Life in a Nutshell – Cramped and Ornery

When the RN at the Emercency Center pulled out a wicked looking needle and said, “Where do you want it?” I knew we were in trouble.

It’s been about two weeks in which my husband has been dealing with some strange back and leg pain localized in the…uh, *cough* gluteus maximus. He has been seeing a chiropractor for it and stretching at home to alleviate pressure of the muscles on a nerve. Two days ago, he felt really good! We thought he was on the downhill slide and finally kicked this thing.

Tonight, at 3:00AM, it was the worst it’s ever been.

During the evening, we had been stretching GW’s legs, icing, and using topical analgesics trying to offer some relief to the muscle cramping, shooting pain in his asscheek and leg. We thought it subsided, and he went to bed hoping for a good night’s sleep and a better day.

It woke him out of a dead sleep – the tightening, cramping muscles of his butt and calf. The pain was so intense, he couldn’t keep silent. I got up to fetch more ice. We stretched his leg, but nothing seemed to subside the pain. Finally, I looked at my husband and said, “It’s time to go to the ER.”

It wasn’t the first time we had gone to the ER during our almost 4 years together, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. We checked in, and the RN took GW’s blood pressure – the usual routine. Then he starts with the typical questions, “What brings you in tonight? Can you rate your pain? Where is it located?” The RN glances up slyly and asks, “Is this a result of domestic abuse?” He looks at me – all mockery of condemning.

We laugh in surprise – weary chuckles, grateful for the small relief.

I don’t remember his name. I remember reading the nametag, but at 3:00AM, my memory isn’t strong.

This man was on his eighth night shift in a row and still carried on with energy, compassion, and attentiveness toward patients. As he situated us in the room to wait for the doctor, he looked down at my husband stiff as a board upon the bed, and with the deepest sympathy in his eyes said, “You are by far the single most uncomfortable-looking person I’ve seen all night. Can I get you a warm blanket?”

He made our night. Periodically checking in on us or to administer the medication, he remained witty and pleasant. By the way, there was no injected medication. The needle was there all right, complete with impish delight from our RN as he watched our faces go from pale to ghostly. But it turned out to be a liquid syringe taken orally.


GW is on the mend. Slowly but surely, the pressure on the nerve is subsiding. He’s at least able to work since walking seems to help.

We’ll never forget our time in the ER.

God bless the good people of Earth.

This has been,

Fan T. C.

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