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5 January 2008; Pittsburgh > Richmond.

Posted in Pittsburgh, Pudendal Nerve Entrapment by thebreakfastdictator on 01/05/2015

Seven years ago today, me and my Dad packed up a U-Haul on the corner of 44th and Hatfield in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville Neighborhood. We left a chilly, drizzly, grey Pittsburgh and arrived in warm, sunny Richmond a few hours later. This still bothers me. My decision making was so insanely poor; but of course, being an Uber-Calvinist / Determinist at the time, it wasn’t my decision, it was God’s. He made me do it. I couldn’t help it. Blah blah blah.

44 & Hatfield, 5 December 2007.

44 & Hatfield, 5 December 2007.

Richmond seems so hazy in the rear view. It was mostly this miserable experience. I couldn’t find work there, so I was commuting to Pittsburgh once a month, Lancaster a few times and even Philadelphia on occasion. It was this locus of sleep, eternal coffee, Papa John’s Pizza and a lot of confusion.

Today, I am thankful for where I am and for what Richmond taught me, but there is still this paradoxical sense of regret and loathing of that place. Pittsburgh was the place I learned to be an adult; it was this formative world shedding my mid-20s adolescence, Richmond seemed to be the re-embodying of that; making random and immature decisions. Two steps forward, three back, I suppose. But that’s begging the myth of progress question…

As these milestones of immaturity pass further and further into the distance, I wonder what choices I make today or yesterday or the day before will accompany the Richmond decision as a fellow head-scratcher. I guess I’m not that worried about it. The thirties are so different from the nomadic twenties.

Here we are and here we will be. Here we are and here we will stay. Be content; there is wisdom in rootedness.

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100 days.

Posted in Pudendal Nerve Entrapment by thebreakfastdictator on 03/15/2013
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Houston Orthopedic

4.30 am, Central Standard Time, Houston, Texas. The alarm rattles me awake, but long before, my nerves have already done so. From the darkness of my hotel room, I grope for the light switch and stumble into the bathroom. In the shower sits a blue bottle of special medical soap that I must wash several times with before we head to the hospital. It stinks on my now pink and slimy skin while I stand there shivering, patiently waiting to be able to turn the hot water back on.  To-day, my life will change forever.

In the dreary, but warm, Richmond days in early 2008, there was this recurring pain. It had troubled me a few months before, but had come and gone quickly. This time it persisted; on and on, and for weeks. Each Monday, I’d wake up and think “This will be the week that this terrible pain finally subsides!”. Each Friday was worse than the previous Monday.

Sitting became intolerable. Driving impossible. Every part of my life became increasingly more difficult. I discovered a rare neurological abnormality online called Pudendal Nerve Entrapment. “Was this it? It seemed to be? Surgery? I’ll need surgery? On my ass!?”

The warmth and greenery of April was upon us and I finally saw my Doctor. He suggested sitting on a cushion. You know, one of those donut cushions elderly people always seem to be carrying around for one reason or another. Within a few days, there was liberation. All of the fiery parts of me that were constantly screaming in pain began to wimper and finally, quiet all-together. It was as if someone poured the coolest, most majestic aloe vera inside of me and there was nothing but pure bliss to be had.

A few weeks later, I drove to Iowa for a wedding, with stops in Pittsburgh and Bloomington-Normal on the way. The entire trip was a glorious affair. I felt nothing out of the ordinary. Life was finally back to the way it should be; a 27 year old with chronic nerve pain isn’t someone you often encounter.

In May, I moved from Church Hill to the Fan. Something happened that Sunday. There was pain again. Then a week later, I fell off a trampoline at a friend’s house. The fire again raged through my body. For months, I was essentially disabled. I couldn’t sleep or eat. I moved back to Pennsylvania and into my mom’s townhouse. I obsessed over PNE message boards. Everyone there shared my misery. The things I read kept me from sleeping at night. I went on over the counter sleep meds. I was barely human anymore.

Life eventually normalized over the next four-and-a-half years. Despite the ridiculous pain, I adjusted. I couldn’t afford the astronomical medical costs for testing and surgery. It was far off in the future, but not too far, I hoped. Finally, in the fall of 2011, I was approved for insurance for pre-existing conditions.

The countdown to Houston began.

Everything is blurry and there’s a strange pain on the left side of my ass. “Where am I? Can I have my phone?”. I look at it, but nothing makes sense. I lay it on my chest and exclaim “I can’t read this! Please take a picture!”. Betty obliges and they wheel me into my recovery room.

PNE Surgery Prep

I feel amazing. Aside from some weird tingly feelings on my non-affected side, there is no pain! 

“Holy shit, I’ll be playing hockey by April!”.

Tuesday, December 11, appx 9am.

I’m nervously pacing around Dr. Ansell’s waiting room. The pain has begun to return and today is the day we fly home. We finally are taken back and he is happy with the prognosis. He tells us that a majority of patients who feel no pain immediately following surgery have near full or full recoveries by 12 months. I am elated and so is Betty.

It’s been 100 days since Dr. Ansell sliced my SS and ST ligaments, freed my entrapped nerve and placed it into fatty tissue that should protect it while it heals. Despite my initial feelings of relief, he warned that there would be many bad days ahead – and there have been. More than I can count. Yesterday, day 99, may have been the worst. But I look forward to warm spring days and the year ahead, and hopefully, by this time next year, I’ll be back on the hockey rink.