I don’t even know where to begin. It has been a hell of a week, friends.
On Sunday I woke up with the flu. I didn’t think much of it at the time since I had it in November and recovered in just a couple of days; however, it came as quite a shock to me that on Monday and then Tuesday it was even worse. My fever refused to break, my cough was utterly debilitating, and the body aches were unbearable. If this week was a short story, the coughing that jarred my sensitive hip all day Monday through Wednesday was a clear foreshadowing of what was to strike on Thursday.
After missing three days of work and rehearsal, I managed to pull myself together and dragged my zombie-like shell of the woman I used to be into work. While I still didn’t feel very well, I could not bring myself to miss any more work or rehearsal time. The day ticked by fairly quickly, and being around my friends and the kids actually made me feel better. By the end of the school day I was very excited to get to rehearsal and see my lighting design and to approve all of my sound effects. (Cue movie preview voice:) Little did I know I would never make it to rehearsal.
As I made my way back to my office, I stopped in the hallway to talk to the German teacher. We were laughing and commiserating over our rebellious students, and as I was telling her about one particular instance from the day, my infamous flu coughing began. I turned away and as I coughed, I doubled over. I coughed very hard, as was happening to me all week, but this time something happened. I felt a horrifying POP in my right hip. It instantly felt warm and excruciatingly painful. My legs gave out from underneath me and I sank to my hands and knees. The pain was getting worse as I was still coughing and trying to catch my breath. I rolled over onto my back and tried to lie down and that’s when I realized I couldn’t straighten my leg.
Everyone around me instantly jumped to action. Luckily most of the kids were out of the hallways already and I was in the English wing surrounded by my friends. I couldn’t tell what was going on as I was literally blinded by the pain and the tears it brought to my eyes. In what seemed an instant, the school nurse, Dorothy, was by my side. She calmed me down a bit and suggested we call 911. For a moment I protested. I still didn’t realize the extent of my injury and thought maybe it would pass, but every time I tried to straighten my leg, a jolt of pain racked my body. I gave in and said to call 911. While we all waited, Ann Marie called Mark who had just started his trek home from Grand Rapids. I called my mother and asked her to meet me at the hospital. Dorothy had suggested I go to Fairview since they were Cleveland Clinic and would have all of my recent records. I was so thankful she thought of that since I lacked the wherewithal to make any decision whatsoever.
I don’t remember too many other details from the moments leading up to the EMS guys coming to get me, but what I do recall is that I. Was. Mortified. There were so many people standing around me and all I could do was lie there and cry. Not only was I in excruciating pain, but I felt helpless and weak. In short, it was my nightmare. I began to panic about the entire situation. What am I going to do about rehearsal? The play opens in a week! What kind of set back is this causing my healing? Did I do permanent damage? Will I need another surgery? What about work? I’ve missed so much work! I couldn’t stop the tears from coming, and I was praying the EMS guys would get me out of there before I had a complete nervous breakdown in front of my principals.
The EMS team was really nice and they got me to the hospital as quickly as they could. Before I had left the school, I called Dr. Rosneck. I begged, yes, begged the secretary to put me in touch with him or his PA, Kristen, but they were both in surgery. By the time I got set up at Fairview and the nurses were rapid firing questions at me, Kristen gave me a call back. I told her what happened and in her ever dulcet tone, she told me that what I most likely did was snap the scar tissue from my surgery. I wanted to puke. I’m still not entirely sure what that means. Kristen was brief in her explanation, and in all honesty I was only half listening. I was simultaneously trying to not pass out from the pain and answer the staff’s questions at the hospital. From what I can remember, the snapping of the scar tissue is most related to the tendon release more than the cartilage. It is a setback, but I don’t know how much of one. It needs to heal, though I am unsure if that is a separate healing from my surgery healing. It will cause me pain in my hip to bend at the knee.
My parents showed up right as I got off the phone with Kristen. I wrapped up my questions with the hospital staff, and the next plan of attack was to x-ray me to make sure I had not fractured or dislocated my hip, which I was already fairly certain I had done neither. During the questioning, I mentioned to the nurse, who was SUPER nice and funny, that I had to pee. She told me that it would need to be taken care of via catheter or bed pan because they couldn’t permit me to stand up. I decided to hold it since neither option appealed to me much.
And so we waited for the x-ray. And waited. And waited. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I had not gone to the bathroom since my lunch, and I had been drinking tea all day like it was my job. I was very sure that I could hobble over to the bathroom, and so when a nurse walked by, I asked him if I could go. He told me to hold on, and when I looked up, I saw he was ratting me out to the nurse who checked me in. She came over and explained that they really did not want me to get up in case I had dislocated something. I relented. “Fine. Give me the bed pan.”
I had never used a bed pan in my life. I mean, why would I? I’m 34 years old and quite capable. So, I told myself it would be an adventure, like peeing behind a tree in the woods, only the woods are in a crowded hospital, and the only thing separating me from the crowd is a thin curtain. Sigh… The nurse explained how to use it, and so I did. Then to my utter embarrassment, when she came back to get the pan she said “Whoa, I was not expecting you to pee that much.” “Sorry,” I replied. “Happy Valentine’s Day.” At that, she walked away laughing and shaking her head. For the record, I’ll take peeing behind a tree any day. Shortly after that little adventure, my father was accidentally locked into the bathroom when a nurse placed a gurney in front of its door and secured it into place. Though it hurt to laugh, I enjoyed that quite a bit, especially when my mom unsuccessfully tried to move the gurney, and my dad had to then be rescued by a couple of staff members. Yup, we were those people.
After the x-ray, the hospital diagnosed me with a “sprained hip,” code for “we don’t really know what you did.” They told me I had to go back on my crutches and wear a knee brace to immobilize my leg until I see Dr. Rosneck on Wednesday. They sent me home broken and exhausted with a small prescription of pain killers. By the time my folks got me back to my house it was 7:30. It was without a doubt one of the longest days of my life.
I basically missed an entire week of work, and I very much miss my kids. Many of them have been super sweet. Some heard what happened; in fact, some saw me on the ground. A couple of them have emailed me to wish me well, and those that I saw on Friday at rehearsal were very kind and helpful. I really do have the best kids. I also have the best friends and department members. While I was at the hospital, my friends were texting me to make sure I was ok. Thomas, the long-term sub who is in for my friend Sara, sat in on my rehearsal on Thursday since an adult needs to be present. Even though this was a horrible week, it has made me realize that I am surrounded by caring and helpful people in all aspects of my life…though I could have done without such an extreme reminder.