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If I could go back in time I wouldn’t miss work, I’d just power (stumble) through. But if I could go back in time I guess I could probably prevent the back injury to begin with.

So, a week ago now, I was just minding my own business and getting out of bed and felt a twinge of pain in my lower back. Literally, all I did was get out of bed. My first thought was, “Ow,” for obvious reasons. But I’d felt very similar twinges before (my husband didn’t think that was a word a while back, in your face hubby) and they’d just gone away.

This twinge didn’t go away but instead simply GREW. The more I moved around the less I was able to move around. Within an hour I was in tears, trying to not make any verbal declarations of pain (don’t scare the kid) and telling my husband (and sister) via text that I needed a doctor.

Mistake Number One: going to an After Hours Clinic instead of a doctor office or ER.

This was a mistake for a reason I’ll get to later. But I chose an after hours instead of the emergency room because of money. An after hours wasn’t going to charge me to lay in a bed or breathe their air.

And of course I wouldn’t be able to get in to see a doctor same day or within the hour. Which will also come up later.

I went to the after hours clinic and saw an APRN. I didn’t know that was a thing until I googled it. It’s “Advanced Practice Registered Nurse” apparently. “Crystal’s Definition” is “high wizard nurse” or “super nurse”. Anyway, she poked my back, checked my breathing, asked questions, gave me a shot in both butt cheeks (well not her, Super Nurses don’t have to touch butts if they don’t wanna) called in a muscle relaxer and a steroid (aka placebo and vomik) then sent me on my merry, stumbling, toddler-walking way.

I went home (we stopped for Blizzards at DQ, when mamma is sick we get ice cream) and the hubs went and got my meds.

Steroids are the nastiest tasting thing on the planet. I can say this since I haven’t had some of the others in a while. And I have zero evidence the ‘roids or muscle relaxer did a thing!

I had work the next day, early. But my thoughts were: if you cannot bend down enough to sit on the toilet without wanting to cry, then you probably shouldn’t work. So I called in, and moaned and groaned alone in my home (too “dr suess”?).

Two days I called in and knew I didn’t have anymore I could take, so I told myself I had to work Saturday. While I was better able to walk without quite as much pain, and I’d figured out how to sit without dying a little each time, I wasn’t in good enough condition to work. So after about half an hour I left.

THAT WAS MISTAKE NUMBER TWO because it led to not only why mistake one was a mistake, but all the rest of the mistakes after.

Yes, had I stayed I might have spent half of my eight hour shift crying in a corner (but not in a fetal position I couldn’t do that). But I would have (A) gotten paid, and (B) not had to start the Leave of Absence process.

COMMERCIAL BREAK

The company I work for now has a two step verification process for logins into all outside facility apps and websites. This is to protect employees from all this hacking nonsense. ITS THE DEVIL. Especially if you have to log on multiple times and don’t have a cell signal. I had to go outside, toward the end of my driveway three times in two days, when I’m partly immobile, to call in and attempt the process for LOA.

I still ended up messaging my Personnel Coordinator and she put in the request for me. M if your reading this you’re the bomb and that call today I may or may not have been on the potty sorry.

Now, even though I’d gotten out of the house for the After Hours visit and a hot minute at work, I was beginning to go a little stir crazy. I ended up cleaning from the edge of my bed, yes. Cleaning. I used a stick and back scratcher to reach things I wanted to grab and get rid of. But even a few minutes of this and my back was mad at me.

I ended up having my husband make a third heating pad (damp towel in the microwave), I took four ibuprofen and fell asleep. When I woke up that was the best my back had felt in days.

While I was off I watched two movies, Season One if “The Boys” on Amazon Prime, contemplated the meaning of my life, felt completely and utterly useless and needy.

The only positive to come out of this whole thing is that, before, my ankles where my issue. I couldn’t be on them more than an hour without wanting to cut my feet off (ask my coworkers). But since I’ve been forced off said feet, my ankles haven’t been bothering me. Of course that’ll change as soon as I get back to work but I honestly don’t care. I’ll take care of them eventually but right now I’d cut them off if it meant I COULD work.

Also between visits to After Hours (I’ll get to visit two in a sec) I’ve somehow LOST seven pounds, DESPITE, doing absolutely nothing for five days.

So, for my leave to be approved I have to have a DOCTOR fill out some paperwork, which includes a return to work form. I legit don’t know if I need any of this to go back but I’m going anyway.

COMMERCIAL BREAK

If you don’t know me personally (and even if you do you might not know this) I have had, for most of my life, a crippling fear of phone calls. Like, making phone calls. Is it anxiety or just laziness? The world may never know. Anyway, since working at (employer for last ten years) I’ve come out of my shell more and mind it less. However, since being in my “sick bed” of a house I guess my anxiety has come seeping back because I HATE MAKING PHONE CALLS. My husband called after hours for me today to see if they could fill out my papers (THEY SAID YES). I kept putting it off. If I had of done it myself I might have gotten the right answer.

I’d had every intention of working Tuesday, as I didn’t want to miss anymore. But I was scared of pain (wimpy wimpy wimpy) and didn’t want to make my situation worse. So I called in again, with every determination to get my papers filled out and go back by Thursday (I’m always off Monday and Wednesday). So I called a doctor office I used to use before my doctor turned tail and ran (sorry dude it’s funnier if I say it like that). I hadn’t been back in a while since I didn’t have a doctor there and medical care costs money. I’d had a doctor recommended to me and I tried for an appointment.

However, even though they had all my information and history, they were treating me like a new patient, in that there was a wait time. The doctor I requested had no openings until OCTOBER. The soonest they could work me in with anyone was a week. I DON’T HAVE A WEEK. I told the lady I’d call back (I haven’t yet).

Eventually my husband offered to call After Hours for me, and they said they could fill out the paperwork, and we made plans for him to come get me and take me (apparently I don’t like driving myself places anymore either?). We got there, and we went through the motions of waiting and paying a copay and eventually vitals (hubby took kiddo to Walmart and bought me some otc pain patches. I’ll let ya know if they work lol). So when triage asked me what I was there for I told her about the paperwork.

She went and asked the APRN. She told me that she couldn’t do it since they weren’t my primary care doctors, they hadn’t taken me off work, and they haven’t evaluated my ability to go back. So after driving all the way there, waiting much longer than I’ve had to wait in their office before, getting my vitals (I lost seven pounds) and paying a copay, I wasted my time.

I was ready to cry in frustration (not the first time this week) and pain.

Don’t worry this long post is almost over.

So tomorrow (technically today) I’ve got to try to convince a doctor to see me (hopefully same day) and fill out some papers so I can go back to work the next day. I mean I’m gonna go back Thursday anyway. Who cares if I only last a little while.

But if this leave doesn’t get approved, I’ll have well over my allowed unapproved absences, which is grounds for termination. In order to get it approved I have to have these papers filled out ASAP. I’ve worked for (REDACTED) for a decade. I like my job. It’s not my dream job (teacher, writer, comedian apparently) but I like it, it pays well, and I can’t imagine myself not working there. It’s my family. Also I have bills. Lots and lots of bills.

So unless someone wants to pay me a large sum for the movie rights to “Black Friday: A Zombie Story” I’m screwed. I’ll sell “Darkness” too. It’s pretty ok.

FOR THE RECORD: I am by no means dissing my workplace, employers, coworkers, or corporate. I understand and abide by their attendance policy and actually think it’s pretty generous (it used to be more generous but it’s still pretty decent). Nor am I downing the After Hours Clinic, or APRNs. Or the doctor office I called.

I do in fact hate my body and wish I could trade it in for a nice, gently used, good condition, upgrade model, but alas I am not a car.

Always, thanks for reading.

-c