Well. That was a hell of a day.

On Wednesday we went down to Barnes for Ernie to have a procedure and before I get into the adventures of the day….they DID the procedure and FINALLY got a biopsy of his tumor. So, that was good!

The procedure was (oh, and this will be a long post, so buckle up or move along, you have been warned) an endoscopic ultrasound. The prep was as for a colonoscopy, which is never fun of course. Ernie swears they gave him some godawful medicine different than he’s had for a colonoscopy but I think his poor system has just been so ravaged that it was absolutely brutal. He had to get up at 4:30 am to start the final prep in order to be done before we had to leave and when I got up later I don’t think I’ve ever seen him look so awful. My poor sweet pea.

I’d gotten up ok and gotten ready no problem but as we were walking down the alley to the car my legs were really wobbly. Over the last, oh I don’t know…six months to a year…my spinal stenosis has been bothering me more and more. Sometimes my legs feel unsteady and tingly. I know I’m overweight, don’t exercise and have stenosis, and honestly, I just had too much shit going on between work and hysterectomy and cancer to deal with it, so you know how it is, you just keep going. Then the hysterectomy left me much weaker than I expected and cutting into my core muscles made me more unsteady.

We got to the car and I went to lift my left leg into it and the next thing I knew I was flat on my back, head hitting the concrete. There was no sensation of falling, my legs were just gone. I had a horrible time standing up, my legs just wouldn’t hold me, even with Ernie helping me. Finally, he dragged a plastic outdoor chair over to me and I was able to pull myself up.

He wanted to cancel and I said, “ohhhhhhh, no you don’t, we are GOING.” I told him I would just be very careful walking and there were no steps going in so I’d be ok.

We drove down somewhat tensely. We’d been supposed to leave a little early so we could register and then I could join a Zoom meeting but the fall had eaten into that time. We got there and parked pretty close. Ernie offered to drop me off but I pointed out that I would have to walk out to the car as I was his driver. I was a little wobbly walking to the hospital but I was ok. We got into the lobby and we paused behind some people. Someone behind me said, “excuse me,” and I went to move, and then my legs were just gone. I hit the floor with my head hitting the glass door.

Ever want attention? Try collapsing in a hospital lobby. And I wasn’t wearing the right dress for it either. People immediately rushed over, telling me not to move. I was quickly surrounded by a circle of what seemed like one hundred people although Ernie says it was more like ten. A (cute) doctor knelt down by me, asking questions and checking me out. He had the loveliest calming presence. In the meantime, I kept screeching that Ernie had to get registered, had to get to his appointment, over and over. They convinced me that I needed to be checked out in the emergency room and promised to get Ernie to his procedure.

Maybe I should shorten this into different posts. Oh well, in for a penny, in for a pound, you were warned. So they pulled me up and popped me into a wheelchair. I, of course, was crying and apologizing through all of this. Why do I always apologize? I must say that everyone was very kind.

I got admitted to ER. Then there was the question of whether they would go ahead with Ernie’s procedure because he has to have a driver present. I assured everybody over and over within a 100-foot radius that I would be able to drive. I might need a little help getting to the car but I could drive. Eventually, they decided to go ahead with it, thank God. Ernie and I sat in our respective hospital areas texting back and forth.

They did a brain scan and spine scan and then I waited. Eventually, I got a call that Ernie was done and I could go back. I said, “uh, actually I’m in the ER upstairs.” There was dead silence for a moment and then she said just to have them bring me down when I was done. She must have been one of the few not to hear. When I went to register at ER they said, “Oh, are you the one that fell?” When they asked Ernie where his driver was he said I was in the ER and they said, “Oh, is she the one who fell?” Oh, and when I first fell there was a guy who kept saying, “I heard the thud when her head hit that door from across the room.” I swear he said it ten times, honest go God.

Anyway. I wanted my damn husband so asked the nurse if they could bring him up here to wait and they did. I was so relieved when he got here. We both periodically got teary. My brain scan was fine. In fact, my head must be incredibly hard because it was one of the few things that didn’t hurt the next day. The spine scan just showed my spinal stenosis so they got me a PT consult. We tried a walker and it was helpful. I asked hopefully about a cane and we tried two types but they were a no-go.

At long last we were both done. The nurse said she would wheel Ernie out and I could use the walker. A few minutes later she came back and asked if I wanted to be wheeled out and carry my walker. I nodded gratefully and I’m glad I did because it would have been a long walk from the ER to where we had parked. So God help me, they wheeled us both out in wheelchairs…one to one side of the car, one to the other. I rather wish I had asked for a picture.

Although my back hadn’t hurt too much earlier by the end of the day it was killing me. The nurse put a patch on it before we left but I gotta say, it was a hellish drive. Between utter exhaustion and pain, I can’t say I was at the top of my game. I thought about getting a hotel in St. Louis but we desperately wanted to be home and I didn’t feel like experimenting with my walker in a hotel or spending the money, so off we went. Luckily it’s an easy drive. It was a relief when we got off I-70 onto I-57 and there were fewer trucks. I felt like Ernie was my guide dog telling me where to go, when to turn. We probably would have been better with him driving, sedation or no sedation. I managed it though and got us home in one piece…or two pieces, I suppose.

Leo was waiting for us when we got home but it was brutal getting me up the steps into the house. I managed the first few steps but sank on the last one. I cried and swore and tried to crawl to no avail. I finally managed to turn myself around and stand up and got to the walker. Christ almighty (channeling Joe Voelkl there), as I told one of the nurses, I knew I was becoming my mother, I just didn’t expect it to happen this soon.

We sat and talked to Leo and had frozen pizza that Ernie had brilliantly thought to buy ahead of time. We all decided there was no way in hell I was getting upstairs so I went back to my red couch.

Yesterday we tried to recover. I talked to work, sent a lone email and collapsed. I contacted Carle for a follow-up and talked to Hattie a lot. She’s very good company and thankfully she doesn’t stink at the moment. It’s good I didn’t work as my brain was not functioning terribly well. I hurt absolutely everywhere. I finally realized part of it was muscle strain from when I was trying so hard to get up. It’s a little better today. The worst pain I have is because I obviously strained myself and thus have a fair amount of my hysterectomy pain back.

Today is a little better though. Ernie’s not quite as wrung out and I’ve been up a bit without the walker and although unsteady, did ok. Going down steps to go outside scares me, I must admit. Well, I shared all the Barnes docs with Carle and am waiting to hear back.

So, a hell of a day wouldn’t you say? I’m grateful for the good care, however, and for the support of my family of friends. Thank you all. Now just say a prayer that our insurance covers all this.


10 thoughts on “The Tale of Matching Hospital Bracelets or Ernie Gets a Biopsy and I Take One More Step on the Journey to Becoming My Mother

  1. Oh, Cynthia! This is so scary!!!!! I am so grateful you weren’t hurt more than you were. I am grateful to hear some humor in your post, but y’all need some breaks.

  2. Oh no! This is a heck of a post to catch up with! I’m glad to hear that a biopsy was done on Ernie’s tumor. I’m so very sorry to hear that you fell & hit your head each time. ouch.
    Here’s hoping the insurance covers your care–fingers crossed.
    Thinking of the two of you–hang in there-

  3. Just blown away with the account of your awful awful awful day. Hope your aches and pains are going away and that Hattie still smells nice. Hope a better day is on its way for you both.