April 29, 2008

broke back dave

Posted by gornzilla

My back has hurt since the seizure so I mention that to my neurologist. I say I've been taking 800mg of Advil but it's still hard for me to sleep. There's nothing he can do since I'm trapped in the Kaiser Hospital system. No "take these pain pills or muscle relaxants". No, "let me send you straight to another doctor". It's, "Sorry, but you have to make an appointment with your assigned doctor". An assigned doctor I haven't seen before. Kaiser's red tape is as bad as the government and it's 2pm on Friday afternoon. And it's all with a $30 co-pay.

In order to make an appointment with Kaiser, I have to go through a complicated phone system. A "push 1" or "push 2" or "push 3" and "our options have recently changed" and I have to go through 7 different options to talk to someone to make an appointment. It's like this every time I call and since the seizure, I have to call a lot. When it goes fast I can talk to someone in 6 minutes. When it's slow it's 17-20 minutes.

After 18 minutes, I get through to a person, but my doctor can't see me. Kaiser says for me to call up at 6am on Saturday to make an appointment. There's a party at my house on Friday so I'm up until 2:30am. It's hard to sleep with a sore back so it's not hard to get up at 6am to call. They say they can't do anything for at least a week. I bitch and say my back has hurt for 10 days so they make an exception and point me towards another doctor.

This doc sends me down for x-rays and when he looks at them he says, "I think your back is broken. A stress fracture of your vertebra. I'm not sure so I need to have a radiologist look at these. We'll let you know. Take some Advil". I let him know the Advil hasn't been working so he says, "try Tylenol".

I look like someone who seeks drugs. I had that explained to me by a doctor years ago and by my wife* who's a nurse. Even without a sarcastic mustache. It's kind of funny because I don't even take aspirin when I have a headache. When I've had surgery, I stop taking Vicodin after a day or two. I don't smoke pot and in the last 10 years, I hardly have more than two beers. But it is only "kind of funny" because when I'm in pain, I don't get anything. I'll just have to start buying Vicodin off the street for times like this.

I wait all day Saturday and they don't call. I know they won't call on Sunday, so my lawyer** takes over and buys me hot packs, cold packs, Tylenol, aspirin, and Advil. She quizzes the pharmacist for advice but she chose well. Back at her house, I have a glass of wine with aspirin, Tylenol and Keppra (my anti-seizure drug). She puts Salonpas hot pack/pain relief bandages on my back so not only do I hobble like an old man, I smell like one too.

Everything put together helped. I still don't sleep well but it's better. Monday at 7:45am I call them back. They take a message and call back at 10am to say, "We'll let you know in the next 24 hours".

Thanks a lot, Kaiser you fucks. I'm starting to wonder if I'll have to cancel on the Bananas tour which would suck. The seizure already screwed my plans for India and if my back is broken, I have no idea when I can start traveling. Riding for months on an old motorcycle with a broken back somehow seems like a bad idea. I'll still go to India but sans motorcycle. I've already quit my job to do this. In California, having a seizure means a 6 month suspended license. That won't count in India but I won't ride until I'm used to the medication and feel it's safe for me. Having a broken back and no license will rank me quite high for whatever minimum wage job I can hobble to while I wait to heal enough to go to India. Maybe I can get a job in a liquor store so I can learn Hindi from my co-workers.

Kaiser calls back at 4:30pm which is a pleasant surprise because it is the same day. It's obvious, I lost all faith in them. I wish I was back at Sutter Hospital. They were always nice and it's within easy walking distance which is helpful. The radiologist said it isn't broken and they'll send me a report. Man, that's a relief. Still Tylenol and Advil don't help much but knowing my back isn't broken is great. It would've been a funny way of breaking my back with some seizure inducing sex, but life somehow seems better without a broken back.

So Wednesday I go on tour with the Bananas. I'll try to post random updates here to get back in the habit for India. I'll get back and stick the engine into my NSU and put the NSU and my Norton up on eBay. I'll show up in India end of July so in time for monsoon season. Showing up so late means I'll miss out on going to China for the Olympics.

I know it seems like all I do is bitch and moan but that's just the nature of blogs. I actually think a lot of this has been funny, even if not exactly enjoyable. Complaining about postponing a long trip to India is like a millionaire complaining about getting old hundred dollar bills.

*My wife is a nurse friend of mine who married me so I'd have health care. It worked out that Kaiser was the most convenient. She's got a real fiance but they said for me to finish my lap round the world before they get hitched.

**My friend Heidi is a lawyer. I like to call her "my lawyer" or "Heidi Birdman Attorney at Law". She's good people which seems weird for a lawyer.

My friend Craig went to India a couple weeks ago (as he says, India then Outdia). He sent me this brief video of his brief trip. I was planning on seeing his band "Conquest for Death" last year in North Africa but I had to postpone my Round Two. I hope to run into them in Iran later this year. Craig wrote a really neat book about visiting Antarctica. It's a 2-sided book with the other section by Dean Carrico about his semester abroad in the UK. I hadn't read any of Dean's stuff before but I was really surprised how good it is. My favorite part of that side is Dean stalking a girl and not quite figuring out that he's stalking her. Well worth the 10 bucks!

He's been most everywhere with his band "All You Can Eat" and "Your Mother" and when he went to the Air Guitar Championship in Finland as Hot Lixx Hulahan -- the 2006 US National Air Guitar Champion.

Posted by gornzilla at April 29, 2008 10:56 AM


Let me know when you put your Norton on Ebay. My co worker is very interested.

For painkillers ask Kaiser if they have toradol or ketorolac. I think it's a synthetic substitute for opiate based painkillers. If you're like me and have had a few bad episodes with opiates, namely percodan; (I no longer take opiates), it works good.

Posted by: steve at April 30, 2008 07:58 PM

I'll let you know. The engine and tranny were rebuilt by Raebers about 1,000 miles ago.

I just tend to ignore pain (unless it's in my face) so I'm fine. A friend offered me some vicodin but it's not needed. Thanks for the advice though. I'll try to remember that if I'm overseas and I screw myself up again.

Posted by: Dave Smith at April 30, 2008 10:52 PM

ask them for flexeril, it's a muscle relaxant. Jeeze, they are being very stingy. Hi, your back may be broken, but take that tylenol.

If you guys get near Canada, cross the border and get some T3 at least.

Posted by: Amy at May 7, 2008 03:30 PM

OH man, I love opiates. They're just the best, plain and simple. I wish I had some, they're so pretty.


Posted by: Dr. Biggles at June 18, 2008 09:45 AM