June 13, 2012

Got Your Panties?

Got Your Panties?

A few of you have asked where I have been. I have a lot of blogging to catch up on. It will all help to explain why I spent the better part of 3 hours at the office of an orthopedic surgeon today.

But I want to start with this.

Two weekends ago, me and my two friends – W and B – we took a little mom-cation to Palm Springs. When moms are away, they talk. Not about the kinds of things men think they talk about. Surprisingly, even when what we are trying to do is get a day away from our kids, we talk about our kids.

B told this story:

She has a habit of doing a sort of oral check list when she leaves the house – “Got my phone, got my keys, got my purse…” You get the picture. So one day, she is folding laundry and her 18 month old toddles up when she is folding and says “Mommy, what’s that?” “Those are panties,” says B. “They are sort of like pull-ups for grown ups.” Sort of.

So the next day, they are leaving the house and B is doing her checklist. “Got my phone, got my keys…”

“Got your panties?” chirps her child.

We all laughed. B then recounted how her mom had always stressed that she should always have on nice panties in case she had to flee a fire in the middle of the night. After all, we can’t have firemen seeing us in old panties…or worse.

Now it was my turn to really laugh. My mom used to say the same thing. Seriously – how many of us got that advice drilled into us when we were growing up? But even more I figured I aught to tell my girlfriends about the time I did happen to end up in my panties with a group of firemen.

(You are still reading, aren’t you)

In the fall of 2009 I was speaking at the annual conference for the National Association of Bariatric Nurses in Orlando, Florida. I had finished up my last talk and had a few hours to myself before I was going to go have a final dinner out with friends and colleagues. I went to my room to do some email and such. It was hot in Orlando. I didn’t quite want to get dressed for my night out, so I stripped down to my bra and panties and hopped up on the bed with my laptop.

Having settled in, I realized I was thirsty…and I had left my bottle of water on the dresser on the other side of the room. As I got up to get the bottle, I had a sudden shooting pain and my legs simply collapsed from under me.

You don’t have to be a doctor to know that that’s not a good thing – however since I am I busied my brain with trying to figure out simultaneously what nerve root level would have resulted in that complete loss of function and how exactly was I ever going to get dressed if I could not get off the floor.

Then my phone rang. It was on the bed. In great agony I scraped myself across the floor and answered it. It was my friend Dr Dixon suggesting we meet in the lobby in an hour. I told him I didn’t think I would make it. When he finally got it out of me that I was lying in agony on the floor, he offered to come up. Being that I was mostly naked, I declined. He said he would call back.

30 minutes later, I was still not able to move. He called back. After much debate – we decided that he would go to dinner and he said he would let the front desk know I was having some pain so they could perhaps get me some assistance. Now the hotel phone rang. It – of course – was on the other side of the room on the desk. I dragged myself over there and got it. It was the manager. “We have called you and ambulance,” he said.

It was too late to protest. And, well, I had not been able to move much without agony for over an hour.

Several minutes later there is a knock at my door. The manager is there asking if he can open the door. From the floor, I reply “sure.”

Why is it that emergency services always send firemen first?

In come 6 of them. 5 young guys and their chief who looks like he is in his mid-50s. And there I am, on the floor, on my stomach, in my panties. And I seriously, think “Well, at least I have on nice panties.”

They sort of immediately told me that they couldn’t do anything for me but they were more or less there to wait for the paramedics. They sat down in two rows on the queen beds, with me on the floor in between. They seemed very uncomfortable and they were making some pretty awkward attempts at small talk.

You could tell jokes, I suggested.

So they did. Firemen don’t know any jokes I can repeat on this blog. But they did keep me from being completely miserable until the paramedics showed up about 30 minutes later and took me away.

I am sure the real moral of this story is to always be prepared. Got your panties? Check.

But it doesn’t end there. You see the diagnosis was a herniated disc in my low back. It hurt for a while back in 2009. It hurt a lot. And then it got better. It got so much better that I mostly for got about it. Until now.

Which gets me back to today and visiting with the orthopedic surgeon.

And I will tell you more about that tomorrow.

Right now I am going to take a good strong muscle relaxer and try to sleep.

Sweet dreams.





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