Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Injury - A New Challenge

I will never know how one can love something so much and then allow the many aspects of like to somehow distract you to the point that you just move on. Once I lost the blog I then slowly lost my grip on my weight loss journey which eventually let me "Starting Over". I had intended on picking up my blog from my new starting point but before I could do that my life kinda hit an unforeseen bump that left me in a new and vulnerable place.

"Me @ Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center"

So as you can see I ended up in the Hospital but before I go into detail on how I ended up there I made sure to underline exactly where the Hospital was located. I MADE IT TO HOLLYWOOD!

Now that I have that wonderful bit of info out of my system I can move onto the not so good stuff that has me writing a new chapter in my blog titled "The Injury - A New Challenge". I have been in Hollywood for about two months now and it has been awesome. I moved into a wonderful building that I share with a few hardworking and kind locals in addition to a handful of visiting Japanese Students with limited English skills and they are kind as well. I will leave the details of my living arrangements for another journal entry, they deserve one dedicated to their awesomeness with a not so undermining title. Anyhow, I really enjoy living here and I had been very active in my pursue of  building a foundation so that I may chase my dream and get into acting. I joined the wonderful Lifebook Playhouse led by the always inspiring Allen Levin and brought to life by the dreams and talent of the students that call Lifebook home. It so hard to not just write about my amazing house mates or this perspective altering Playhouse and I do promise to get into that but for now I will leave it at that and move onto this New Challenge of mine. 

On 05/13/2015 I found myself on Day 3 of my first week at then gym after slightly more than 2 months hiatus. I had hit it hard the previous two days and I knew that due to my legs being still very much in noodle mode and a few select areas of my arms being sore. I had decided to make it a quick workout and focus on just a few workouts that would make my struggle to find parking worth my effort. After doing my stretching I searched for a squat rack or leg press to warm up my sore legs but that was a bust as they where all occupied. I took that as life telling me to give the legs a break and to just knock out my workout that would be focused on my back. I located an unoccupied bench press and threw on some 45's so I can do 1 set of Deadlifts which would consist of 5 lifts. I got the bar onto the floor without any problem and I stretched out a bit more before practicing my form. I had spent the entire day searching for and reading articles so that I can fully grasp the form and avoid injury. I felt confident to say the least. 

Lift one was flawless as where the two that followed and I felt very good about my form and overall dedication to focus on weight lifting as apposed the the cardio that led me to a tremendous amount of success many months ago. Lift four was not flawless, as I locked my back I felt a burning feeling in my lower back and it was not the good "burn" they tell you to feel when you work out. I was stuck holding 135lbs as I was scared to move because I new that burning feeling was not going to be something to just went away and I did not want to cause any further damage. After a few seconds that felt like a lifetime I decided to take a few steps over to the bench where I could rest the bar without having to bend down. A short squat later had me no longer holding the weight and feeling my back, it was very sore to the touch which again confirmed my feeling....I new this would not be good. I made my way to my car and as I gingerly walked up the steps I felt the burning feeling spread and my back begin to tighten. Once I got home I jumped in a hot shower with the hopes that I may have just pulled a muscle and that the hot water would loosen it up. I went to bed and hoped for the best. 

I awoke about 2am with an urgent need to use the restroom so I attempted to role over and a pain that began at my lower back spread from head to toe. It was the worst pain I can ever remember feeling and just like that I was no longer able to move. I laid in my bed as my pain settled from a horrible and  tear inducing 10 to a very much more pleasant 9. You may think there is no big difference from 10 to 9 but I can assure you that there is. 10 not only paralyzed me but it left me in the most vulnerable position of not knowing what to do next. It had me second guessing every decision that led me not being able to move and had me hatting myself from moving so far away from home and my family. The pain lasted long enough for me to wish the pain away in exchange to whatever and not caring about anything but finding a solution to this agony. At a 9 I was a bit more rational and able to remind myself that my God would never put me in a situation that I could not endure and overcome. I wish that I could say that at a 10 I was able to suck it up and figure it out but I could not and kudos to those that can go through that and have a clear mind.

As I laid in my bed trying not move because any movement would have me back at a 10 which would leave me back at square one in regards to being able to figure this out. About 45 minutes into laying I decided that I needed to get onto my feet and get the pressure off of my back. This to me seemed like a great idea since my cell phone was on my desk which was about 5 feet from where I was laying. My first attempt had me slide my left leg off of my bed and use that as leverage to get the rest of my body up. Unfortunately that resulted in my making it into a sitting position and I would call this pain 10+ and thus I was on my knees and begging the 10+ to turn back into now preferred 10. As I was on my knees I supported my self with my left hand holding onto my bed frame and my right hand placed on my night stand. The pain did settle back into a 10 after about 15 minutes but I was still not able to move from my kneeling position. So I did what I thought to do best in the position I was in, I began to pray.

I began my prayer like I always do, I thanked the lord for always being with me and filling my with the holy spirit. I made it clear that I knew that it was because of his grace and all that his son Jesus Christ gave to this world that I had the ability to live the life that I have lived. I asked him to continue to guide me and to watch over my family, friends and to allow for opportunities for them to accept him in their lives. I finished off like I always did, I requested to the strength to endure all and the ability to overcome and continue on the path that he has me on. In Jesus name I prayed, Amen. 

Once I completed my prayer I kinda chuckled because I knew that a year ago if I found myself in a similar position I do not think I would have been praying. I wished that I did not have to go through this to see my growth spiritually but it was needed as I gave me peace of mind and a moment of clarity. At this point the pain was back down to a manageable 9 and I was able to lift myself high enough so that I could roll back onto my back. The pain shot back up to a 10 but I was counting my blessings that I did not hit that 10+. I laid for about an hour before I decided that I needed to get to the ER asap and given the fact that my support system was a good 1+ away I new I was on my own. In hindsight I should have called for a house mate and then called 911 which would have led to an ambulance being dispatched and all would have been better sooner. Unfortunately I did not. I made another attempt to get to my feet, this time I used both my legs and my left arm as support to get up. I got to a semi sitting position and the pain was still at a 9 so I got to my feet and them my back seized up and I found myself holding my self up via my dresser and felling that not so good 10 pain. It did not last long but I was scared to walk the five feet to my phone due to the idea of falling and then being stuck on the phone. After about 30 minutes I took my first step and eventually got to my desk and then decided that if I could make it to the restroom that I would get myself to the ER.

I felt relieved that I was able to hold my bladder long enough to have the staisfiying feeling of going pee in the rest room. I shuffled back into my room and slipped my running shoes on half way and I grabbed my wallet, keys, and cellphone w/ charger and headed out to my car. I live upstairs which was something I did not consider and the journey down stairs took about 20 minutes and it hurt bad but not bad enough to stop me. The pain turned into a numbing ache which I call an 8 and I new that was my chance to get going. I got into my car and the sitting position was much more bearable than I thought it would be but I give credit to the numbing pain I had going on. It was a short drive to Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, the walk from the parking lot was longer than the actual drive. Once I got in I was seen in the Triage which went quick, the nurse was young and very attractive. She had her hair up and little to no make up which I always found attractive and she was very nice to me. She asked me to sit so she can take my vitals and I asked her if she wanted to see me cry? She looked at me confused and then giggled after she looked at the document I had previously filled out that stated that I had sever back pain. She quickly took my vitals as I stood against the was and she assured me that she would do her best to get me a room to be scene. She sent me back out to the waiting room and I felt comfortable knowing that she would do her best, I believed her. I stood next the security guard who argued with the homeless people who complained of any ache of pain that would allow them to stay in the warm sitting area and watch a little bit of TV. The Security guard checked on my frequently and apologized for the fakers who where delaying me from being scene. 

I didn't mind it as standing, it was much better than sitting and a millions times better than laying so I controlled my breathing and limited any sudden movements. I stood for almost an hour before a room became available and the very attractive nurse was true to her word and got me a room. I stood in the room with the gown that she left me with and I realized that changing was gonna be hard. I was able to get my shift off and the gown on but that was about it. I was still wearing my shoes half on and had my basketball shorts on, how happy I was that I chose to not sleep in my undies. The Doctor came in and checked me out, he said I needed to lay down in order for him to get me some meds. I told him I could not and then he very coldly told me "no meds for your then" and walked out. I was angry but that lasted long enough for me to remember that it was very early in the morning and as much as I wanted this to be Sacred Hearts Hospital from SCRUBS it was not and I was sure this Doctor was tired. I was able to get into a very painful sitting position on the bed but then I was stuck, I could not move. My back once again locked up and any sudden movement would leave me in that 10 range of pain. Another nurse came in and just looked at me for a second before asking if I wanted medication. I let him know what the Doctor had said and he responded with a "Let me see what I can do". He cam shortly after to find me in the same painful sitting position and gave me to very painful shots. Damn those shots hurt but they acted quick enough to finally give me enough pain relieve to get me into a laying position. The pain medication did little more to relieve the pain and I was admitted into the hospital shortly there after. 

I had to wait in the ER and was given a new nurse, she was a bit older but also very pretty and took very good care of me. I did learn one thing, I apparently have a thing for nurses. She got me some better meds that kicked in very quickly and I felt good and it was a feeling that would only last about 2 hours which sucked because I could only get the medicine every four hours. Once I was getting ready to be moved to a room in the hospital I asked the nurse if she would be coming with me and sadly she said "No, I belong in the ER" with a smile. (I need to send her a Thank You Note, she was the one that brought me the pain and mental relief that no one else could. I know it was her job but damn she was great at it.) 

What followed was a very long day full of pain and questions and then more pain and then test which led to more questions. I had CT Scan before leaving the ER which made it clear that I had a back issue, they could not tell how bad so an MRI was requested. The MRI did not come until much later in the day and when it did I hated it. Long story short I was barely fit into the machine and the whole time I was in there I was thankful that I did not have any claustrophobic issues because if I did that test would have killed me. As I laid in the machine that I hated the fact that they needed to lay a towel over me because I was touching the walls of the machine which would not allow for a clear picture. I hated that I allowed myself to gain all the weight I had struggled to lose and that I couldn't even say that I was back at square one because lets face it, I was not. I was so far into my thoughts that the test flew by and I a few painful movements later I found myself back in my room and my not so good hospital food waiting for me. Once the test results came back the next day I was given a surgical consult and the offer to have surgery done the day after tomorrow. I had a 8mm Herniated Disk in the lower portion on my spine which was putting pressure on my sciatic nerve and thus needed to be repaired. I dont know if it was my medicated mindset but I understood that I had the option of Surgery or Physical Therapy. I was told that due to my weight that it would be a difficult recovery and when I asked for options I was told that "It was up to me to forgo the surgery and do PT". I just remember thinking that the idea of someone touching my spine was just not something I was ok with. 

I never actually met with my Doctor, after bypassing the surgery I was told that I was being given medication and then discharged. I requested to know if my car was still located where I parked it and then asked why my Doctor never came to speak to me. I asked these questions multiple times before pretty much refusing to leave until they where answered. Finally after being giving my medication and told again that I was being discharged I got a phone call from my Doctor. He went over my options and avoided the few times I asked him why he did not come and see me in person. He repeated that from here on out it would be my primary Doctor who would make the calls and that I could no longer remain in the Hospital since I decided to skip the surgery. We went over that option again and then I ended the call a bit frustrated but happy that this issue would be placed in my primary Doctors hands and also that I was able to go home, in pain but nothing compared to the pain I was in...thanks to the drugs. Oh how I wish I never had to take these drugs, they are a slippery slope but I am confident in my ability to use them when I need to and avoid the overdose. (Just to be honest the day I got home I took an extra pain pill do the pain and felt better but worse if that makes any sense. I later felt like throwing up and could not getup without getting the spins...lesson learned.)

An Asian nurse comes in and I can tell that she does not speak to much English as she could not understand why I did not want to sit in the wheel chair. Then I was told that I had to as it was Hospital Policy so I sat in pain and she pushed almost making sure to over correct enough to make it hurt more than if she would of just hit the bump. Quickly I realize that she does not know where she taking me and I kept on repeating that I needed to go the ER as that's where I parked my car. After a nice long trip through the Hospital she pulls up to a door leading to the main street, I remind her that I needed to go the ER and that I had no idea where she had taken me. She tells me that she is going to check something and walks towards the double doors, as she is doing this I see that it says "NO RE-ENTRY" and call for her to stop. She walks out of the doors and they shut behind her, leaving her locked out of the hospital and me in a wheel chair that had the wheel lock on. I could not believe how bad my exit of this hospital was going and I was getting mad before I giggled at the idea that this actually occurred. My life had become a sitcom and a very interesting one at that, my giggling stopped once I had to reach behind me to release the wheelchair lock. It was painful and then it got worse as I had to role to the double door that had this sweet but silly nurse locked out. I got to the door and I could hear saying sorry over and over again and I put myself in her shoes and quickly realized that it was a mistake and as bad as I hurt, I knew she was hurting more. I opened the door and let her back in, I realized that the street was the main street and that I could walk down the sidewalk that led to the ER where my car was parked. At this point I had not had any pain medication for over 3 hours and I was starting to hurt. I knew I could tough it out a bit longer and was excited to get home and pop the pills that they had giving me. The nurse walked me to my car with her left hand lightly on my shoulder but still allowing me to guide because she still did not know where she was going. She assisted me into my car and then stood behind it for whatever reason and I could not back out. I was in pain from having to sit, stand, sit and this kind hearted women would not stop haunting me. Finally she moved and I was off. 

I got home took my pills and have been home ever since....some good days sprinkled between. My boss from worked checked in on me and wished me well, eventually so did some other coworkers. I like that my boss and lead are kind people in my life and I had no doubt that they where praying for my recovery. I have had a few Doctor appointments and some follow ups and will have some more and I hold out hope that I will be able to figure out an end game for all of this. My left leg is painfully numb and my back hurts, the sharp pain from sudden movement is at about a 7 but settles quickly. My roommates are helpful  and my family has been supportive. I hope to get back to work soon as the money is needed to cover all these Medical Cost but really I just hate laying around....I miss the people.

At the end I still cant help felling frustrated at the lonely feeling I have being here in East Hollywood without any actual support. No loved ones to hold my hand or keep me company and all this is my own creation. I chose to move to a city that allowed me to hope and work towards my dreams while sacrificing the support that one gets one they have loved ones near. I can honestly say I am alone in this city with no one near enough for me to reach out without burdening and I simply refuse to be that guy. The guy that left to chase a dream only to crawl back or need hand outs to get by due to issues that I cannot handle. I've played that part to many time in my life. I do not regret making the move but man I do miss my friends in Amargosa that took care of me without me even knowing and I do miss living so close to my family that they can wish me the best in person and not over the phone. Overall I know that I will overcome this setback and I will Never Settle and will continue to chase my dreams and build my life. If anything at all this injury did is just reminded me of what I had and how much I will always cherish it and how strong I am for being able to get by without it. 

There is so much I want to get across with this Blog Entry....

Just know that I am better for all of this and I will overcome The Injury and that I accept this New Challenge! 


*Any grammar, spelling or overall issue 
in this blog post are due to the medication :)


  1. So sorry you're hurting, Mr. Pico! Your attitude is terrific, though, and the same mindset you used to lose the weight will also help you recover from this injury. Remember, you only fail if you quit, and you clearly are not a quitter...therefore, you're a winner! :)

  2. I hate that it took this injury to get me back into this blog but I'll take it and run with it. Thank you so much for your positive words, they definitely carry weight with me. I hope all is well with you!

    **I start summer classes soon and will be gunning for a Degree in Journalism :)

  3. You're an inspiration! Hell from England!


Follow by Email