Tuesday, April 18, 2006

What the hell, Cupcake?

As Josh and Policate have pointed out, I left you all hanging with the Easter post and then took a little hiatus. What gives? Oh boy, do I have a story for you. A virtual roller coaster ride of highs and lows. Read along with me, cupcakes.

So Tuesday morning, for reasons that seemed very faint and distant in the early morning light, The Ladies Who Brunch decided to meet at Prospect Park at 6am to get a lap in before going to work. The inside track of the park is 3.35 or 3.6 miles depending on who you ask, I guess. It was not too terrible except for the way your legs get itchy when you exercise and it's cold outside and I couldn't really keep up with the big girls because of my comicly short Dachtshund legs. I got back to my place shortly after 7am and hopped in the shower before going to work.

Hmm. This is where things kind of started to fall apart. I got on the scale for my second weekly weigh-in. To my disbelief, I gained five pounds. I GAINED FIVE POUNDS. This is despite a week of going to the gym, skipping the french fries, eating goddamn non-fat yogurt for breakfast and stopping at a rest stop highway food bonanza and telling my brother, "No, it's okay. I'll skip the nuggets and ice cream and just get a Diet Coke." As I contemplated the number on the scale, I wasn't even that mad. I just felt totally defeated. Then I had a thought: maybe I'm going about it all wrong. Maybe the way to lose weight is to lay around and eat cheesecake. Then I realized that probably wouldn't work and went back to feeling defeated.

From that point on, the tone of my morning shifted and I turned into a mess. I was developing a big blister on my big toe and walking like a mo' to compensate. I dropped my compact on the floor and lost all my powder. The mirror didn't crack, but I got the bad luck anyway. On the subway, I couldn't help falling asleep. I thought back to that moment when the alarm went off at 5:30am when my first thoughts were "What the fuck?" and then, "Ohhhhhhhhh." I realized that I had gum in my shoe. IN my shoe. I don't know how that happened- maybe a stick of gum fell into my shoe and I wore it anyway and my foot sweat melted it? Because the paper wrapper was still on the gum. Gross, I know.

So, I went to work and had a very busy morning. I was in a bad mood. Then my boss called me into his office and gave me a raise. Then I was in a good mood. I no longer cared that I had increased in pounds because I had also increased my base rate. That seemed fair. I was happy and smiling. Boy, am I dumb.

Shortly after 1pm I left my office to get some quick lunch and pick up a birthday card for Pop. Again? Comes around quick. On Saturday he said, "My birthday is coming up. Did you forget?"

"No, of course not," said my Brother and me. The next morning as we were driving to Stop and Shop we both admitted that we totally forgot about the Old Man's birthday.

So I was walking down 48th Street when I tripped and fell. I got back up quickly because it was kind of embarassing in a way that you might be embarassed if you hadn't recently spent time in a yoga class flailing around on your back like a beetle. "Are you okay?" asked the bystanders.

"I'm fine, I'm fine, thanks," I said. My foot and knee hurt where I had banged them and my glasses were knocked off my face, but I really thought I was fine. I made it a couple blocks to the Hallmark store when I was aware of increasing pain in my lower back on the left side. I made it into the store. It hurt to lift my leg or turn my body. I picked out a card, gasping because the pain was so great.

I paid for the card and froze where I stood. I could barely walk. A terrible thought hit me. "I am not going to make it to Chipotle." I shuffled 100 feet to Cafe Metro, the pain getting worse with every step. I bought some lunch. That's right, I had begun to suspect I had slipped or herneated a disc and would suffer from chronic back pain for the rest of my life and I STOPPED TO EAT. The act of sitting down nearly killed me and I cried out in pain. I called Frau Foxtrot. I called my doctor. The doctor told me to GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM.

I shuffled outside thinking, 'this is fucking ridiculous. I tripped in the street. I'm too young for this!' I wasn't even wearing heels, I was just wearing flat shoes (with gum inside the right one). I hailed a cab. Trying to manoeuver myself into the backseat was incredibly painful, I was wincing and moaning. I told the driver to take me to the Lennox Hill Emergency Room. The driver dropped me 100 feet from the door and I didn't think I could make it. But since no one came out to help me, I didn't have a choice; either get through the door or lay down and die on 77th Street. Inside, the only protocol was to put your name on a list to be triaged. There was no one to even tell that I was in such unbearable pain.

I waited and waited. I took deep breaths to try to deal with the pain. I looked around at the rest of the people in the waiting room and most of them seemed to be suffering from a cold. What the hell were they doing there? I was the only one dressed in professional clothes. Everyone else had dressed like they were going to spend the day in the Emergency Room. The Security Guard was the closest we came to having a medical person in the room. He would only alert the nurse if you were short of breath. Besides, I couldn't move anyway.

I started to cry. A few people glanced at me, but no one approached me or talked to me. I tried to stop crying. I told myself that the pain I was feeling was just a tiny fraction of all the pain in the world and that some people lived with excruciating pain every day. I tried to convince myself that I was really crying about how frustrating the situation was. A nurse came out and went around the room to take a one sentence explanation of why we were in the ER. Most people complained of vague abdominal pain or chest congestion but I think what they really had was ennui. One man swho had been dozing in his chair said, "I think its food poisoning or pneumonia." I think he had a case of the stupids. The woman next to me said that if she didn't get seen by a doctor within four hours she would die.

"I tripped and fell and hurt my back. I can't walk. I'm in a lot of pain," I told the nurse. I've watched enough ER to know how suspicious this sounded. 'My back hurts. Yeah, I fell. Say, why don't you write me one of them fancy perscriptions for OxyC, m'kay?' The nurse said she was trying to see everyone as quickly as possible. I wanted say "I have insurance, the good kind. I'll be a dream to bill. Is there an expediting fee? I have a wide variety of major credit cards in my wallet. Just get me the hell out of here." I've never had such a classist tendency in my life. I thought, if I were in Europe I wouldn't even be here right now. I'd be whisked right off with the other private insurance patients. Then, I felt like an asshole.

I remembered that I left my coat with my house keys in the pocket at my office. This posed a major problem, provided that I ever did get out of here, I wouldn't be able to get back in my apartment without swinging by the office first. I called LaHipster since I knew she was off work. She offered to swing my by office, get my things and then meet me at the ER. She is an angel, that geeky Amazon. I thought about calling my Dad, but I knew that would be a bad idea because without any helpful information to give him he'd be all anxious and worried. And pissy.

They called my name. I tried to shuffle through the door. When I got to the triage desk, I couldn't sit down. The pain was so intnese I was crying again and calling out. The nurse didn't help me, just asked me questions. I collapsed into the chair. I was bawling. Finally she said, "Okay, you're going to come with me." I tried to stand and was still crying and shaking. She told someone to bring a wheel chair. I think at this point they figured it was time to just treat me so they let me skip registration. I let them wheel me around. I was a mess. I saw another nurse and they decided to expidite me and send me upstairs.

They put me in a private hospital room and I hung out in the wheel chair for a while. Then a young "doctor" came in. She said she was a PA. What the hell is that? A Production Assistant? I would judge her skill leve as equivalent to one of the Scrubs docs circa Season Two. She checked my spine, which was not painful then she helped me into bed which was very painful. "Raise your left leg," she said. I tried with all my might; I think i just barely got my heel off the bed. She left and said she would return with "something for the pain." Super.

While I was laying in the hospital bed, looking at the ceiling my Boss called me on my cell phone. He was very concerned. I was crying a little bit, but maybe he didn't notice. "Your itinerary for tomorrow is on my desk. If you can't find the hard copy, check my G Drive." He told me not to worry and said if I needed anything to call. Frau Foxtrot called. The doctor came in and gave me a shot in the arm. "This will sting for a while," she said. I didn't even ask what it was. Then she produced a cup for a urine sample. I couldn't even move my leg, so the thought of getting up, going to the toilet, bending down and such seemed laughable. But about 10 minutes after the shot, I felt like I would be able to get out of bed. It hurt, but it was a bearable pain. Before I got back into bed, I took off my shoes. The right one stuck to my pantyhose because of the gum. When I yanked it off, it left a black gum booger on the bottom of my foot. I wished LaHipster would get here to get the gum off my foot before the doctor saw it.

After a while, the doctor came back and told me they were letting me go with some perscriptions for pain killers and muscle relaxers. She said the pain would get worse tonight, so it is important to take the pills and rest and put an ice pack on my back. She said that I didn't need an x-ray. No exercise, no lifting anything heavy, blah blah blah. "That's it," I asked. "I just walk out the door?"

"Yup," she said. The whole ordeal took about two and a half hours, which was pretty good.

I called LaHip who had just arrived and would meet me outside. "Come on, Martinez," she said. "A little bit faster. Pick up the pace." She hailed a cab. The Ladies Who Brunch had been alerted and they were calling Hippy on here phone. "Yeah," she said. "I just picked up the invalid ... well, they drugged her, but she's still making sense ... nope, no drool. She is grunting, but that's pretty normal for her." LaHip brought me Diet Coke and Dorritos and made me laugh in the cab. She dropped me home then offered to go out and fill my perscriptions for me. As I said, she's a come-through kind of gal.

While I was dozing, my Boss called me from home to check on me again. I felt very special, in a retarded kind of way. "Maybe you can go back tomorrow and check the sidewalk where you fell. See if you have any grounds to litigate." He was cheering me up. "Live hard, retire early," he said.

So now it's 10pm and I'm killing time before I can take more meds and thinking about whipping up an ice pack. No work for me tomorrow. A lot of things aren't going to get done and Dad's birthday card is going to be late this year. Is this a good excuse for not posting? No, there is no good excuse for not posting but now maybe you feel a little bit bad about hitting reload on this page, seeing no new posts and shaking your fist at the monitor saying, "that lazy slacker!"

14 comments:

Beta said...

Whoa cupcake. Way to stick it to those impatient fans. Did they even give you a diagnosis for what you have? Are the drugs working?

Hashbrown said...

Hey Cupcake!
I got a raise on Friday and fell down Sunday, went to the ER, found out I have a badly sprained ankle, and am off work for a few days. But I did not get any drugs. Just ice and crutches and a fashionable air cast.

Sheena said...

Oh my. So what's the deal? Just a muscle sprain?

A PA is a Physician's Assistant. I know that sounds sketchy, but like a Nurse Practitioner, they're able to prescribe medicine, be on call, perform procedures, etc. My mom's a Nurse Practitioner, you see. I tend to prefer seeing an NP or a PA. They are often able to spend more time with you and in my experience, they tend to have a better bedside manner. I had an NP when I lived at home, and boy to I miss her now that my "doctor" here in New York spends a grand total of five minutes with me at each appointment.

NPs and PAs help cut down on that medical industrial complex feeling you get whenever you need healthcare. At least in my opinion.

Joshua said...

I guess that's an ok excuse. Feel better Cupcake!

Anonymous said...

I, too, have experienced the embarassing and sudden wrath of the sidewalk. Feel better.

Cupcake said...

Wow, Hashbrown. Maybe there is a direct correlation between getting a raise and falling on your face?

I am a big fan of nurse practioners too. I had a good experience with one at Smith, and then sought one out to be my primary care in RI to my Dad's confusion. One time I was really sick so he took me in to see my NP and my Dad said, "Why is she wearing a white coat? She's not a doctor." Charming.

I just woke up after 11+ hours of sleep, making sure I woke up to take my meds. However, it is quite painful right now. More so than yesterday after I first started taking the drugs. I was kind of hoping I would get to the market and do the dishes in my sink today, but I don't see that happening. MuppetLover has offered to come by tonight with lasagna, but I don't know seeing as how the state of my apartment right tow is "chaotic invalid chic."

So, um, I guess it's time to put more ice down my pants now?

Policate said...

Dang! My appropriately sympathetic comment from this morning failed to register! I am so sorry that you got hurt. I tripped once downtown and did a full superman! Completely screwed up my knee. I was so young and naive that I refused to go to the doctor or hospital (it was on the job and the HR person didn't even explain that little concept to me!)

Bonus points for you for knowing that a PA is also a production assistant!

ajwp said...

Hey Cupcake, I'm sorry you feel so crappy. I'm glad they gave you good drugs, though!

I fell down in the middle of Boylston Street, Boston on my lunch hour a couple years ago. I was with 2 friends, one of whom pointed and laughed as people cussed me out for holding up traffic, and the other of whom nearly peed herself trying to heft my big ass off the asphalt. I remember it fondly now, but I wasn't so keen on the twisted ankle and road burn back then.

Joshua said...

Wow dude, you have a serious ad on your website now. No more German knitting cupcake pan ads for you!

LunaChickNYC said...

Hope you feel better. At least your boss understands - I broke my ankle leaving school in Union Square Park (I was staring at a guy push a cat in a swing and wasn't paying attention). It was a day before my "probation period" at my new job ended and while I was sitting in the hospital they were deciding if they could fire me and settled on not paying me!
Oh and yes I did say pushing a CAT in a swing not a kid

Muk said...

Good lord, that is terrible. Please call/email me if you need anything. I'm right around the freakin' corner.

muteflute said...

crap. that sounds like the time I fell off my bike and my arm was blue and green for THREE WEEKS. I hope you're feeling better now....painkillers are good, but they can really be hard on the stomach....

**sympathy**

claire said...

not to turn into my mother, but if the pain doesn't get better by day, say, 3, i'd go back to the doctor and demand an xray. i mean, if you have insurance it's always better to be safe than sorry.

if it makes you feel better, i once skidded down the stairs at the union street subway stop and tore my quad. i thought i was going to vomit from the pain and the kids on the subway laughed at me hobbling up the stairs at atlantic. awesome.

Cupcake Queen said...

cupcake: once again you have taken a horrible situation and turned it into a laughing-so-hard-tears-are-rolling-down-cheeks kind of experience...I really like the way you think! You definitely have a gift! Hope you're feeling better.....

I did want to let you know about the cupcake contest on my blog...win a dozen cupcakes made by the cupcake queen...the deadline is april is april 23...go here http://52cupcakes.blogspot.com/2006/03/oh-no-mr-bill-is-this-end-of-52.html to enter. I'll be sad if you don't get in on it.