So I went to the walk-in clinic near my work this afternoon to find out about my shoulder and back pain and breathing troubles. He told me that my lifestyle isn’t active enough (biking to and from work, hiking on weekends, and working out at fencing twice a week is not enough activity? Dumbass.)
I figured that maybe going to fencing tonight would be all right, so I packed myself up at 7:30 and headed out for the 8:00 class. I arrived and did a few low-impact stretches and warm-ups, thinking that I’d know if it was too much. I didn’t do any of the more difficult stuff, like the running and push-ups and crunches and backwards push-ups and so on. After about twenty minutes of low impact stretching and such, I decided that it wasn’t going to work and I should go home. I started to pack up my stuff and was about to head out the door when the spasms kicked in.
For the next half-hour I was in agony, enough that they called an ambulance for me (I couldn’t get myself off the ground or the couch, and I could hardly breathe at all.) I remember at one point having so much trouble breathing that I started to panic – that panic that you get when you can’t breathe, when you’re not getting enough air. You feel it sometimes when you knock the wind out of yourself. It was that, only so much worse.
One of the instructors sat on the floor with me and helped me focus on breathing. It was the only thing I could do while we waited for the paramedics to arrive. The pain was nearly unbearable, but I still managed to bear it. For I don’t know how long, all I did was focus on him and breathe in through the nose (more like gasping) and then out through the mouth. If he hadn’t been there I may well have hyperventilated. As it was, I couldn’t think at all.
The paramedics arrived and were very nice. They took all my stats and said I didn’t have anything wrong in that sense, which was a relief. They then offered me laughing gas and brought up the big tin – I tried so hard to get some off the inhaler, but I just couldn’t breathe deeply enough to do it. I was sad, I really wanted the laughing gas.
I had handed someone my phone and told them how to call Adam (he’s my emergency dial, if you hold down the 5 it auto-calls him.) He was on his way to meet me at the school. The paramedics told me that they could take me to one of the hospitals in Vancouver, the closest of which were very busy and I’d probably end up waiting forever, or I could go with Adam back to the North Shore and go to Lion’s Gate. That made more sense, so off to Lion’s Gate we went.
The wait at the hospital emergency was the shortest we’ve had ever. Adam wheeled me in in a wheelchair, since I was in too much pain to walk or move or do anything but gasp, really. I had take some advil before the paramedics arrived, but it had yet to do anything.
I checked in with the Triage Nurse and we probably waited not much longer than an hour to get called out of the waiting room. We spent another hour in the treatment area, where the nurse took lots of info down and the doctor came by and examined me. He figured it was muscular, but took a urine sample for my kidneys just in case. Upon listening to my lungs, he told me they sounded fine.
The urine was fine, so no kidney problems. I got a prescription for Naprosyn (maybe?), Flexaril and Tylenol 3s, and he recommended physio. I should go back to my friendly physiotherapist down the street from when I wiped out last summer. He was nice.
Oh yeah, they gave me a shot of Morphine with Gravol, which is the only reason my back finally stopped spasming on me. I’m feeling a bit floaty and stoned. At least I am at home and I should be able to sleep tonight, unlike every other night this weekend.
I don’t think I’ll make it in to work tomorrow. But don’t worry, I got my Picture a Day on Adam’s cellphone camera! (Yes, I really am that obsessive.)