Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Well, I'm out of hospital. Just. I've never gone through pain like that in my life. And I never want to go through anything like it again. Ever.

So what happened? - Still don't really know. All we could put it down to was a repeat performance of the old pinched nerve palaver of before. Again, this one was half way up my back and after driving me to the brink of insanity over four unspeakable days of trauma it somehow managed to worm its way back into its hole again before leaving me to drown in the messy aftermath of pain and horror.

Yet in the greater picture I'm fine, and it took all of three MRI scans, two blood tests, a number of x-rays, a urine test, a brain scan, an ECG, a lengthy consultation with the ear, nose and throat specialist and somewhere in the region of thirty to forty blood pressure tests to eventually arrive at this highly relieving conclusion.

As good as all this is though it was a very different story at the time. All I wanted was answers. And treatment. When the orthopaedic physician came in to give me the good news I was lying on my back with my arms and legs jerking around like a puppet. I had pins and needles running through my hands, down my arms and legs and the rest of my body was gripped with excruciating pain. I was sweating, intensely anxious and excessively paranoid. So when he looked down at me with that empty guarded smile and said 'Good news Mr Scott, we cannot find anything wrong..' I could've gone for the bastard's throat. But then I was incapable of moving. I even had to keep my breathing shallow, just in case I triggered that nerve.

For the first few nights I didn't get a wink of sleep, which of course didn't do much for relaxing the muscles and getting me on the rocky road to recovery. Problem was, the nurses kept bursting through the door every couple of hours to check my blood pressure, which had been sky high from day one and had become a bit of a general concern. They just couldn't understand why it was so consistently high. I could. I was the one that had to stay awake all night in order to brace myself for anyone coming in and coming near me. The risk of being touched unexpectedly and the nerve spasms, pain and violent screams that would follow was far too great to afford myself any sleep. So I remained awake. And tense. And for as long as I was tense my blood pressure stuck to the ceiling. The longer my blood pressure stayed up there the more they'd burst in to check it all over again - a lovely vicious circle to revel in.

Weird though how an exposed nerve works. Every one of my senses were heightened, to levels that really worried me - I guess the body's own way of defending itself. Any contact or movement not made by me would throw me into a deep state of paranoia. I can't tell you how miserable it is to live with such an overwhelming pressure to stay deathly still, to not allow anything in the slightest to disturb that all-too-tender nerve in the middle of your back. Not easy in a hospital. It was a mission that very quickly became everything to me. For four days it became my world. And so if anybody came within metres of my peripheral vision I'd tense up rigidly and tell them to back off - a hopeless and pitiful situation to be in. Little wonder my blood pressure was high.

So what's happening now? - Right now I'm in the middle of a physio program. Every day I've been going back and forth to the hospital for a medley of heat treatment, electric pulses, ultrasounds and a vigorous session of contortion, manipulation, pulling, pushing and tweaking - all from a delightful assortment of exceptionally attractive young Thai nurses. I don't think I've ever been so punctual. And the day all this treatment finishes will be the day a small part of me dies.

Seriously though, it's working wonders and I can only pray that it sorts me out proper cos' I just can not go through this again.

And after? - As much as all this has hit me like a ten tonne truck it's also totally buggered my plans and progress. For the past three weeks I've been in training doing an international teaching qualification (TEFL), at least I was until I wound up in hospital and shafted my chances of getting through the course. More luck. As it stands now I have to return on Jan 5th to finish my final two weeks, get assessed, take an exam, teach four more classes of students, submit an essay and a project and I should be home and dry, that is as long as I don't get run over again, fall off a Buddha or get slashed about the middle by a rabid swordfish. Let's be honest, none of this would be out of sync with the recent goings on.

So that's all from the calamity-riddled world of Woz, for now. I've got the next three weeks or so to recouperate, get stronger and start getting fit again. Looking at a possible yoga stint or joining the local boxing club. Either that or I'll be lying around on one of Phuket's many pristine beaches easing my blood pressure back down to a nice lazy level.

(*Incidentally the cost of all this came to just over 2600 pounds (about $4000US) and now I have the lovely task of trying to squeeze the fundage our of our little darlings at the insurance company, before they wriggle through another swiftly manufactured loop-hole..)
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