L1 And T12 Creative Story(So, this is all I have of my experience written down. So much more happened.)
Nicole Hack—Creative Writing—1/18/2010—Assignment #2
I didn’t cry when I hit the ground, though the impact was like a split-second chain reaction up my back and into my skull, jarring my brain and giving me a splitting headache. But that wasn’t the worst. I felt a buzzing fire throughout my entire body, right down to my toes, as if I was one enormous funny bone and I’d been hit in exactly the right place to cause the most pain I’d ever felt in my entire life.
I rolled off the beanbag and lay on my stomach, heard the ex
The people held their plates of food and stared at me. I still didn’t cry.
“Nicole, come on. Get up! You are ok…right?” That was Jordan—my husband—and he obviously didn’t realize what had happened. I was a very accident-prone person and I always cried and complained. But I wasn’t now. I had to make him realize the seriousness of the situation—couldn’t he feel the absolute and exquisite pain radiating from me?
“Jordan, listen—“ I gasped with pain. The pain came in wave after wave—I was sure I had to pass out or I would die of agony.
The thought crossed my mind that we should call 911. My father’s voice came into my mind—he was speaking of how expensive an ambulance is and that under no circumstances, if it can be helped, was an ambulance to be called. This was after my brother Jake had scraped his knee and called an ambulance, raking up a huge medical bill for my frugal dad to pay off.
“Jordan. I have broken my back. I need you to carry me out—“ “to the car….please...” I reached up to him, my fingers shaking and grabbing at the air—trying to ignore the pain that was my entire body. I grabbed his left shoulder with my right hand, and he saw the pain in my eyes and realized I was hurt more than just a little. He began to lift me up off the musty-smelling carpet—tinged red or brown (I can’t remember which), smelling of sweat.
I tried to help—but my left leg wouldn’t work—and my right leg was quivering with spasms. Jordan was basically carrying me—I felt as if I would melt into a puddle of meat, fat, and pain if it wasn’t for my ab muscles. I was shaking and my teeth were chattering as if I had hypothermia, though my body was on fire and I wasn’t the least bit cold.
Jordan dragged me down the stairs. My new friend, Susan, followed. I tried not to cry out as I got in the car, reclining the seat back as far as it would go.
“Nicole, are you all right? I—“
“I’m fine Susan! …just need…moment…call you—“
Jordan slammed the door, ran around the front of the car—trying not to slip on the ice—and got in, starting the engine.
I couldn’t hold it in any longer—a scream of pure agony escaped from my mouth and tears literally soaked the headrest and my hair. I couldn’t stop screaming.
“TAKE ME TO THE HOSPITAL!” Jordan pulled out of Glenwood and waited for an open space to pull out into traffic.
“I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO HONK THE HORN PULL OUT AND FREAKING TAKE ME TO THE HOSPITAL!”
He did as he was told. But for some reason we headed for the BYU clinic right by Wymount, where we lived. I guess it was because I was a BYU student with BYU insurance, and it just felt safer to be driving closer to home. Every bump in the road caused me pain of the most exquisite kind. I would have rather been in labor.
We got there, and Jordan lifted me out of the car. I almost collapsed. We went up to the emergency entrance. It was closed. DUH. We couldn’t think. Jordan was trying to support me awkwardly. There was nothing holding my body together except soft tissue--there was no connecting fr
“I’M CALLING 911! I DON’T CARE ABOUT THE MONEY!” Jordan screamed as he buckled me back in.
“NO I CAN MAKE IT! JUST GO TO THE REAL HOSPITAL! DRIVE!”
It was torturous, re-tracing our tracks back down University Parkway, every nuance in the road bringing a scream from me. I couldn’t help it. On top of that, the nerve pain felt like little continuous bug bites on every square centimeter of my skin. Or like I'd stubbed my toe and the inital pain will never wear off.
“STOP! NO! DON’T STOP!”
“I’M CALLING 911!”
“NO! LOOK THE LIGHT IS GREEN! GO! GOOOOO!”
Jordan pulled over by the stadium, in the right turn lane. I heard his panicked voice and saw his hand holding his cell phone to his ear. I wanted to die or pass out—either one sounded good to me.
“Please—my wife, she’s hurt—I think it’s her back—“ I focused on Jordan’s voice for five seconds, trying to ignore my body screaming at me. It was too hard to ignore. I gave voice to my pain—it made it feel better. Jordan’s panicked voice was in the background and I wondered how fast the ambulance would get there.
The lights flashed off of the rearview mirror and the side mirrors. I was so grateful the police and ambulance had arrived—but that didn’t last for more than thirty seconds.
“Do you want your feet first, or your head first?” The man was asking me. I felt as if he was asking me how I wanted to be birthed.
“feet first!” They positioned the board outside the door and readied to move my shaking body. I focused on my right hand, which had been clinging to where the seat belt connects to the car above my head. My muscles were twitching. Shouldn’t I be numb or something? Isn’t that what happens when you break your back?
The medic moved my upper body perpendicular to the seat and I screamed—another medic grabbed my legs and slid them up onto a board.
“I want you to position yourself where it’s most comfortable, okay?” a woman said. I was on the board and contorted my body into the twisted position that brought the most relief—a position that, had I felt normal—I wouldn’t have been able to hold for long. They put straps across my body at about six inch intervals. Four medics carried me up the slope to the sidewalk, then back down the slope to the ambulance. They weren’t graceful with me—they put me in the ambulance hurriedly, jarring my spine even more. I was sure they needed to work out more—they could barely lift me! My screams were subsiding to sobs, my voice ragged. I heard someone else sobbing—Jordan, the love of my life—his sobs hurt me even more.
“What’s your name? Birthdate?” the light in the ambulance was brighter than looking at the sun—I was distracted. And why wasn’t Jordan riding in the ambulance with me?
“Where…Nicole…Hack. 12---“ I tried to stop my gasping but I couldn’t.
“So you were jumping off of a…loft? What was it? And you hit the ground?” his voice had a tone to it. If I could have escaped my body I would have vocally harassed him. How dare he talk to me like that! I ignored the question…instead focusing on my agony, which I had previously not wanted to do. I decided I hated ambulances and that Jordan should have made the light.
1. Why didn’t you cry and make a scene when you broke your back? N: It was at someone’s birthday party and I didn’t want to make a scene. Frankly, I was embarrassed.
2. Why were you embarrassed? N: I know that’s a silly thing to be—when your life is actually in danger—but maybe it has something to do with looking cool? I don’t know, all I know is I’m rarely embarrassed whenever I hurt myself in a stupid way. I'm really accident prone.
Update: So, to make a long story short, I compressed L1 and T12, and a shard of bone was starting to sever my spinal chord. I now have two rods, 10 screws down in my back, and a 6-7 inch scar down the middle. A random peice of bone is still floating in my spinal column, or maybe it's dissolved now.
I can't get enough massages. It's been about three years, and I'm mostly out of the pain, but I still have to deal with discomfort.
Turns out, I also broke my collarbone, (cracked it), but no one noticed. My left leg and right arm went dead, and I had to learn how to walk again until my brain connected with my nerves again about 6 months later. My right leg, to this day, is still stronger than my left and I overcompensate, which throws my whole body out of whack. I'm convinced that the break also changed the chemistry of my already-bipolar brain. I just quit college (for a semester or more), because I can't think straight. I can't remember things. I also can't get rid of the extra thirty pounds I've gained since I broke my back.