where shall i start? the cold? yeah, that's it. the cold.
the cold started in earnest monday afternoon. i tried to write it off as allergies at first. and at second. and even at third. to say that i was in denial was an understatement.
by middle of the night monday/tuesday, it was a cold. my face ached. my whole head felt heavy, drowsy and plugged up. and i got little, if any, sleep. so i did what anyone else would do. i called in sick tuesday morning and stayed home. and tried to sleep. but still had the same issues and slept very little. but that's the nature of the cold. i'll deal with it.
i was able to sleep fairly well tuesday night, so felt certain working wednesday would be no big deal. and it wasn't. well, it was trying. i was pretty tired. not really alert. but i got through the day. and i came home wednesday night and rested, slept some more, and expected myself to be back nearly to normal this morning.
sometimes things just don't work out as expected. i got up this morning sneezing, coughing, sneezing, coughing. and then i sneezed and coughed some more. and this was before i had my coffee and oatmeal. after that dandy breakfast? more of the same.
but dedicated to the task, i went to work. early. and surprisingly i coughed and sneezed a lot. in fact, i have a great idea here for those who may be fitness committed. if you want to develop six-pack abs, come on over and breath some of my air. i guarantee this coughing will, after a few days, develop better abs than any workout regimine. enough of that. oh, yeah, i stopped at a drug store on the way to work to see if i could find some nose tampons. they didn't know what i was talking about. was i dreaming that? such a great idea for times like these.
so i'm working away. pretty busy. and bev, a co-worker, is moving from one cubicle to another, and bev, as has been the case the last 8 times she's moved, ask me to move her "personal bulletin board". this is not a cork board as we know them, but a semi carpet covered board, perhaps 18 inches by 5 feet, that we all have. you can tack notes on them, or, as bev does, tack on pictures of every child, grandchild, great grandchild, husband, dog, boyfriend, and yes, even friend, she has ever had. that said to support the fact that bev's bulletin board will weigh at least 2-3 pounds more than an unburdened bulletin board.
but bev's a good ol' gal. she's brought in brownies before, and cookies, and makes this fabulous dish she calls scalloped corn that i have to try sometime. so i'm nothing but happy to help her move her bulletin board. normally.
let me tell you about my back. i first destroyed my back lifting something in 1983. since that time it seems that every 3-4 years i do something that, while it doesn't seem stupid at the time, feels that way afterward. and even though it's been a few years since i've had any major back issues, well, today was my day. and i blame it partly on bev, partly on kd.
now kd's a supervisor in another area of our building. she's a friend. and while transporting bev's bulletin board i stopped by kd's desk and visited for a minute. then i did something wrong. i picked up the bulletin board again, while it's standing, mind you, upright. i don't have to bend. and it doesn't weigh enough to really be lifting. but something in the lower right side of my back sent an immediate message to brain, "oh, %^^&, something just went wrong."
it wasn't terrible. it hurt sharply for a bit, then the pain diminished and i carried the board to bev's cube, hung the blasted thing, and went back to work. on the way, however, i stopped and told a couple of witnesses that i'd hurt my back, just so someone would know if i woke up in the morning unable to move.
well, i guess big companies don't work that way. one supervisor said you need to go to e.r. (not the emergency room, i later discovered, but employee relations.) oops.
so i go to e.r. talk to the e.r. director. and he calls our workers' compensation insurance carrier, reports the injury, then fills out this form and tells me i have to go to this urgent care joint, concentra, today to be checked out. really? today? ok.
i went back to my desk and worked a lot. real hard work. i worked really hard today. and about 2 p.m., when i finally stood up, well, back hurt worse than i'd expected it would. so i checked out and headed toward this concentra urgent care joint.
it was close. and that's convenient. in a strip mall that's been on the decline since 1979. no matter. i'll see a doc, get assessed, probably a prescription or two, be on my way. and that's sort of what happened.
i should state here that the names that follow have been changed to protect the identify of a couple of . . . . people.
so miss vickie, who obviously majored at smiling at the university of medical reception talents, greeted me, handed me two clipboards with documents to complete. and i did. and i took them back to vickie. and had a seat. and shortly miss vickie summoned me to the counter once again. what's your company name. i told her again. she can't find it. well, perhaps she couldn't spell west. or more realistically, i assume she was typing in the full corporate name rather than simply searching out all the "west" listings. ultimately she found it. and i sat again
a couple minutes later, miss vickie summoned me to the counter again. did i tell you my back was hurting pretty bad by now? again i hobbled over to her. and she said she'd forgotten to ask for my i.d. presented, back to my seat. and vickie summoned me again. "here's your i.d." does she understand what a bad back is?
in rather short order i'm taken back to the exam room. now the e.r. director had told me this visit would take 30-45 minutes. well, by now it's been 35 minutes, and i'm just getting there. and nurse peggy, a nice girl only 23 years old, greets me, checks my b.p. (that's blood pressure for you non medical types), (120/68), my temp (99.2 - i've got a cold, remember) and pulse rate (87). i seem all good. and she asked my age. and i told her. and she looked back at me over her shouder in shock. she said "i thought you were 50!" i sure enjoyed this part of the visit.
so nurse peggy hands me something paper with elastic on one side, two holes on the opposute, and said "take off your pants and put these on." they're not very fashionable. "but we might have to x-ray. or, the doc may need to examine your groin." ah, maybe not. but i shed my britches and donned the paper shorts nonetheless.
shortly there's a knock on the door (why do they knock. even if you're undressed, they're doctors. they've seen naked humans before.) and in walks doctor han. suddenly this idea of a groin examination is somewhat intriguing. she's not a bad looking gal, maybe 30. but really, at my age i feel like i'm looking at the female doogie howser. but she did a credible job examining me. asked the right questions - i've had back injuries before, remember. and overall does a nice bit of work. then the diagnosis . . . pulled muscle this time, not spinal. wow. after her explanation i agree with that. on to the treatment . . . 800 mg ibuprofen, 3 times a day. and flexoril "have you ever taken flexoril?" yes, i have. muscle relaxor that makes me very drowsy, for 24-36 hours. "well, it sometimes makes you drowsy. take 3 times a day as needed." huh? makes me drowsy? 3 times a day? and . . . work? hey steve, if i'm napping . . . . . it's workers' comp, remember?
and then the curve . . . "and physical therapy". now i've been through physical therapy, several different people, places, protocols, many times. and no, i'm not gonna do that. i can do these exercises at home and not waste an hour 3 times a week for six weeks. and, if it were skeletal, maybe. but muscle pull? don't think you wanna stretch that so much, do ya? i asked where? she said, "here." ah, another profit ploy. i declined. she said that i needed to see him once to be evaluated, workers' comp almost requires that. almost?
she further stated that he can probably see me right now. ok, we'll do that. so out i go to the counter where miss vickie checks with the pt dude and says "he says he'll be with you in 30-45 minutes." and i say, "you got the wrong guy. do you know what it's like to have a hurt back. i hurt. i'm not sitting here waiting for your guy to free up, in pain, so no. so i ended up agreeing to an appointment next week. that i think i'll cancel.
then miss vickie hands me two prescriptions. now i've been down this workers' comp road before. and i know that when i go to the pharmacy and present these prescriptions, the counter lady is gonna say "nothing here about workers' comp." so i mentioned that to miss vickie, and told her i needed something to evidence that claim. she said the rx sheet was all i need. i studied it, saw that i was probably right, so set out to the pharmacy.
alas, just as i suspected, my friend at walgreen's said "i have no evidence of workers comp for this." i know. can we call this concentra joint? "yep." and she calls, gets miss vickie, and miss vickie says she had nothing to offer besides the prescription. i'm getting a bit irritable.
so i called the office. talked to mister e.r. director, and he provided me with the name and phone number of someone to call at the insurance company. my friend, the pharm tech, called, talked to the guy, he gave her a different number, she called there, they said "we'll have to call you back."
if i could have kept from laughing at the absurdity of the entire matter, i'd have been really incenced. but i told my friend that i'd just come back tomorrow and settle it. but before i hit the door she paged me and had gotten the call back. prescripton authorized. i should ask her name. she's always very nice.
so here i sit. drugged on flexoril, in mild pain, planning what i'm gonna say when i call concentra tomorrow. open for suggestions.