Part 17: Guess Who’s Back

Hello and welcome back to The Autistic Writer. It’s 4am, and I’m one-finger typing today’s blog on my phone,  through gritted teeth.  I’m going to start today with an apology for the horrible “back” pun… you see, I am currently in hospital awaiting my next cocktail of morphine, diazepam,  codeine and paracetamol. My back pain has been so severe it’s been a living nightmare. You don’t have to guess who’s back; it’s more a case of whose back… it’s my back. 

I mentioned in last week’s blog that I’d been having some back trouble, but over the following few days, the pain got worse. I kept doing all the things you’re supposed to do for a bad back; I kept mobile, did some gentle stretches, went on my usual walk, or shamble, on my lunch breaks, and so on.  I used paracetamol,  heat patches and a TENS machine to help manage the pain.  But the situation just worsened.

Thursday morning I tried to get up for work. It took me nearly half an hour of whimpering and staggering to get from bedroom to kitchen,  by which time my wife was getting really worried about me.   At the kitchen table, I froze. Every slight movement sent shockwaves through my body. I was stuck, and hurting badly.

My wife called 999 to see if we could get an ambulance. She was told I was not a priority as I had no chest pain, but someone would call back within 90 minutes to discuss pain relief options.   I didn’t have a problem with having to wait for an ambulance  considering the situation with the pandemic,  and all the usual accidents and incidents the emergency services would be dealing with.  However,  the pain was getting worse.  

My wife and I made the decision we would try to get me into our car, so she could drive me to A&E. This was far from being a straightforward exercise.  My wife had to dress me and then slowly manoeuvre me into the passenger seat without triggering a back spasm. That proved impossible.  I got in the car, but probably screamed loud enough to wake the neighbours.

My wife is a really good driver, but Sheffield’s roads are not the smoothest,  so the bumps we took on the journey were triggering worse pain for me. By the time we got to the hospital,  I’m afraid I was pretty much helpless, screaming and crying.  It took three medical staff and copious amounts of gas and air to get me into hospital.

Since being in the hospital, I have been having an absolute kaleidoscope of pain relief drugs. The consensus seems to be that I have suffered some kind of muscle damage. I was sceptical about this, but I have been assured that muscle problems in the back can be every bit as painful as I have experienced.

I’ve had an x-ray which has shown nothing to worry about, and an MRI scan for which I am awaiting a debrief, along with the usual blood test, urine test, covid test and MRSA test!

One of the problems here is that no amount of pain medication so far has completely nullified the pain. The best they’ve managed has been to get the levels down to what I would call significant discomfort. I guess I just need to wait for the MRI debrief now, and then see what the plan is going forward.

It was my plan for today’s blog to discuss the supposed gender imbalance in autism. That would have involved pulling together and boiling down various bits of research. Unfortunately, between the pain and being brain-fuddled by painkillers, I’m not going to be able to write anything coherent. So I offer you my apologies, my best wishes, and hopefully I’ll be able to catch up with you properly soon.

Take care of yourselves, people.

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