This is where the fun begins (sarcasm). This is also where my distrust and disgust in our healthcare system begins.
The date is March 16, 2017. It is my husband’s 31st birthday and the day before we were due to sign our papers to purchase a new house. It is about 7am and I am waking up to use the bathroom. My back is still hurting; it is hard for me to get out of bed. I ask my husband to stand behind me just in case.
You may be thinking, “Just in case? Why would today be any different? You just have weak muscles and a back ache from just having a baby. You are normal and just have to tough it out and deal with it”.
This is when I started to realize this is not normal. Nothing that has been going on with my back for the last 3 months was normal.
I start to get out of bed. I make it to the edge, I grab the headboard to help pull myself up (like I have been doing for the last few weeks). I stand up.
Next thing I know I can’t see anything. I can hear my husband calling my name but I cannot open my eyes. Let me explain something about my husband, he is not an emotional man. I’ve only seen him cry less than twice in our 5 years together, but I can hear pain and fear in his voice.
Once I am able to open my eyes I realize I am on the floor. I just passed out. I have never passed out in my life. I try to get up but I feel a TERRIBLE pain. Pain I have never felt in my life. Mind you I just went through child birth a few months prior. This “normal” back pain, just caused little healthy me that has never had any major medical condition or situation, to pass out.
I cannot get up. I can hear my baby crying in bed, my husband is concerned about me and I cannot get up off the floor.
I tell him to deal with the baby and I call my mom to come over and help. I also call an ambulance because every time I move my body, I feel like my organs are being ripped out through my back. The pain was in my mid back area right under my ribcage mostly on the right side. Again, not knowing much about my body I was thinking maybe it was my kidneys. Maybe I was having a kidney stone.
I felt dumb calling the ambulance service to come get me off the floor. I felt like I was on one of those commercials. The only thing I could say is, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”. I may have even laughed a few times while saying it. I was in pain, but it was only when I moved. More on this later.
In the meantime, my mother shows up to help with the baby. She gets the baby from my husband and they stand there and look at me, her and the baby. I don’t know which was worst for me, hearing the baby cry on the bed while I was on the floor and could not get up and do anything or having my baby see me on the floor unable to get up. I told my mom to take the baby in another room; I did not want her to see me in that condition. I was supposed to be one of the strongest people in her life and here I was, helpless. Even though I know she could not comprehend what was going on, it still made me feel like less of a mother.
“It’s ok”, my mom said, “she just wants to see her momma”. I let them stay there. Maybe seeing me would comfort her since I could not physically comfort her in that moment.
The ambulance arrives and paramedics come in. I am in a 3 foot space between my bed and the wall. For them to assess me they lift me on the bed. Remember that terrible pain I described earlier? It was back and I begin to get light headed. The paramedic keeps telling me not to use my muscles. Let them do the work. That was easier said than done.
They get me on my bed and then start checking my blood pressure, doing an EKG? and testing my blood sugar. My blood pressure would get low every time they would move me. They had to put me in a chair to get me down my stairs. As soon as they put me in a sitting position, the pain came back. “Trust us, stop using your muscles,” he kept saying. I am not 100% sure, but I am sure your core muscles that support you while sitting, probably activate themselves while you are sitting whether you are trying to use them or not.
I got really weak and my blood pressure went down again, almost causing me to pass out again.
They get me outside and put me on a stretcher. It feels nice outside. It is a cool morning by Louisiana standards. None of my neighbors were outside gawking at the spectacle I was making (thank God). They load me into the ambulance.
This is the first time I am in/ride in an ambulance in my life. The paramedic is putting me an IV while the other one was driving. That takes confidence if you ask me, to stick a needle in someone’s vein while in a vehicle that is in motion. I noticed how good the shocks are on the ambulance (traveling down a road that I am familiar with and know where the potholes are and I do not feel most of them). Occasionally we hit a bump and I do feel it and the pain comes back.
I accidently grab the paramedic’s leg and yell out in pain. I apologize to him. He understands. Considering I just had a baby, I was a breastfeeding mother and it was early in the morning, he figured maybe I was just dehydrated and having muscle spasms. He gets them. He understands the pain.
Then, we get to the hospital.