Shortly after writing that last post, my back began bothering me. I assumed it was just the normal pain I have dealt with every few months or so since starting nursing school. Basically, in Kindergarten, I had an accident where I flew off the end of a slide and bruised my tailbone. It didn't start bothering me until I started clinicals in nursing school where I was having to lift and transfer heavy, elderly patients. It usually bothers me every 2 months or so, but if I ignore it, it usually starts to feel better after about a week if I continue my usual activity.
Well, I tried continuing my usual activity. I went to put my socks on for work the day it started to hurt and there was some resistance (per usual when those muscles tighten), but I pushed past it. When I got to work, it hurt a lot more and was spasming a little. I worked though it, got home, went to bed. The next day I woke up at 4:30am in EXCRUCIATING pain. I had the worst spasms in my lower back that would exaggerate with any small movement of my legs. I called in to work that day and instead registered as a patient at Urgent Care and was given some Flexeril (a muscle relaxant) and told to take it easy and it should heal. My sister moved into college the next day and I felt like a bum not being able to help (or hardly move for that matter).
I went to work that Monday-Friday and worked per usual except I tried to use proper body mechanics more and limited my lifting. I also went to see a chiropracter twice that week and thought I had turned a corner. I was starting to feel a little better. Granted, I was sleeping on the couch because my bed would cause worse spasms. That Friday at work, I bent forward slightly to answer the phone and my lower back completely gave out. I continued to work because I was already there and there was no one else to come in. By shifts end, I felt miserable and I had to work that weekend.
I woke up Saturday morning around 4am in the worst pain of my life. My whole back was spasmed so tight that I could barely move. Every inch I tried to adjust to get up would result in falling back into a leaning position on the couch. I called in sick to work that weekend (not an easy task when you are the only RN scheduled and are the only nurse that can do the infusions that are scheduled) and went to the ER Saturday morning. As a nurse (at the Urgent Care, which works in connection with our ER), I was extremely dissatisfied with my care at the ER. I felt stupid for going in anyway when there are people worse off than myself, but the doctor that saw me did not even examine me. He literally stood on the other side of the room and asked question after question (and scrutinized my decision of seeing a chiropractor and said that was probably why I was in so much pain in the first place). I was given more Flexeril and told to take the week off of work and discharged.
So, I didn't work for ONE WHOLE WEEK. I literally sat around, laid in bed, iced my back, took Flexeril, Ibuprofen, Aleeve, and Tylenol almost 24/7 and did some gentle stretching. I still had some pain returning to work that following Monday, but enough to manage.
Luckily, my back now feels 98% better. It is worse than when I started out before the pain kicked in at the end of August and I think it will probably always be that way. I have more trouble with my left sciatic nerve now and have to be super conscious of every move I make and every time I bend. My fellow nurses know that this is very distracting and hard to remember. I can definitely feel when I've had a busier day or if I spent a lot of time bending or tried to lift something heavy.
Having to deal with this has given me a new prospective of some of our patients that come into Urgent Care with lower back pain. I know how horrid it can feel. My anxiety level is through the roof pertaining to being paranoid about my back. If I feel a sharp twinge, I freak out that the pain is starting up again. My blood pressure sky rocketed (for me, anyway) during my bout with the pain, which stressed me out even more.
I also have come to grips with the fact that I probably will never be able to work as an inpatient nurse unless it's in pediatrics or the NICU. My back would not be able to withstand all the lifting that could be required.
Basically, this isn't a sob story for you all and I don't expect that you may have even read it because it's probably pretty boring. But I thought you should all know why I have been absent the past 2 months. I have been keeping up with reading some of the blogs though!
Hopefully, I start blogging more soon. Give me some ideas of what you'd like to see around these spaces! I need some inspiration. My #1 goal is to revamp my desk space to make it fun to be at for blogging purposes cause right now it's a disaster zone!
Plans for this weekend: Tomorrow is my sister's 21st birthday so we are going back to our hometown to celebrate with family and her friends and I am pumped. We'll be posting to social media under #hannahturns21 so follow our night if you want!
I love you all and hope you are enjoying fall so far!