Pain in the Back

One thing about farming alone/single is you gotta buck up. Of course all farmers have to do this anyway, but I don’t have a hubby or a farm hand who can do chores when I’m not feeling good. 

Few weeks ago I bucked some logs on a hill and loaded them into the truck. Later that day I moved a bunch of dry wall.

I don’t believe in taking nice selfies.


The next day my back hurt. I mean, it didn’t feel like I pulled a muscle but I assumed that’s what it was. The pain was intense. Like, I was dizzy from pain intense. For the next week I gobbled up pain killers just to get by. It responded to the pills great so I shrugged it off and kept going. It finally went away after a week. 

Then I developed a fever. My coworker who sits 3 feet away from me stayed home with a cold the week before. I must have gotten her virus I guessed. But this fever…it responded to the aspirin, but when the aspirin wore off I felt my body shutting down. 

I kept going to work since we were down two people and behind. My boss encouraged me to try and do overtime…but I wasn’t functional. 

At night I sweated through the sheets. I drank water quarts at a time. No appetite. I woke up laying in bed wishing someone could feed the animals. Maybe the animals will forgive me, understand, sense that I’m sick and that’s why I’m taking so long feed them. Halfway through morning chores I was out if breath. Still, I have to go on. The neighbors are elderly, I don’t want to ask them tocarry the 40# buckets of Feed to the pigs. It is just easier if I do it. 

So I did.

But I was tired.

Finally at work I called it quits. The back pain was back. I was becoming hysterical in my mind. when I asked a co-worker to feel my head and i really had a fever for the first time difference looked me with concern and acknowledged I was very sick. I cried. I don’t have keep proving I’m tough. I told the boss I couldn’t do my closing shift and left.

I immediately crawled in bed sweating my way through the sheets drinking water like a camel at an oasis. I slept.

Midnight I woke up. The diagnosis hit me: kidney infection. The back pain, the fever, the excessive water I was drinking (already at half a gallon that night)…it all was coming from my kidneys. 

Calling someone to me would take 45 minutes to get to me, then 45 minutes to a hospital. To much time. I ate more aspirin and drove myself to the ER. I walked in and told them I had a kidney infection. My asprin had reduced my fever so I was a normal temp. I asked to do the urinalyses, came back with blood and lucyotes so they agreed with my diagnosis and started me on antibiotics.

I drove home, slept for a few hours then got up to feed and water the critters. Can’t not feed them. 

I spent almost three days in bed. I believe I was on the edge of major problems when I figured out was up (kidney failure or sepsis are common results of an untreated infection) It was harder to get up and do chores once i accepted I was sick. The antibiotics left me nauseous and unwilling to eat.

So where did the kidney infection come from? Well. I didn’t take antibiotics soon enough. I had a bad UTI and I treated it naturally with cranberry juice, citric acid and lots of water. Ate things that help with UTIs, but no antibiotics. The pain from the UTI went away around the same time as my back pain started. Yes, the infection simply moved up farther in my body and became far worse. In on much stronger antibiotics since I didn’t nip it in the bud. Lesson learned. This is also important in livestock: better to solve a problem early on than wait until it’s a bigger problem. 

It’s been a few weeks getting over it all. Today was my first big homemade meal in weeks. Everything but the milk in the tomato bisque is home grown. Hopefully I’ve got my appetite back. 

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4 thoughts on “Pain in the Back

  1. tarnegolita

    Oh my!! You are very brave! I’m not even a farmer but I couldn’t manage the pet zoo without my backup. I have done the same once with a UTI, trying to be all holistic about it! Was not clever. Fortunately it didn’t spread to my kidneys though, that sounds nasty. Hope you’re feeling better!! šŸ’š

    Reply
    1. erikamay85 Post author

      Yes, in doing better but it’s taken a long time to get back on my feet. Never doing that again! I’m going to her myself a general care practitioner so I finally have a doc I can go to

      Reply
  2. sally

    Thanks for your honesty and warts and all approach to farming as a single woman. I have had a similar experience of getting an infection and fever, I remember being so feverish that I lost track of how sick I was, simply dosing myself up with asprin enough to feed the aminals and change the wet feverish sheets. I think I may have been like that for about three or four days before a friend dropped by, she saw how sick I was and took me to the hospital, I was there for a few days so I really needed help with the animals. Like you I have good neighbours who I dont like to ask too much of, but the reaility is that as a single woman farmer you have to ask for help sometimes. My sister who lives far away sent me a thermometer in the post along with a note of what is a regular temp and what is a fever, it was a sweet gesture and I keep it and use it if I am feeling out of sorts as I dont think I can trust myself to realise how sick I can get. I am glad you are feeling better.

    Reply
    1. erikamay85 Post author

      Lol, All my thermometers end up in animals rectums. I never took my own temp. I went to a follow up appointment and since I didn’t have a fever when I got to the ER after my pain killers reduced it and I didn’t have one when I went to a follow up appointment the doctor said I didn’t have a kidney infection. I never had a fever. It was all made up and in my head. Can you believe it?

      Reply

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