Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped-turned upside down, and I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there, and I’ll tell you how I can’t sit down for too long because I’m in excruciating and relentless pain.
For the past five months or so, there’s been a bone jutting out my spine. Sexy, non? It might sound hard to ignore, but through my well-versed ability to ghost, I’ve managed to keep telling my unstable vertabrae that everything’s fine, I’m just really busy right now. But like a Tinder date that just won’t take the hint, eventually I had to face up to this literal pain in the arse.
I have a history of theatrics (I once played a very convincing street-worker in a school play), so when I recently asked you whether I was having a nervous breakdown or just being dramatic, even I was surprised to find out that I wasn’t just being dramatic. Yes, my life is very much falling apart right now.
2017’s not been a great year for me. Not only has Brexit hindered the potential inheritance of my parent’s apartment in the South of France, but I’ve also been told I have a condition called spondylolisthesis.
SPONDYLOLISTHESIS (spŏn′dl-ō-lĭs-thē′sĭs): forward displacement of a vertebra over a posterior segment due to a congenital defect or fracture in the parsinterarticularis. Occurs in the giant breeds of dogs and as a developmental defect called kinkyback in broiler chickens. Affected birds are unable to stand normally and may be completely paralysed. The causativelesion is a deformity of the sixth thoracic vertebra but the cause of the defect is unknown.
I’m no chicken, but either way, that prognosis doesn’t sound great. Whose idea was it to include a ‘lol’ in that word?
Three weeks ago I took a visit to my GP, where I was booked into see Dr. Heart-Throb-To-Women-Over-50. My mum (over-50), would describe this GP as “a lovely man, with a nice way about him.” But after he laughed my deformed spine and I out the surgery, I would probably call him over-50 and incompetent.
On Mother’s Day I became a spectacle, as family members took turns in feeling my protruding bones, and exclaiming “urgh, that’s disgusting,” in chorus.
Not wanting to repulse my public any longer, I hobbled into A&E. Three hours of convincing and one hideously intrusive examination later (was it really necessary?), I was wheeled into X-Ray with my hospital gown flapping in the wind and my pink thong near exposed. Sat in a corridor listening to a podcast about murders and sending selfies to my work colleagues, I felt like a time-wasting hospital fluke. So on arriving back in my cubical, I wasn’t expecting the news that I would require an urgent MRI scan.
Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever had an MRI scan, but they’re a bit like a really shit rave – it’s loud, claustrophobic, and you’re completely sober; I said this to the nurse on duty, and she told me to get dressed and go back to the waiting room.
“There seems to be a narrowing around your spinal cord in your L5 vertebra, which explains the pains you’re feeling down your legs. There’s also some slight curvature, which is why that vertebra feels so much more prominent. But, in anyone as slim as you, naturally your vertabrae are more visible. We need to get you referred to physio and a back surgeon sooner rather than later.”
Please, tell me more Doc… No, not about the tightening around my spinal cord, about how slim I am.
I know this could be worse, and I wish I could convince myself to believe that. I was told to immediately phone an ambulance if I lost feeling in my legs. I’m scared to exercise in case my spinal cord snaps like a Mac eyebrow pencil dropped on the floor. I’ve not even spoken to an orthopaedic surgeon, yet I’m assuming the worst. I feel confused, a bit useless, and I’m running out of cucumber eye-cream to soften these bags under my eyes.
But there’s a silver lining in all of this; it’s going to make great content for my debut novel, ‘Brace yourself; a guide to internet dating in a back brace’.
Images via Giphy.