After six years of teaching in Yuma and our first born, red headed son, Zechariah, we decided to see if we could get jobs back in Michigan. After dozens and dozens of resumes were sent, we were offered teaching jobs in the rural village of Lakeview, Michigan. We settled in, laid down roots, joined a Free Methodist church, and had Jacob, boy number two.
I continued loving my job and every new group of fourth graders was my best class ever. In late fall of 2007, my legs began to ache deep in my bones. By Christmas, it was more prevalent. In the early spring, my legs and back were affected. I took a hot bath every night to help relax the muscles so I could sleep. By March, I was in constant pain and had been taking three ibuprofen every four hours, night and day for months. I had a fabulous student teacher in the fall of 07, but I was still really struggling to keep up physically with my job.
March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day, I realized that I couldn’t get up from my desk after school. My wife taught across the hall, so I called her on the phone and she came to help me stand.
“You’re going to E.R. right now!”
”No I’m not!”
“Yes, you are, so zip it!”
So, with much effort, we went to the local hospital were I was quickly admitted. My sedimentation rate was 364, the highest ever seen there or any other hospital in the area. A sedimentation rate is a general marker for pain. Average folks’ rate is around 14. I was asked to lie on my side in fetal position while the doctor performed a lumbar puncture, or spinal tap. I swear that needle was so long that she had to stand in the next room to begin the injection! This ER visit prompted various blood work for viral and bacterial infections, an alphabet soup of acronyms—EKG, EEG, MRI, CAT scan, and more. Mystery of mysteries, they could not know what to do with me, so they sent me home—where my spinal tap leaked, causing even more excruciating pain.
I continued to deteriorate and pass out with pain and be in such misery that two days later I had to be carried to the car, back to ER. The local hospital put me right on an ambulance to transfer me to a larger hospital in Grand Rapids. That ambulance ride was no more comfortable than riding in the back of a pickup truck! I was shocked at how rough it was!
Now that I was admitted to a huge hospital with lots of doctors and lots of answers, right?
Not so much.