Thursday, February 22, 2007


If you're like me, you have a spine. Spines are great! They hold up our skeletons, bend in many directions and even help define us as mammals. But sometimes a spine can turn into your worst NIGHTMARE!

Let's start at the beginning. My family was very excited to be jetting off to spend a long weekend in Venice, Italy for Carnivale. I had packed Hellcat and Jellyface's backpacks full of socks, undies, and Gameboys. My backpack was at the ready and we had clothes laid out - even the coffeemaker was ready to brew at the flick of a switch. Why all the super-readyness? Because we had a 6AM flight to catch. To check in on time our alarm was set for 3:30.

(cue alarm)

I sat up in bed (as you do) and a HUGE pain shot through my lower back. I thought, "If I just stand up, my back will relax and feel much better." So I stood up. For a millisecond. Then I fell to the floor in a most dramatic fashion, and made very loud moaning sounds that alarmed my husband. He ran to rescue me, but there wasn't much to be done. We managed to get me and my spine downstairs and on the couch but the pain was still as excruciating as it was when it first struck. Italy suddenly seemed very far away indeed.

"Should I call an ambulance?" fhwrdh asked worriedly. "Yes, I believe so" I replied moaningly.

The ambulance arrived twelve hours later. fhwrdh said it was only 10 minutes, but it pretty much felt like twelve hours. There were two attendants, they could have been brothers and through my vague recollection, reminded me of Wilford Brimley. Now a word from Wilford:

Disclaimer: I do not have the Beetis. Just a hurt back.

Ok so I am still writhing in pain on my couch. The Paramedic Brimley twins confer and decide that I could use some pain relief.

She doesn't look like she's feelin' grand. Should we give her some morphine?

Morphine yes, but the laughing gas too.

First, they bring me a tank of nitrous with a mouthpiece that I get to breathe. While they are doing that, they start an IV and give me some milligrams of morphine. This is very different than in the USA:

Hello Rampart, This is 51, we have a female, mid thirties, with acute back pain.

Hey Johnny, Don't forget to tell them she is pretty.

I heard that Roy. Let me get Dr. Brackett - he's just out smoking.

Thanks Dixie. This is Dr Brackett. Give that pretty lady some Morphine.

Then I get loaded into the ambulance and taken to St Vincent's Hospital - not the one in Boise, Idaho where my little sister was born, the one in Dublin where there a are whole lot of sinks but no one seems to wash their hands. (This is my ONE complaint with this hospital - otherwise the staff was friendly, caring and knowledgeable.)

Six or eight hours later, I was discharged with prescriptions to knock me out and my family came to get me. We missed our flight to Venice, and I spent four days on the couch.

The post script of all of this is, we were able to reschedule our trip to Venice for March. This turned out extra good because we have friends that will be on the same flight and staying at the same apartment so that is happy fun time!

Also I just received the bill for the ER visit: €60 - that is about $80. Thank you national health-care system!


Deborah said...

Can you bring the extra Valium to Venice?

April said...

Hooray for good drugs!! I'm so sorry you were hurting - hope all is well now.

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