Thursday, December 8, 2016

moving and falling, and maybe more

My husband and I are separating, in an entirely amicable manner. I had never really given it that much thought because it was entirely unaffordable, though I know that I craved to live alone. Once I inherited money from my aunt, the thoughts started to come to the surface, and I realized I no longer wanted to be married to my husband. We went to three counseling sessions. The most interesting thing that came out is that he was not willing to do the work to keep the marriage together. I guess it wasn't a surprise, but it was a surprise to hear him say it, to have it acknowledged.

So I found an apartment, which would have been impossible without having some money to put behind it, since my credit is only fair and my salary is low. I made a cash-based deal to rent a very lovely one-bedroom apartment near Kings Highway. Good neighborhood, very good building (including an elevator, laundry room, and super).

However, a few days before I was supposed to move, I was going through some cartons stacked outside the doorway of my old apartment, stepped back a little too far, and began to fall down the stairs backward.

As best I can reconstruct this, I fell down several stairs, grabbed the banister to try to stop, and the momentum flung me over the banister and I fell to the next floor, face down. I believe the banister caught me very hard on my left hip and groin. I had my hand in front of my face, so I only had a tiny bump on my head (did not lose consciousness), and a bit of a bloody nose. But I did not move in case I had a back injury. I yelled to Barry to call Hatzolah (a very good volunteer ambulance service), and went to Community Hospital, where I was examined and x-rayed. The x-ray showed I had fractured my first lumbar vertebra, L-1.

So Barry and L-1 and I went home in a car service, and the next day, went to my doctor, who is thankful only a block away. I was in a lot of pain and couldn't walk more than a shuffle. He immediately put me on Cipro (some of the color and raised quality of the bruising indicated an infection) and a strong ibuprofen. The following day, I told him that the ibuprofen was doing nothing, and he put me on oxycontin instead. My left butt cheek turned almost entirely purple, as well as my groin, and part of my mons.

I went, and continue to go, to the doctor every day, where I was getting daily shots of an anti-inflammatory and a muscle relaxant. Had an MRI of my lumbar area and two of my hip/pelvis (one with contrast and one without), and another x-ray, which showed my T-12 vertebra was also fractured and the fractures were causing the discs below to bulge.

I missed Thanksgiving with my family.

My hip really hurt more than my back, and I spent a lot of time sleeping/resting on my right side. Slowly, the pain began to abate, and the bruise started to vanish, The doctor stopped the shots, I finished the course of Cipro, and got a back brace.

By a few days ago, I was having a lot less hip pain, but I asked the doctor to have a test done to make sure there had been no damage to my organs. So I had a sonogram done a few days ago.

The sonogram showed two masses on my left kidney, which may or may not be related to the fall; it may be residual blood clots from the internal bleeding. It may also be cancer. I am supposed to have a CT scan today for a better look.

So this took place over the past week and a half. Barry has been a champion. He took the first week off from work, and has accompanied to every doctor visit and test, while taking care of all household things and all shopping. He arranged to have whatever was already packed moved to my new apartment. (My move was scheduled for three days after my accident.) He has been amazing.

I have updated friends and family daily, as well as notifying my job. My best work friends, Charles and Jonathan, have texted pretty much every day, This apartment is too small and grungy to have visitors. I've also been publishing updates on Facebook daily. I have a lot of good support.

After I got the sonogram results, I told everyone the sonogram was "inconclusive" and that I had to have a CT scan. No reason to worry my 86-year-old father until there was actually something to worry about. I did tell the true story to my brother and to my bestie, Robin.

So I am mostly out of pain and thoroughly panicked. The doctor said that if it is cancer, it is easily treatable. And I do have a second kidney.

This has been, to say the least, an ordeal. My walking improved pretty quickly. My appetite was really poor, and although we initially ordered a lot of take-out, we've been relying pretty heavily on the new gourmet shop attached to the excellent greengrocer right next to the doctor. I needed food that would tempt me, so I've been eating a lot of goat cheese and crackers, fresh-press juices, and gelato. Barry brings lattes a couple of times a day. I recently discovered the shop's pre-packed salads, which are fancy and excellent. He also buys chocolates for the office staff at the doctor's; the "girls," as the doctor calls them, are endlessly hardworking and pleasant. They have performed admirably in wrestling with my insurance company to get my tests approved and scheduled.

I have basically paid nearly nothing this whole time. I paid a $20 co-pay this first time I saw the doctor, and everything else has been a follow-up at no charge. We've paid co-pays for my meds, and for car services to and from the labs. But that's about it. My insurance has proved to be very good. I have weekly Skype sessions with my therapist.

I'm going on disability from my job, and the move is on hold. In my new apartment, I have one rug laid and the other is there but not yet laid. I have my mattress (the bed will arrive December 17), all my linens, a microwave, a TV, a blender, dishes, flatware, and a vintage Danish teak dresser. (I did give Barry a bunch of money, and he's landed a share at a friend of a friend's). I haven't been able to think much about the move and furnishings; I have nothing yet for the living room and no dining table and no kitchen island (the kitchen is low on counter space, which is basically the only flaw in the apartment), and no shades. I have chosen styles and colors for the various rooms. The bedroom is blue, the living room is various warm colors, the bathroom is green, and the kitchen will be highlighted in bright red. For some sense of my design ideas, you can visit my rather large Pinterest ( I spent a chokingly large amount of money on my bed and mattress.

Furnishing from scratch is exciting and scary. I'm mixing real and faux mid-century modern pieces. Buying the small stuff was easy; buying the big/expensive pieces is scary (except for the dresser, which was so enchanting that I bought it immediately).

But this all seems very far away now. My real life seems very far away. I will be doing a lot of physical therapy for my back, and of course there may or may not be extensive treatments for my poor kidney.

I thought this was all drawing to an end once the pain was pretty much gone. Once the pelvic/hip pain abated and I got the back brace, I've felt a lot better, though I'm still taking oxy and resting a lot. I only found out about the kidney yesterday, and I've done a good deal of crying since then. This has perhaps been the scariest part of the whole ordeal: scarier than the ER, the fractured back, the ceaseless pain in my hip and groin. Last night, I wanted my mother like nobody's business. 

No comments:

Post a Comment