#52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Negatives

I’m sure that tucked into photo envelopes here and there throughout my house and my mom’s, we have negatives that need to be scanned and preserved before they’re any more scratched and damaged than they probably already are.

That’s not the negative that I’m going to talk about today.

The current negatives in my life are mostly to do with my health.

I know I’m blessed to be recovering well from my thyroid cancer surgery and radioactive iodine treatment. I don’t know if the lack of energy I have sometimes is fallout from those things or the fact that, most weekdays I spend fully half the day getting ready for work, driving to work, working, and driving home (and the commute is under 15 minutes one way). At least I have the overtime to help pay the medical bills.

Something weird, though, happened the other day, and it really has me down. Here’s the sequence of events. on Sunday, April 24th, I worked noon to 10:45 p.m. I ate cereal for breakfast around 8:30 a.m., followed by lunch at 11:00 a.m., and a salad for dinner at work about 6:30 p.m. When I got home at nearly 11:00 p.m., I wasn’t hungry, so I didn’t think about having a snack or dessert. About midnight, as I was winding down, I suddenly found myself ravenously hungry, but I didn’t want to eat and lie down, so I didn’t eat.

This is not my head. It’s from Wikimedia. © Nevit Dilmen

I would guess it was about 2:15 a.m. when I awoke feeling like I was going to throw up. I hurried to the bathroom and stood in front of the sink, where I coughed a couple of times, but I didn’t vomit. Then I felt faint, so I sat down on the toilet and pulled the trash can over in front of me. I realized the garbage needed to go out, because it stank, so I pushed it away. I sat for a few minutes until I felt better, then I stepped over to the sink and washed my face. I remember catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror and thinking, “Wow, I look really pale.” Next thing I knew, I was waking up on the floor.

The crash woke up my husband, who came in as I was coming to.

“What happened?” He asked as I lay on the floor.

I blinked up at him and said, “I guess I passed out.”

He helped me get up and I could already feel the aches and pains. I’m 56 years old, and the fall crunched my 5-foot length into a 3-foot space. My bones were not happy. Tim helped me into the bedroom, brought me water, fed me a few Jelly Babies and -at my insistence- a slice of bread. He kept asking if I wanted to go to the E.R., but I didn’t. I wanted to go back to sleep and feel better in the morning.

I hurt in the morning, and I already had an appointment for bloodwork for the thyroid thing. I said what I really wanted was to go to the chiropractor, but I kept thinking about this news item I’d seen years ago, about this lady’s parents suing her chiropractor because she went for an adjustment after an accident and what she didn’t know (according to the lawsuit) was that her neck was fractured, and the chiropractor adjusted her neck and she died. So, I didn’t want to die on the off chance I had injured myself worse than I thought, so I called my chiropractor to ask if they could arrange for an x-ray, which they did, so I had the x-ray, and I had the blood drawn, and we went to Culver’s and ordered food, and while I was waiting for Tim to come out with the brown bag so we could go to the park and eat, the chiropractor’s office called and said the radiologist said I had an unstable fracture in my neck and I should go to the E.R.

So, we drove to the nearest hospital, and I thought we’d eat before we walked in, but Tim dropped me off at the door with my food, and I got inside and the sign said, “Don’t eat or drink until you see the doctor” so that was that. I checked in and they put a brace around my neck and laid me out on a gurney.

They never would order a copy of the x-rays, though; they like to charge you for their own tests, so the doctor ordered a CT scan, and I got wheeled over for that (watching the ceiling tiles roll by like I was in a horror movie) and if my neck was broken, it would have been broken worse by the time I maneuvered myself from the gurney to the CT scan table and back.

They never put me in a room; I guess April 24th was a big day for E.R. visits, so I lay on my gurney in the hall and waited. Tim went to a doctor’s appointment that he had scheduled (he said he’d cancel and stay with me, but I told him to go). He ate his food (and part of mine, because it was just going to go bad), and returned in time for the doctor to say – basically – “Nothing’s broken. Go home and take some Tylenol.”

The thing is, I’d’ve felt a lot better if the doctor could have taken five minutes to get my x-rays and compare them to the CT scan so he could tell me why the x-ray looked like an “unstable fracture” and the CT scan was all clear. What was it the radiologist saw? I’ll never know, and of course, the chiropractor still won’t see me, because the x-ray showed my neck was fractured. (I did send over the CT scan, but like me, they have their doubts).

The E.R. doctor didn’t say not to go to work, so I did on Tuesday. I was allowed to work from home but after 10 hours and 15 minutes plus a 30 minute lunch break, I thought I was going to die. I got permission to work half days the rest of the week, and that helped. I was able to leave early on Monday (8 hours) and Tuesday (6.5 hours), and my schedule was different Wednesday through Friday anyway, so that I didn’t have to put in more than 8 hours. Sure, I probably could have called in sick all the time, I have plenty of vacation time if I used up my sick days, but for a number of reasons, I felt a responsibility to be there. (I’ve always been like that; for years I barely used any sick days at all, because I feel guilty when I call in.)

Just sitting here typing this up is putting an ache on me, so I’m going to wrap up.

I have been lucky with my health most of my life, so I think that makes the past six months that much more frustrating. I suppose if these are the worst health negatives I have, then it’s not really so bad. The doctors told me the kind of cancer I had was the “best” kind, so to speak, because it’s so easily treated. I could have broken my neck when I fell and ended up paralyzed or even dead. Hopefully, this is the worst I’ll have to deal with for a long time.

About Taminar

When I grow up, I want to make movies and write books. Now in my 50s, I wonder if I'll ever really accomplish the dreams of my youth. I have made two short films, one for a college film-making class, the other for an MTV-sponsored contest. I have written short plays that have been produced, and a few short stories and reviews that have been published. I also perform and direct for community theatre. My working life has included stints in local TV news, public relations, retail management and cashier, and for a couple of years, I made the rides go at Walt Disney World. I have two cats and a husband.
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4 Responses to #52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Negatives

  1. Eilene Lyon says:

    This sounds like a terrible ordeal, especially having to go to work through it all. I hope you feel better soon and that there really is no fracture.

  2. Pat Lowe says:

    I am really sorry you have had it so rough! Please do take some time to just rest. Go do something besides be on the computer all day.

  3. Barb LaFara says:

    I sure would want another opinion besides an ER doctor, just saying… And what caused you to faint like that in the first place? The only time I have ever fainted was due to low blood sugar. Long workdays and irregular meal times will wreak havoc on you if you are hypoglycemic. Take care.

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