagined spending the rest of my life in a wheelchair or in chronic, unmanageable pain. I imagined my gay sex life being over even before it started. It was too much!!
At that moment, my estranged wife phoned to find out what our doctor friend said. At the sound of her concerned voice, I broke down and started to cry uncontrollably. I couldn't escape the pain, I couldn't drive a car, could barely walk....it was just too much!!! My wife immediately offered to come over and help out, but I said thank you, but no. I just could not have her here.... I just couldn't.
The kids were hanging around, gravely concerned, as they had never seen their father sobbing uncontrollably. When I stopped crying thirty minutes later, I explained to them and to my wife (on the phone) about the situation. The kids have taken over completely the running of my household and have been waiting on me hand and foot ever since.
X-rays on Day 4 confirmed a "moderate to severe" degeneration on two vertebrae in my neck but we already knew that. Most likely, these vertebrae were causing pressure on my spinal column or a spinal nerve, causing the relentless, excruciating pain.
My doctor friend arranged for me to see a specialist doctor on Day 5. Since I didn't have an appointment, I spend the two hour wait lying on the waiting room floor in excruciating pain. I spend the entire consultation curled up in a fetal position on the examining room floor, gasping with the intense pain while the doc asked his questions. The excellent doctor prescribed the maximum possible pain relief and heavy-duty anti-inflammatory drugs (to reduce swelling of the disk). At work, my colleagues have been working hard to ensure my replacements have everything they need to do my job.
Right now, Day 6, I am on 100% bed rest, but very comfortable and nearly pain-free. I've had a great day, free from job worries, tucked up on the couch with my dogs, eating, buzzed on pain pills and watching DVDs. Not a care in the world! (at least I'm trying hard to convince myself that is the case) I am confident that the anti-inflammatory drugs are doing their job. I can feel them at work! In fact, I've now cut back on my pain meds by 50% (I didn't like the spaced-out feeling) and still feel fine.
Next step: an MRI on Day 7 or 8 will tell us if there is actual disk damage which will require surgery. Otherwise, drug treatment will suffice for now. I'm pretty sure that I won't need surgery next week, but time will tell.
|I just needed some eye-candy to look at.|