Tuesday, May 02, 2006

You think that was painful?

Listening to: Old 97s, Drag It Up

A real Tom Cruise moment, that last post; having jumped on your couch and grinned toothily and jabbered incoherently about God-knows-what (I can't even remember what I wrote or even if I need to apologize to anyone), I seemed to have left a huge turd on the cushions after I pranced off stage to whisper praise to my alien overlords. Apparently, that last post was not nearly as entertaining - or funny - as I thought, judging by the whooshing sound heard in the caverns of the comment section.

'Metablogging' is never any fun but a necessary evil if I am to understand what works and what constitutes me playing to the back of the room (and the emergency exit). Not that such examination will prevent me from leaving a big, hairy, smelly one again on the furniture and in the future (I can guarantee I will and will do so too soon) but hopefully the level of suckitude with which I write will be kept to a bare minimum.

Painful as that last post was in its execution (I hate to consider the discomfort of reading it), the pain that greeted me when I got up this morning helped me put thoughts of a lousy post far behind me.

Back in late spring in 2000, I got hit with sciatica. "Hit" is hardly descriptive - "smashed in the spine with a sledghammer" comes a bit closer to capturing a fraction of the tooth-shattering pain.

I'd gotten a new oak desk, assembly required, on that day, a heavy mofo and I remember I'd been a little cavalier in getting the pieces propped up and put together. After work, I spent some time chasing Lilly around the yard, tossing her up in the air when I caught her, chasing and tossing for a good part of an hour. When we finally went upstairs, I felt a little discomfort in my lower back, a pain that quickly and exponentially worsened. Within a few hours, I knew I had to go to the ER but then pain was so excrutiating, I couldn't walk or even crawl to the car. My neighbor had to carry me downstairs and put me in my truck.

In the six years since then, I get some lumbar pain after doing strenuous work; a weekend of camping will result in a few days of lower-back discomfort (due to laoding and unloading gear). After the initial incident, my doctor told me, "That's the end of repetitive, heavy lifting for you," and his words were prescient. If I help a friend move, I have to bow out of the big stuff or else I'm asking for a couple days flat on my back.

However, this morning was the first time a flare-up arose from nowhere. Answering the alarm, I almost pissed myself when I blindly put my feet on the floor. Inconvenient, considering I had three kids to dress, feed, and get to school but a lack of convenience was the least of my worries; the flash of intense pain that radiated from my lower-back and down my thigh had every bit of my concentration rapt with "Ow! Ow! Ow!" I was tempted - very tempted - to get my sad ass down to the ER.

The two or three regulars here will not be surprised to know my children performed at a level above and beyond the call. They got dressed by themselves (I lay out their outfits the night before), fed themselves, and then, Daddy was able to drag himself and his brood into the car and drop the wee ones at school.

The rest of the day was spent on my back, in bed, dosed heavily with Advil and eventually, well enough to get the kid ohs from school, get dinner, bathe the brood and get them into bed. Still a back ache but nothing like my nightmare morning.

When my initial sciatica incident passed (I was put on anti-inflammatories, pain pills, and four days bed rest), I spent the next six weeks walking around like Quasimodo with tacks in his shoes, moving s-l-o-w-l-y, deliberately, every step feeling like someone was shoving a cold spike in my back. At that point, my doc said we might need to consider back surgery - interesting how docs say, "We need to consider" when "I" am the one thinking about going under the knife.

When I told co-workers about the doc's prognosis, someone recommended I see his accupuncturist. After all, he said, insurance covers it and if it works out, it'd beat surgery. Thinking about spending more than a week laying on my stomach pretty much convinced me it was worth a try, despite my skepticism.

The accupuncture worked. After two visits, the persistent pain was gone. My point here is that I wonder if sugery (back when I had insurance) wouldn't have been the best course of action. From everything I've read about chronic sciatic pain, re-alligning disks is the way to go. God bless my accuncturist, he made my pain go bye-bye but only for a moment. As I said, this thing goes on and on and on...

Don't even recommend I go to a Chiropractor; once you're into them in once, you're into them for life. I get the same sense of Accupuncturists. So-called "Alternative Medicine" sounds like pay-as-you-go but you get it until the day you die - and you die a lot sooner than if you see a real doctor.

If you say it's the karma I get for my previous, crappy post, I'd accept that. Fair enough. Considering it looks as though I'll eventually spend a week on my stomach, you can get your revenge.


Eileen said...

Poor baby, I feel your pain. Truly. My chiropractor crushed my sciatic nerve a few years ago. My discs are fine, the injury occurred further down, in my pelvic area. Acupuncture was the only thing that got me off months of Vicodin. I was able to stop being stupid, forgetful, and pukey. I still have a numb foot. I maintain that I would give breech birth to triplets before I'd go through that pain again. Massage helps, too, with the spasms.

Kiss, kiss.

landismom said...

Ohhhhhh. I had pregnancy-induced sciatica with my daughter and spent the last three weeks needing 20 minutes just to walk around the block. That was pretty awful. I'd hate to have the chronic version. Sorry to hear about your flare up.

karen m said...

Eep. Sciatica hurts - my mom has had it, and I suspect Evil Dad has it too. Mom swears that acupuncture was the thing that saved her.

Glad the kids did so well with it all! Feel better.

Anne said...

Well, I nearly wet myself reading the previous post, if that makes you feel any better.

As for the sciatica-shit. Sorry-I know that pain all-too-well. It really sucks trying to stand up and looking like you're 80 with one foot stuck in the grave behind you.

The chiropractor thing-yeah, sucky ones will have you there for life. My dad, on the other hand, was so good he'd fix you nearly once and done.

I wish he were still well enough to practice :(

Feel better, hon.

agog said...

Oh, I'm SO sorry. I know how much those suck. And a lot of people think you should just be able to shake it off or soemthing. I've found that if I take 5 or 10 minutes out of my day to do stretches for that area, but nothing too strenuous, I get a lot less flareups. I also notice that when I skip them for a while, I almost immediately go back to having problems. My doc told me they would help,a nd for once, he was right. Cause meds do very little for me except for pain management.

trusty getto said...

Sciatic, eh? DON'T do surgery, 'cause the only thing worse than sciatica is the pain you will feel when the doc botches it. Rest, take lots of anti-inflammatories, and stay away from the docs.

alala said...

Well I liked the last post, but I tend to be very lurky unless I can think of something more intelligent to say than "Heh. Funny." Which is not very often.

I had pregnancy sciatica too, and I thought it was the Worst Thing Ever, but you've enlightened me. Pushing a baby out my nethers was an extreme solution, but an effective one. Since you don't have that option, I guess you're screwed. Sorry, dude.