Saturday, 6 March 2010
So... I know in the past, somewhere back in the mess of words on this blog, I've made mention of the fact that my back is buggered.
Three years ago this month I got bucked off a horse. No... I did not 'fall off'... I know how to ride, and I ride well. (Or at least I used to... I don't ride at all anymore.) He wasn't one of mine. He was at a friend's for his annual spring tune up. (She's a horse trainer and I know the horse's owner.) I had ridden him before on several occasions and never had any issues. And in March, in Canada, there are no insects to bother a horse. There was only my friend and myself. And the two horses we were riding, of course. In an indoor arena, with four walls and a roof, so there was no wind either.
There was no indication that anything was bugging him. I wasn't even asking him for anything particularly strenuous. We were just loping around at a nice, comfortable pace, toodling about the arena.
And then he blew. No warning. No getting pissy or antsy, acting up and giving me a sign that he wasn't happy about something. Nothing. He went from quietly loping along to rodeo in one stride.
It was just one buck. One very large buck. One buck huge enough that he launched me into the air, where I flew ass over tea kettle and landed on the sand of the arena floor about 25 feet ahead of him. Landed on the small of my back. Did you know that sand becomes hard as concrete if you hit it suddenly?
My lower back did not appreciate that landing. The flying through the air was no problem whatsoever. But the landing was rather abrupt. My friend was at the far end of the arena and saw my airborne antics but there was absolutely nothing she could do except watch in horror.
I didn't get the wind knocked out of me, because I didn't land on my upper back first. And I didn't break anything, although I certainly wish I had. And as I lay there in the sand, unable to move my legs, trying to breathe through the intense burning pain that was searing through my pelvis, that damn horse had the audacity to wander up to me and look at me as if to say, 'what are you doing down there?'
I wanted to kick him in the nose as hard as I could.
But I couldn't move my legs at that moment. I was hyperventilating through the pain. I told him to fuck off and die right there on the spot, the bastard. He ignored me. The bastard.
So once I could get up off the ground, I put ice packs on my back and drove off to the physiotherapist's clinic. I could move. I could twist. I knew nothing was broken. But it was swelling and burning and it hurt like hell.
I became lovely shades of dark purple and black and looked like I had a fannypack attached permanently to my rear end from all the soft tissue damage and swelling.
Over the past three years, I have had physiotherapy, traction, massages, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, drugs, CT scans and last November, an MRI. I finally got a referral to a neurosurgeon to see if there is anything that can be done to fix my back.
Because I have three herniated disks. I have difficulty sitting for any length of time. Standing in one spot is also an issue. (Guess what I do at my job?) And bending forward slightly for longer than 10 seconds or so can send me to my knees. I get sciatica in one leg or both. I've had my whole right leg and foot tingle the entire day. Nothing like walking on pins and needles... I have now had steroid injections twice in my back done by a physiatrist (physical medicine doc) and have been told I get one more in August and that's it. No more. It helps a bit (although not when he's sticking the needle in until he touches the bone and then withdraws it slightly to make sure he's injecting the right spot.... there is nothing to describe that kind of hurt, and even though I have a very high pain tolerance, that has me hyperventilating and fighting very hard to hold still). He also told me he'd bet dollars to donuts that the neurosurgeon will recommend surgery because one of the herniations is impinging on a nerve root.
But here's the rub. I had to have the MRI first, the neuro office told me. Then the surgeon would review my MRI and determine if I need surgery. And then he'd see me. So, over three months after the MRI, I'd still not heard from the surgeon's office, so I gave them a call. Oh yes, the girl said, your name is here. I'll put you on the waiting list. Waiting list for what? I asked. For an appointment, she said. You have a waiting list for an appointment? I asked incredulously. Yes, she said. And just how long of a wait is it to get an appointment? I asked. Well, she said, we have people on the list going back to 2008...
You have got to be kidding me, I said. No, was all she said.
I hate our medical system for this. The government is all about speeding up wait times to see doctors and they even put some of it on their website. Especially things like hip replacements, heart surgeries, that kind of thing.
Neurosurgery doesn't make that list. I guess it's not that news worthy an item.
If I had $30K I could head down to the USA and get it done rather expediently. I don't even have that much equity in my house. It ain't gonna happen.
I've found a spine doctor in Vancouver (you'll remember that place from all the Olympic hoopla recently) online and have sent him my info to see what his opinion is. He's in the private medical sector. He's also 3000 kms away. But I have a cousin in Vancouver and could probably make arrangements with her if I need to go there for anything. But again, I need to know the cost.
We supposedly have universal healthcare here in Canada, so getting my back taken care of shouldn't cost me anything out of pocket. I pay enough taxes that I shouldn't even have to think about forking out cash for care.
I guess having a fucked up back just isn't fashionable enough to warrant media attention and shorter wait times. I just may call up the local paper and my MLA to see if I can get things sped up a tad.