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 to 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 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.