So last night, my dear Jodi was good enough to take me to the hospital at 3:30 am after failing to get to sleep for two hours due to an insane amount of pain in my lower back, which had the side effect of making my legs tingly and numb. Over the past two weeks, I’d been having what I thought was a combination of leg pain and the “usual” hip pains that I’d been having seasonally for the past two years. It was only a few days ago that I realized that putting heat on the small of my back was actually way more effective in soothing the pain than applying the same heat to my hip or leg.
During my visit to the emergency room last night, the doctor told me that it seems my sciatic nerves were being affected, meaning I’m experiencing sciatica. The diagnosis of sciatica isn’t exactly a revelation — it’d be like someone having a stomachache and being diagnosed with dispepsia. Sciatica is simply the medical definition for this group of symptoms, and as you can see by the Wikipedia article, it can have a large number of causes. Of the ones presented, I’m hoping it’s simple wear-and-tear, but I have to get to my family doctor to start investigating.
When I visited the doctor originally about my hip problems, he diagnosed the issue as being a bursitis that was affecting my sciatic nerve. At the time, I was prescribed Naproxen, an anti-inflammatory, which seemed to help quite a bit, though it did a number on my stomach. Now that I know I have sciatica presently, it makes me wonder whether or not this whole seasonally affected aspect of this pain is indicative of a bone spur or herniated disc, something that would be affected by barometric pressure, and I’ve been stupidly toughing it out all this time.
At the moment I’m on a 5mg dose of oxycodone (a.k.a Percocet), which is at the very least quite effective at distracting me from the pain — think Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb. Outside these first few days after my initial crisis of last night, I’ll be relying on ibuprofen (up to 8 a day), and a stomach acid blocker to keep the ibuprofen from ripping my stomach apart, using the Percocet only to help get to sleep at night.
The long and the short of it is, I’m having a good bit of trouble getting around, since last night’s crisis, but I’m now managing the pain effectively, so hopefully it won’t affect my ability to get my work done and try to maintain my home life. And I’m also hopeful to have a proper diagnosis as to why this is going on, now that we know it’s something more serious than a seasonally recurring bursitis.
I suppose the upshot of this is that I’ll have more time to write here, and to try to reopen communications with some e-mail friends I’ve been neglecting lately while in shoulders-of-Atlas mode with work. It’s funny how I always have such a guilty conscience about losing touch with the people I care about, but there’s always such a barrier to have to surmount in reestablishing these communications.
I’m grateful that Jodi was willing to take me in last night. The fact that when my hip issues first presented, I was living on my own at the time, and almost blacked out from the pain (which in retrospect should have been a clue that it was more than just a bursitis, given the location of the pain — the lower back, same place that’s killing me lately), makes me all the more grateful that I have someone I can rely on. I hope I can return the favour someday.