Wednesday, July 24, 2013

That Time I Almost Died

Today, I went to the doctor to have a steroid shot put in my back. You have to understand: I'm mortally afraid of needles in my back, which is almost ironic because a) I'm a nurse--you would think I'd be used to that by now, and b) I'm diabetical, and you'd think I'd be used to that by now. If I ever have kids, I'd rather just have laughing gas, because really, I should get to have fun with that.

Anywho, I was told I couldn't eat anything after 2 am. I just knew what was going to happen: I was going to be super-massively-hungry right around 1:30, shovel food like a refugee from a third-world country, and then they wouldn't give me the sleepy-juice I was looking forward to. As luck would have it, I was super-nauseous and didn't feel like eating. I'm not generally thankful to be nauseous, but these were different circumstances. Plus, it's kind of a pain in the tuchus (no, I don't speak Yiddish, but I can't imagine anyone would have a problem with my gentile self using that word) to have to do all the thinking that goes along with being diabetic and not allowed to eat. Take blood sugar at 1 am, if less than 100, drink juice. Eat last snack. If greater than 200, give half correction. If greater than 250, pee on stick. Set pump to go down 30%, Recheck at 3 am, repeat.... Garg. Aren't you tired? I am. And not just because I barely slept imagining a giant monster shoving needles into my back like jackhammers.

Before I go any further, I need to give a huge shout-out to my friend Debbie for being willing to get up absurdly early to take me to have this shot put in my back--and she brought STARBUCKS! Black, with nothing in it! Just like I like it! I couldn't wait to be done with all this so I could drink it.

So this was me before the Great Exodus From Pain 2013:

They put me in what was called the "VIP Suite", which was actually a cubicle with a recliner and a curtain. Whatevs. They took my vitals. Debbie and I discussed how we were going to get me out of the clinic, and we decided it would be funny if she grabbed me by an arm and dragged me across the floor and out to the car while we got someone to photograph the whole thing for posterity. You have to understand, Debbie is about my height, which is an even five feet. 

After they took some vital signs and declared that I was indeed alive, they went over the procedure with me. It went something like this: "Sothey'lltakeyoubacklayyouonyourstomachputsomestickiesonyoutomonitoryourvitalswipedowntheareawithBetadinegiveyouashottonumbyouit'llfeellikeabeestingthenthey'lluseanx-raysoheknowsexactlywheretoputthesteroidshotbecausewehavetobesafewiththatonethenyou'llbedoneit'lltakeabout15minthenwe'llbringyououthereinawheelchairandwatchyouinrecoveryforabout15minthenwe'llgiveyouyourdischargeinstructionsandyoucangohome. Any questions?" Nope. 

True to their word, they brought me back into a room that was so cold, I think they were trying to either cure my pain through hypothermia, or freeze me out until I cried "Uncle!" and said I was lying and really didn't need the steroid shot after all. Either way, I made it through the Lightning Round. Next thing I know, I'm lying face-down on a table that--I kid you not--looked just like the table they use for lethal injections at the State Pen. I knew I was in trouble if they asked me if I had any last words, because, quite frankly, I had nothing prepared. 

They did everything they said they would, including the initial shots (yes, I said shots--plural). Then, the doctor told me he liked my shorts (khaki with pink flamingos). Then, they told me that these shots would feel like a bee sting, which they did. In hindsight, I have to ask myself this: If I don't like bee stings when they're not supposed to happen, why would I feel reassured about this so-called numbing medicine that feels like a bee sting that is supposed to happen? I did not feel reassured. 

Then the x-rays started, and before I knew it, I felt like someone was pressing down very hard on my back, and I was squirming around on the table like a dancer from Soul Train. They kept telling me to relax, but I have to tell you: it's really hard to relax when you know four shots are going into your spine and could cause (albeit highly unlikely) me to never walk again. And if that happened, how was I ever going to run another marathon from the couch to the fridge? 

Notice something that did not happen between the bee stings and the pushing on my back? That's right--no sleepy-juice. So now, I've gone nearly eight hours without eating a thing, and I'm in a freezing room. This is an equation that goes something like this: Cassie+hungry+cold+very much awake for bee stings to my back=pissy. 

They wheeled me back to recovery, where a very cute nerdy medical assistant offered me juice, a granola bar, or water. I may have been hungry, but I was not about to eat a granola bar (I find them not terribly satisfying), so I took the water. They asked the usual questions: how are you? Still here. Are you dizzy? No. Can you feel your legs? Yes. Are you short of breath? No. Are you still alive? Let me look.

This was me after the harrowing procedure: 

After one more round of this, they read off my discharge instructions: take it easy for 12 hours, no chainsaw juggling, dirt biking, cross country marathons or driving a car. I've had jackhammers in my back and now I can't even do my usual form of Wednesday entertainment in the form of chainsaw juggling? Dang...IT!!! I was able to walk out of the clinic without any numbing to my legs, which was slightly disappointing, because Debbie and I were totally looking forward to that pic of her dragging me out of the clinic. Oh well. Maybe next time. 

The highlight of our trip was the post-trauma breakfast, which was fabulous, compliments of Central Market. This was the challah French toast that I had:

I would say that made the whole experience worthwhile, but that would be a tad overzealous. Perhaps this was more of a selling point: 

Nah. I kind of dig the idea of much less pain. I had also decided that if I saw the guy who hit us, I would run over him with my Prius and ask him how his back felt, but Debbie told me the law frowns upon that, and I realized she was right, so I decided I would visualize it in my head--which made me giggle. So no running over drunk driver. 

Well, all of this has taken a lot out of me, so I think I'm going to go take a nap. If I wake up, I might post an update later. If I don't, will someone make sure my mom gets Thing 1 and Thing 2 and the trust funds I set up for them? 

**UPDATE: As of 3:30 pm, Central Time, I have lived. Thank you for your support. As you were.**


  1. Glad you got the shot and hope it helps eliminate the pain. Drunk drivers are stupid and it should be ok to run them over.
    I found it odd the guy asked you if you were alive.

    1. I agree. If nothing else, I think we should be allowed to give them shots without any kind of numbing medicine. We could throw them like darts to the affected area. I would smile.

      In other news: I think the guy asked me if I was alive a) because he didn't realize I didn't get the sleepy-juice, and b) to get me to say something other than "yes' or "no." I fell for it, hook, line and sinker. At least he was cute.

  2. Cassie, you are just TOO funny! For such a awful experience, you have a wonderful, positive, life-affirming attitude. Thanks for sharing a part of your life with us. Looking forward to the next post... in the life of Cassie. shirley

  3. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I try to keep a humorous attitude, because, let's face it, you have to laugh sometimes to keep from crying. Regardless, keep coming back, because I'm sure it won't be too long before something silly happens to me again!


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