Saturday, June 18, 2016

It always gets worse before it gets better.

There I was, pack out looming, in incredible pain from a presumably herniated disc.  And it wasn't getting better.  They were giving me the strongest pain pills in the Embassy arsenal, the kind that require multiple signatures and secret codes to obtain from the pharmacy.  And it was hardly making a dent in the pain. My leg cramped up so severely whenever I tried to stand that I'd collapse onto the floor and lay there until it passed.  Then, to make things worse, my whole leg went numb. How you can have blistering muscle cramps and novocaine-caliber numbness at the same time, I've no idea.  But I'm here to tell you it is possible.

The medical staff here arranged for me to get an MRI.  They even sent somebody to pick me up and take me there, because I couldn't walk more than a few steps without collapsing in a heap of pain.

The MRI revealed not one, but two herniated discs, one of which was pressing right into some big important nerve bundle, blah, blah, blah, need more pain pills, please.

That explains why I can't feel my left leg, I suppose.  That nerve is apparently going crazy and sending all sorts of messed up signals down the line.

In an instant, it seems, I went from being a person who can do jumping lunges and pull ups to being a person who can't pull on my own pants. This is not an easy transition for me.  I'm used to being the helper, not the person in need of help.  

This past week, though, I was definitely the person in need of help.  And boy did my neighbors come through.  We had a kids' party scheduled at our house last weekend, and two other moms showed up with enough cookies and brownies that I didn't have to cook anything at all.  Three meals showed up on my doorstep.  One neighbor brought me a bunch of kale from her garden. (I know what you're thinking: kale?  But you can't buy kale here, and I adore it.  So it was an awesome get well gift.)  Some of my clients gave me a massage gift certificate.  Others offered to supervise the pack out for me.  Seriously, people have been so, so helpful, more than I ever could have expected. B has taken up the slack in the house, doing laundry, grocery shopping, and stooping to pick up everything I drop because I can't bend over.

This all started a week ago Thursday.  It is Saturday night as I type this, nine days later, and I'm slowly feeling better. I still can't feel my leg, which seems like a bad thing.  But it isn't cramping up too much as long as I move slowly. I'm nowhere near pain free, but at least the pain is tolerable. And I can actually bend over to retrieve the things I drop, as long as I take my time. I'm off of the high-powered pain killers, which is good because those things made me loopy.

I'm letting go of my visions of an organized pack out.  The air freight went out on Friday, not much thanks to me.  I stretched out on the living room couch while the movers packed up the contents of the dining room, which is where we'd stashed all of our air freight.  Monday and Tuesday are the big packing days - we'll have a crew of 4-5 Russians crawling all over the house, packing up the bulk of our possessions. (The air freight was just a small supplemental shipment of dishes, pots, pans, bedding - all the things you need to get a household up and running.)  Theoretically, I'm supposed to be supervising the pack out, making sure the movers use the right paper and boxes and labels, but we'll see how I'm feeling by then.

If I don't get significantly better by early next week, we will probably re-arrange our flights and I'll leave here early to seek medical help in the States.  I'm hoping to get better and depart as scheduled, along with the rest of the family.  But we're keeping our options open for now.

Only about 12 days to go before we leave Russia for good.  Here's hoping I don't spend them all on the couch!

The air freight, awaiting the packers.


Betsy said... [Reply]

I am so sorry! I am glad that you have friends and neighbors willing to help as no pack-out is ever easy. Hope you pain goes away and you can enjoy your last days in Russia.

Amy Young said... [Reply]

How on earth are you going to be sitting for hours on a plane for that trip?

Please. Write your own stuff.