2 weeks ago, I woke up to very bad back pain. It was so bad that I found it very difficult to drive myself to the doctor (and then wait in a waiting room full of horribly uncomfortable chairs to see someone). I’ve had back pain for a long time; as long as I can remember, but it has never been this bad.
Several years ago, after a trip to the US, I went to a general practitioner here at International Clinic for back pain. He asked me to walk around the room and told me that I probably had more exercise in the US than I normally have here, and I should take hot showers before going to bed. Okey dokey. Did that. Doans pills out the wazoo, hot water bottles, Thermacare pads (LOVE THEM).... Seemed to help.
|Desert Girl's friends|
Anyhoo, I like Seef Hospital. Everyone from the floor cleaners to the top doctors were friendly (with the exception of one very mean receptionist on the 3rd floor). It is clean, they have good equipment, they take my insurance. BAM. Plus, unlike International Clinic, there aren’t 4000 screaming, crying, snotty kids around. There were, however, a lot of Americans (insurance, I guess) having very interesting Oprah-esque conversations that I tuned into; many about the differences and similarities of US-Kuwait cultures. (Quite enjoyable while drinking my Starbuck's latte from the lobby and munching on codeine.)
Side note: Why is it that when hospitals or clinics know that they have sick patients (especially when you are going somewhere for orthopaedic stuff), they have crappy, uncomfortable, bad-for-you chairs in their waiting rooms? WTF. Make an investment!
Did the MRI and within a few days, I had the result. GP Dude told me I have a fractured disc, ordered me, accusingly, to “lose weight!” and told me to go to Seef Hospital to see an orthopedic surgeon. (Thanks for your friendly advice that I didn’t know before, in-between your personal SMSs....). Do I need surgery? Is this going to be life-altering? Is this pain going to last? OMG.
I went to my car and cried for 20 minutes. What the hell am I going to do with the 3 closets full of sexy high heels (priorities, right)? How am I going to jet ski this summer? Can I keep my low-to-the-ground sports car? What about walking my big dog? Eeek.
Back to Seef for the orthopaedic dude. No appointments were available, so I went in as a walk-in. (Again, refer to side note above – shitty chairs!) Nurses took my vitals, weighed me, checked my height, and 2 hours later, I got to see dude. Luckily, he wasn’t SMSing. He had me walk around, he looked at my MRI.
First, Can you believe that I have shrunk by like 3 centimeters? WTF! Maybe it is just the conversion difference between metric and imperial; let us pray. I’m too short to be shrinking. Say it aint so. And no heels? WTF.
So dude didn’t do extensive testing. He just looked at my MRI and told me how bad it was (fractured disc) and that I should start physiotherapy right away at their hospital. He had me walk a little. Told me no back brace (it weakens the back muscles when you really need to strengthen them and your core muscles) and told me to wear heels between 2-3cm (no higher than 5cm). At least I get SOME heel. Yippee. He also handed me a little Xeroxed paper with “Sketchers – foam inserts” on it, so I believe he is getting promotional fees from the only sketchers store in Kuwait. Ok granted, I’m a sucker for marketing and I know it is blatantly obvious that it’s a plug, but I’m going to buy them anyways. Phuckit phuckit phuckit. He said no jet skiing until I had a 6-pack like Arnold (I haven’t seen Arnold recently... do you think his abs have gone flab?)
After-note: I am not impressed by the care I received at Al-Seef after several visits now. (As my friend, Bobarino says, "Million dollar airport; 25 cent control tower." Nice facility, but ....) The ortho was not thorough and left me with more doubts/worries than I should have had (after waiting to see him with no updates from mean receptionist for 2 hours). I accidentally left my file; they found it and held it at the reception desk and no one ever called me - I hunted it down by physically going there. The ortho receptionist was rude and unwelcoming. They never called me back regarding my physiotherapy (details, and if it was covered under insurance). When I went back and discussed with the insurance rep at the hospital, he took a personal call in the middle of my conversation and acted like I wasn't sitting there. I went to the patient care rep to explain all of this and she just kept telling me that "Physiotherapy is in the basement." I filled out a complaint form. She said they would call and guess what - THEY DIDN'T. Obviously, they don't need my insurance money. Thank you.
And then, and then, and then....
God works in mysterious and wonderful ways....
I have a friend who is known to be the best radiologist in Kuwait. I haven’t seen him in about 10 years (which is RIDONCULOUS because we used to be such close friends and I truly adore him). So, I called him to see if he could read my MRI and get a 2nd/3rd opinion. Turns out that he has another specialty in orthopaedics. I didn’t know. Thank you, God.
His waiting room at Dar Al Shifa Hospital kind of freaked me out. My djinnis don’t like the big religious experience being pushed upon me; and my djinnis started to make me shaky... there were a lot of beardo’s and ninjas and stares. Oh my.
So when I finally got in, he read the MRI and then had me do some tests; bending over chairs (was that really necessary or might he have a thing for me?), stress tests on my toes, etc . I asked him if I should take off all my clothes (he’s really handsome). (I do this everywhere – even at the dentist. If I’m going to be uncomfortable, why shouldn’t they?) He told me that both me and my friend who went with me should take our clothes off. Ha ha. Gave his nurse some giggles. He then handed me a DVD which contained all the exercises/advice (proactive doctor – way to go!) I would need and told me to join a gym with aquarobics for 3 months. He said that I was probably born with a defect in that disc (my mom now blames herself) and that I’ve probably had chronic pain my whole life (which I have, but I thought was normal) and that I've just had a bad episode several weeks ago that should pass. He said even without the physiotherapy or aquarobics, that I would probably feel better anyways in a few weeks with muscle relaxers. I asked him about shoes and he said I can wear high heels as soon as I’m not in pain anymore. Whew. There IS hope!
If anyone needs an outstanding orthopaedic guy, Dr. Tariq Sinan at Dar al Shifa is THE only one I will ever recommend in Kuwait. I have also heard outstanding things about a man named Adam Harris at Wholistic Health who does physiotherapy. I have an appointment to go see him later this month. Does anyone know where they have acquarobics in Kuwait?
Y’alls know me – I’m a big emotional mess so this has been nothing but one big pity party for me. It’s all ok. Sometimes you need to take a few steps back I guess. Sometimes your true friends reveal themselves when you need them; and there is a time for others to fall by the wayside (Springtime is all about renewal....)
Over the weekend, I was supposed to take Mikey to the obedience school. It was a big event because I haven't really left the house much. I have been having trouble taking him out for exercise and now that this disc thang has been diagnosed, dude can’t be pulling my back out of whack. He needs to learn to listen. He’s just too big and powerful.
First thing that happened was my car broke down for the first time ever. It overheated before I ever got out of the neighbourhood (took it by tow truck to a mechanic I know in Shuwaikh and he fixed the water pump in 3 hours). It’s like someone has cursed me. Sheeeeet.
I'm going to start physiotherapy and hopefully aquarobics. When I'm done, I'm going to be able to do this and get back to contortions (She looks like a fun gal, right?)