And another evening spent at the friendly Lion’s Gate Hospital – for me this time

So I went to the walk-in clinic near my work this afternoon to find out about my shoulder and back pain and breathing troubles. He told me that my lifestyle isn’t active enough (biking to and from work, hiking on weekends, and working out at fencing twice a week is not enough activity? Dumbass.)

I figured that maybe going to fencing tonight would be all right, so I packed myself up at 7:30 and headed out for the 8:00 class. I arrived and did a few low-impact stretches and warm-ups, thinking that I’d know if it was too much. I didn’t do any of the more difficult stuff, like the running and push-ups and crunches and backwards push-ups and so on. After about twenty minutes of low impact stretching and such, I decided that it wasn’t going to work and I should go home. I started to pack up my stuff and was about to head out the door when the spasms kicked in.

For the next half-hour I was in agony, enough that they called an ambulance for me (I couldn’t get myself off the ground or the couch, and I could hardly breathe at all.) I remember at one point having so much trouble breathing that I started to panic – that panic that you get when you can’t breathe, when you’re not getting enough air. You feel it sometimes when you knock the wind out of yourself. It was that, only so much worse.

One of the instructors sat on the floor with me and helped me focus on breathing. It was the only thing I could do while we waited for the paramedics to arrive. The pain was nearly unbearable, but I still managed to bear it. For I don’t know how long, all I did was focus on him and breathe in through the nose (more like gasping) and then out through the mouth. If he hadn’t been there I may well have hyperventilated. As it was, I couldn’t think at all.

The paramedics arrived and were very nice. They took all my stats and said I didn’t have anything wrong in that sense, which was a relief. They then offered me laughing gas and brought up the big tin – I tried so hard to get some off the inhaler, but I just couldn’t breathe deeply enough to do it. I was sad, I really wanted the laughing gas.

I had handed someone my phone and told them how to call Adam (he’s my emergency dial, if you hold down the 5 it auto-calls him.) He was on his way to meet me at the school. The paramedics told me that they could take me to one of the hospitals in Vancouver, the closest of which were very busy and I’d probably end up waiting forever, or I could go with Adam back to the North Shore and go to Lion’s Gate. That made more sense, so off to Lion’s Gate we went.

The wait at the hospital emergency was the shortest we’ve had ever. Adam wheeled me in in a wheelchair, since I was in too much pain to walk or move or do anything but gasp, really. I had take some advil before the paramedics arrived, but it had yet to do anything.

I checked in with the Triage Nurse and we probably waited not much longer than an hour to get called out of the waiting room. We spent another hour in the treatment area, where the nurse took lots of info down and the doctor came by and examined me. He figured it was muscular, but took a urine sample for my kidneys just in case. Upon listening to my lungs, he told me they sounded fine.

The urine was fine, so no kidney problems. I got a prescription for Naprosyn (maybe?), Flexaril and Tylenol 3s, and he recommended physio. I should go back to my friendly physiotherapist down the street from when I wiped out last summer. He was nice.

Oh yeah, they gave me a shot of Morphine with Gravol, which is the only reason my back finally stopped spasming on me. I’m feeling a bit floaty and stoned. At least I am at home and I should be able to sleep tonight, unlike every other night this weekend.

I don’t think I’ll make it in to work tomorrow. But don’t worry, I got my Picture a Day on Adam’s cellphone camera! (Yes, I really am that obsessive.)


  • lafemmezilla

    March 28, 2006 at 10:07 am

    Holy crap yeah that is some of the worst pain ever! You poor thing.

    Enjoy your painkillers, but don’t neglect the naproxen. That’s the only thing that’ll take down the swelling. If that upsets your stomach too much (and it’s reallyr eally good at that) you can take 800 mg ibuprofen every 8 hours once the naproxen leaves your system.

    Also, you should send me any leftover flexerals you have when yer done.

    I hope you’re having some good sleep, girly!

    • Jenny Lee Silver

      March 28, 2006 at 10:25 pm

      I haven’t tried the naproxen yet, I’ve been on ibuprofen.

      Sleep last night was good until the next door people in our apartment building started having a domestic dispute. She was in the hall bashing on the door, he was in the apartment screaming at her through the door. Not sure how long it went on for, but it was really annoying.

      I managed to nap some on the couch this morning though, thankfully (no work for me.)

      • lafemmezilla

        March 28, 2006 at 10:27 pm

        Well if you’re already on ibuprofen, I’d just stick with that.

        I was out of work for a week when that happened to me. I hope you heal faster than I did!

  • msfancypants

    March 28, 2006 at 1:04 pm

    Ouch! (And yet she still takes a picture… lol).

    Get to that physiotherapist, chicky!

  • laquira

    March 28, 2006 at 2:59 pm


    Get better! Go to physio.. and please continue breathing!

    • Jenny Lee Silver

      March 28, 2006 at 10:25 pm

      I like air. It is nice. 🙂


  • youenjoymyself

    March 28, 2006 at 3:04 pm

    Hope you get better soon, Jen!
    Physio is an amazing healing force.

    • Jenny Lee Silver

      March 28, 2006 at 10:26 pm

      Thanks 🙂 I’m working on it.

      I had physio last summer for my ankle and foot after a mountain biking crash that left me on crutches. It was very helpful. 🙂

  • sirreal13

    March 28, 2006 at 4:11 pm

    You poor kid… I hope you get a better Doc than THAT one with the condescending attitiude. {{{JennyLee}}}

    • Jenny Lee Silver

      March 28, 2006 at 10:27 pm

      Yeah, I’m going to see a regular family doctor tomorrow morning. Thanks 🙂

  • drtrauma

    March 29, 2006 at 3:59 am

    Yikes! that had to be scary!

    I’m glad that the medics treated you nice…if they didn’t I’d be making phone calls.

    • Jenny Lee Silver

      March 29, 2006 at 7:39 am

      The medics and the emergency people in Vancouver are fantastic. I can’t say the same for the Walk-in clinic doctors or even some of the family GPs we’ve dealt with since arriving here, however.

      • Anonymous

        March 29, 2006 at 12:21 pm

        You know the pain may come from riding the bike and being hunched over. I get similar pain from riding a motorbike daily. Chiropractor and chest streches work wonders – yours truely from DownUnder