So for the past month or so, my back has been aching up a storm. Every morning, I would wake up and it would be just a little bit stiffer, or a little more sore. I wondered if it was my bed, but it didn’t make a whole lot of sense, since it’s basically the same as my bed back home, which never bothered me. So I ignored the problem – something I suggest you never do – and figured it would solve itself. But it didn’t, and it started to deplete my motor capabilities. Wonderful, eh? I tried the usual remedies, or course – hot then cold on my back, stretching more often, better posture, avoiding heavy lifting as much as possible, etc. But it just got worse and worse every day.
Finally, it was getting to the point where I was limping between classes and in constant pain. Finally my friends stepped in and forced me to go to a clinic – something that I should have probably done a week or two ago when I could no longer get up out of a chair without tremendous effort. So I limped my way down to a walk-in clinic and explained my problem. The doctor prescribed me a couple of pills to relax my back muscles and lessen the pain, and then sent me upstairs for some x-rays. X-rays which I will not get to see until my next appointment on Monday. It seemed silly, but whatever – I decided that was fine and I left.
Now I figured – Hey! Doctors know what they’re doing. I’m in the right hands now – I’ll be fine. So I took my pills (which made me super drowzy) and went to bed at eight thirty. It was a miracle. But for some reason the pills did not abate my pain, despite my added self prescription of some advil, and they also completely destroyed my sleeping pattern; I woke up at 10pm the same night, then 5:45am and lay awake until 7:45ish, slept for fifteen minutes and then got up at eight to get ready for class at nine. I felt awful, but what could I do? It was technically the most sleep I’d gotten in a while, however patchy it might have been. Throughout the day, I proceeded to have naps between every class, possibly to compensate for my unrestful sleep of the night before. Perhaps it was those naps on the floor that had done me in, or perhaps it was the hammering of nails I had to do in shop class. Either way, when I left that class around six, it was really in a bad way.
What’s truly terrifying about being sick or injured while you’re living on your own is the terrible and sudden realization that hits you when you walk through the door into your room and realize that there is no one there who is going to take care of you. Suddenly it all falls on your shoulders. You have to be the one who makes the judgement call – is it time yet to ask for some real medical help?
I decided it was. By this point, the muscles in my back were so tight, I could barely move. I somehow dragged myself to my friend Alex’s room down the hall and had her make the call for me – I was so scared I could barely speak. The paramedics arrived soon after and I was whisked off to the hospital – it’s all rather blurry now.
The worst, however, was yet to come. I had realized by then that my parents were no longer around to help me, but I hadn’t yet run out of caretakers – if there’s one person we put our trust in to take away pain, it’s doctors. Especially the ones at the hospital. If you go to the hospital for something, you KNOW that they will fix you up right, and everything will be cool. Well, that faith is now shattered, folks. Because here is what they told me:
“Because your pain is muscular, there is nothing we can do for you. Keep taking the pills prescribed and see how those x-rays from the clinic turn out on Monday. You can go now.”
And just like that, they cleared me out of the room and sent me and wonderful Alex, who had stayed with me the whole way, packing. I could still barely walk at this point, so we took a taxi home. I don’t think I’ve every experienced a more faith-shattering night. It was such a relief when the ambulance showed up to take me away. I thought: “Finally! I can get some real help and not have to feel this way anymore.”
The moral of this depressing tale, dear readers? Living on your own is hard, and there are some responsibilities that you don’t even realize you’ll have to take on. So seek medical help BEFORE it becomes a crippling issue, and don’t think that it’ll go away or that someone else will take care of it for you. You have to start taking responsibility for your own health now.