This post may or may not be the pain killers I am on speaking through me. I have been nothing but a complete basket case of emotion. I get distracted by the simplest things and I go from crying my eyes out and wanting to go home, to professing my love to friends on their Facebook walls.
Like I kid you not, my first thought when I got out of the hospital on Wednesday night, was “Ooooooo the snow is so pretty! It’s sparkling and shiny!” instead of “Oh my gosh, my back feels like it’s cracking in half right now, ow! ow! ow!” And according to my roommate Isabel, when she came and visited me in the emergency room the first thing that came out of my mouth was “Oh my gosh! This is the best muffin I’ve ever had in my life!” – even though this was a muffin that came out of a hospital cafeteria, not exactly gourmet…Also, apparently the EMT guy that brought me to the hospital was “the nicest guy I’ve ever met”….but anyway, this isn’t a post about the pure heaven that pain killers provide, rather it’s about how the most painful, scariest experience in my life became one of the most comforting.
The week before this whole mess happened I was feeling so alone, homesick, and wanting nothing to do with the city of Minneapolis. I remember having a conversation with a friend that weekend saying that I didn’t feel like a priority to anyone, other than my family. Lately I feel like I’ve been drifting away from my friendships and that I haven’t had a chance to feel “close” with anyone. Which, I realize now was complete selfish thinking.
Some of you may or may not know this, but in the 11th grade I was diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease, which in simpler terms is the gel-like discs in the lumbar of my back is slowly decaying which is causing my spine to rub together, and it begins to swell up. Basically it’s like a permanent herniated disc that I get to enjoy for the rest of my life. It’s a wonderful let me tell you.
Here’s a visual representation for your pleasure. 😉
After a crazy weekend at a church retreat, sleeping on a church floor (probably not the best decision I’ve ever made…) hanging out with friends, and keeping up with homework, Sunday night I woke up with the worst back pain I have ever imagined. I couldn’t even lay flat on my back or let alone walk up straight. My spine was completely shaped like an “S” and my left hip was at least six inches higher than my my right hip. As my roommate Isabel and my mom put it, I looked like Quazi-Motto.
(Photo credits to Isabel Bengtson)
Aren’t I cute?
My mom thankfully was able to come down from Duluth in order to help me – and if it wasn’t for the timing, I would have been doomed. Because the next day, I couldn’t even get out of bed. If I even tried to stand up, I would end up collapsing in my mom’s arms because the pressure on my feet was too much to bear. My hips were throbbing, my back was spasming, my thighs were taking all of my weight when I was laying down which was causing them to tremor and shake, and my toes were tingling from all the pressure. I was what you call a complete mess.
Eventually we decided it would be best to call an ambulance – where I met supposedly “the nicest EMT guy I’ve ever met” – and I made the worst decision ever made by declining the pain killers they offered me and that I would “wait” when I got to the hospital. If it’s one thing I’ve learned in hospital terms “waiting” means up to four hours. That’s right, I had to wait FOUR HOURS for a doctor to come in and give me pain killers. And the only reason why I was able to get the doctor to come in after four hours was because I was literally screaming at the top of my lungs because the spasms were so bad. So here’s the lesson learned: If someone offers you pain killers when you are in the hospital, you take those damn things. Waiting is not an option while you are in the emergency room because if you don’t have a limb hanging off your body or your loosing buckets of blood – you aren’t necessarily a priority. You take what you can get.
Three nurses eventually stormed into the room, where they got my blood sample and put an IV in me (which we ended up not using anyway, so I had a useless needle stuck in my arm for half the day for absolutely no reason…). Now, I’ve never been good with needles, or blood and I’ve never had an IV done before – so immediately my face turned pale white and I started to get clammy. If it wasn’t for my mom’s support in that moment, I am sure I would have thrown up everywhere (Too much information I know, but needles and me don’t exactly see eye to eye).
After another hour of waiting, my friendly nurse Kym, finally got my happy pain killers and my frown and tears quickly turned into a smile and endless giggling at the simplest things.
Pain killers are my friends.
As the day progressed I had multiple visitors come. My mom’s old coworker, who I’ve gotten to know through the years came and saw us since she was down in Minneapolis, my roommates came and entertained me, where we watched goofy youtube videos and devoured chocolate cupcakes. And of course my mom was being her usual crazy self, which was enough comfort in itself.
Unfortunately just as I was about to get released from the emergency room, I ended up passing out from the drug cocktail I was on and crashing into a cupboard. Surprisingly nothing hurt, and I swear there must have been a guardian angle with me, because I remember severely crashing my shoulder and back on the concrete floor – and I felt absolutely nothing afterwards. God was for sure with me in that moment, I know He was, because the doctors guaranteed I would have been in even more pain after that.
After that moment, I had TWO more IV’s put in me (the first one ended up not working, which now I have a huge bruise the size of a quarter on my forearm, thanks to friendly nurse Kym…), and again thankfully my mom and friend Kendra were there to hold my hand while I went through another sweaty, nauseous moment of needles poked just about everywhere you can put an IV in. (My purple arms can just about prove it…)
After about two hours of being hooked up to an IV with fluid dripping into my system, and a good pick-me-up nap with HGTV playing in the background, I was finally able to stand up and walk to the hallway and back without feeling nauseous, which meant I was finally able to go back to my apartment.
Grasping on to my mom with dear life, I finally made it back to my room where I spent the night with my roommates gathered in my bed and us giggling to no end like we always do. Eventually the pain killers did their trick and I was drifted off into a haze of complete peace and drifted off into the best sleep I have had in months.
The next day, my back thankfully straightened out to some extent. I still hobbled and my back was only a little s-shaped still. But I felt so much relief compared to earlier in the week.
Later on in the day I had my friends Lyndsay and Stefanie come and bring me a cupcake from Cupcake bakery, which by the way was much better than supposedly “the best muffin I’ve ever had” back in the hospital. On top of that if I didn’t feel anymore cared for, I got loads of text messages, Facebook comments, messages, emails, you name it from people I haven’t talked to in ages.
In spite of all this random rambling – it’s crazy how God is able to take a miserable situation where I was in complete suffering and turn it into probably one of the comforting experiences I’ve had. Never in my life have I felt so much love, and because of that I don’t really remember the misery of it all – it’s my friends smiling faces and endless laughter and my mom’s hugs and how she sat by my side stroking my face that I remember most. And because of that I am able to look at an experience of complete suffering, with immense joy.
How in the world could I have been so selfish the week before thinking I didn’t have very many people in my life that loved me, when God clearly showed me this week that I have the biggest support system? My life is completely covered in love and I was created in love and for me to think any differently is wrong. And for that, I am truly sorry.
I am thankful for my friends and family who laid down their schedules, homework, and other priorities aside and put me first in their lives, when they absolutely didn’t have to. I am completely humbled by all of your love and your small sacrifices. I am thankful for all the prayers and positive thoughts and I look at all of you as a blessing.
I praise You God for your sweet love and I pray that you bless the people who have been by my side. You are the God of all comfort and I thank you for sending Yourself down to help me in my moments of suffering. Thank you for taking away the pain and leading me to strength. I pray that You will hold my friends and family close, for You have showed me the beauty in relationships. I praise you with all my might. I Thank you Lord with all my heart. In your Holy Name. Amen.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”
1 John 3:16-18
P.S. If there are any typos or sentences in this post that do not make sense, don’t blame me, blame the pain killers.