This past August, my friend I were leaving the mall and walking to my car. I unlocked my car door and took a step up into my car. Out of nowhere, a sharp pain shot up back and I fell to the ground, screaming, and in tears.I had never experienced a pain like this before. My friend rushed over to me and had to help me up off the ground and pick me up. The pain was so bad that my friend had to drive me home because I could not sit upright to drive. When I got home, I laid in bed with multiple ice packs under my back, praying for it to help the pain. After one of the worst nights of sleep ever, I woke in the morning realized my back pain had worsened and it was now starting to run down my left hip.
My uncle, who is a physical therapist, tried to some exercises with me to help loosen my back muscles, but nothing was helping. My felt my back and told me that I had muscles spasms running down the left side of my back from my shoulder to my hip. His advice to me was to alternate heat and ice, so I did, for about 3 days. 3 days of lying in bed, most of the time spent in tears. I felt as though I had no control over my body and simply tasks such as showering or fixing my hair, seemed impossible. I had called out of work, so on top of being in pain, I was stressed because I was not making money, and still had to keep up with my summer classes.
After 3 days of trying to solve the issue on my own, I decided to go to Patient First. They gave me the same diagnosis my uncle did and sent me home with some muscle relaxers and told me to go to physical therapy. A week passed and nothing was helping. The pain was still there and was in fact getting worse. I realized that I hadn’t gone to the bathroom in about a week and I had only been eating once a day, if that. One night, I fell asleep around 6pm, and woke up to the worst pain I have ever had. Worse than ever before. Usually lying on back helped relax my back muscles but nothing was helping this time around. I could not walk, I could not sit, I could not lay down, I could not stand. My body was weak and I was exhausted from being in so much constant pain. I tried to sit down, and the pain shot up my back and up my neck. I was terrified because I new then that it had to be more than muscle spams.
I was rushed to the ER, and after around 6 hours of waiting, x-rays, and many questions. The doctor told me that I had sciatica, even though I NO injuries to my back. This meant that my muscle spasms hit my sciatic nerve which was in my hip, causing me to be in this much pain. I was prescribed even stronger muscle relaxers and was given percocets. If I thought I was not in control of my body before, now I really wasn’t in control. I spent days in bed, doing nothing, feeling nothing, sleeping all the time, not eating. Basically lifeless. Days turned into weeks, and after 3 weeks of bed rest, by back was finally starting to feel better. I had lost around 10 pounds from not eating. I was also out of work for over a month, so I lost a lot of money to.
Since then, my back is still not 100% okay, but after many doctor visits, physical therapy appointments, x-rays, MRIs, and orthopedic surgeons visits, it’s getting better. Sometimes if I turn the wrong way I feel a little bit of pain and freeze, in the fear that I will lose control of my body again. I cringe thinking of how I felt during that month… The looks I got from strangers when I tried to walk and couldn’t stand up straight… The numbness from the medication… The unhealthy weightless… The loss of control, and the pain.
How do you lose control over something that is yours? Something that is YOU. How do you lose control of yourself? Do you have control over yourself?