My back was horrendous all weekend, to the point that all I did with a beautiful weekend off was lie on a heating pad and whimper. A friend of mine with Many Awful Back Problems (as in girlfriend has a bionic implant that zaps her spine like an internal TENS machine) was pestering me to go to Urgent Care, but I was reluctant to do that for fear of being seen as a drug-seeker (usually when my back is acting up my x-rays will look perfectly fine, and I was in so much pain that a doctor who didn't know me being skeptical and unsympathetic would have made me cry).
Monday was slow at work, and I wasn't in TOO much pain with two naproxen on board.
Yesterday morning I had a stern talk with myself about my covert NSAID consumption after a papercut I didn't even really notice turned into a trail of blood across the floor that had me wondering who was hurt until I raised my hand to push my glasses up and saw it was covered. Whoops! So I just took one naproxen before work instead of two, but we ended up being really busy and after work my back hurt so badly that all I could do was go to sleep on the heating pad.
Today I took two naproxen again (I know, BAD MFA MAMA!), but was in pain all day anyway despite it being slow. Midway through my shift my left leg started to buckle periodically and sort of lag; it would do what I wanted it to do but there was a slight delay, and both legs felt like I'd just worked out to exhaustion. NOT GOOD! At that point I knew I needed to see a doctor, and since my GP doesn't have an x-ray machine at her office I went to Urgent Care after work. I was still pretty sure nothing would show up and concerned I wouldn't be taken seriously, but I know better than to ignore neurological symptoms.
It turns out I'm an idiot on a couple of counts. First of all, the doctor I saw at Urgent Care (after a brief kerfuffle with the triage nurse, who freaked out because my BP was 87/54) probably knows me better than my own GP (he greeted me with "hey there, MFA Mama. Bad Ear acting up again? No? Lungs, then?"), and took me very seriously when I described what was going on. And second, something DID show up on the x-rays: I have a bulging disc at L-5. D'OH! I left with prescriptions for high-dose steroids, muscle relaxers, and narcotics, a sheet of exercises to do, and a prescription for physical therapy should I go back to being in an unacceptable amount of pain when I stop taking the steroids. The doctor also offered to write me a work excuse if I didn't think I could work in this much pain, but I told him I couldn't afford to miss any shifts and he said it was up to me and to let him know if I changed my mind.
So the good news is that a) I'm not just a wuss (I seriously thought this would turn out to be nothing and I'd feel dumb for wasting a co-payment) and b) I now have pain relief that I can take without thinning my blood any further and that ought to work a lot better. Well, and also c) I had medical insurance and the money to actually go see a doctor.
And how are all of YOU?