Remember Billy Ray Cyrus and his “Achy, Breaky, Heart?” Well, I don’t have an achy, breaky, heart, but I do have an achy, breaky back. I can laugh about it now, but I sure wasn’t laughing when it first happened.
I thought someone had stabbed me, but there was no blood. The pain was excruciating. I kept thinking of all the things I needed to be doing, — like making dinner for the folks I’d invited to my home before I knew I was going to be cripple and lame.
I don’t even know what happened to my back. It could have been the box of books I lifted at work, or the table I took upstairs to make more room, or just stress. It could have been a lot of things.
I went to the Urgent Care Clinic. “Do you have any other back problems?” The doctor quizzed.
“Well, yes, I do, but it is hurting on the wrong side and hurts far worse than usual.”
“Does the pain go down your legs?”
“Well, as a matter of fact, it does”
“Any numbness or tingling?”
“How did you know?”
“We can do an X-ray.”
I certainly was not going to get any surgery done at the neighborhood convenience clinic. “I don’t think I want x-rays,” I stuttered.
“Okay, I’ll give you some pain medicine and muscle relaxants and you can follow-up with your own physician.”
That sounded good! DRUGS, at this point I needed some. At the pharmacy I asked the druggist if it would be okay to take the muscle relaxants and the pain medicine together.
“Well, it’s probably not a good idea,” he said. “You might end up falling on the dinner table and becoming the entertainment!” I was afraid of that.
Everyone seems to have an opinion about what to do for back problems. Four of five people have back pain at some time in life; therefore, everyone is an expert.
The surgery believers say, “Go a surgeon — get it fixed, and get it over with.” I’ll admit there are situations where the pain is so intense or the injury so serious that I think it must be surgically addressed. But what if I go through all the pain and trouble of surgery, and it still hurts?
“Get an epidural injection. My husband had one and it helped him!”
“Don’t have surgery for a slipped disc, only if it’s ruptured!”
“Get a massage, use a heating pad, use cold packs, take ibuprofen, get a waterbed, use a hot tub, try lineament.”
Now I’ve had back problems before, and I figured that if I could tolerate the pain for a while, it might go away. I also knew that people who have surgery do not always become pain free. In fact, most of the ones I know continue to have back problems after surgery.
My world revolved around crutches and pain pills. I later found that I should have been on bed rest in the early acute stage — not that I was able to go out dancing anyhow.
I decided to take my chances. After a week or two, I began to feel better. I gave up my crutches and got a cane. Canes are great! I highly recommend them. People open doors and are kind to you when you have a cane. I never knew if I reminded them of their grandmother, or if they were just being cautious about irritating someone with a potential weapon in their hand.
I’m pretty much okay now –- not jogging — but not in pain.
Please don’t tell me that pain is not an appropriate topic for a humor column. You wouldn’t want to cross me. I still have my cane, and I know how to use it.