It’s been a week since my back trouble starting kicking up again, but I feel like I’ve aged 20 years.
I can barely walk, it kills me to sit at a chair for any length of time, and the only way I can get relief from the hideous pain that radiates up my shin is to stretch out flat on the floor like a corpse in a murder movie.
I’m a prisoner in my own home.
The simplest movements have become a struggle. Getting out of bed or walking to the kitchen takes forever, as I have to lean against the wall every few steps and let the pain subside.
Walking down from my third floor apartment to get the paper is nothing short of torture and I have to sit down on the steps several times on the way back up because it hurts so goddamn much.
My sister has climbed another notch higher toward sainthood by bringing me food and thus keeping me from starving.
I had to take car service into Manhattan on Wednesday to see my back specialist and as I sat there in waiting room, racked with pain, worrying about my health, my job, and my future, I had this overpowering urge to call my mother.
I was actually reaching for my cell phone, even though she’s been gone for more than 10 years now. That’s what I always did when I was frightened or upset—I called Mom.
I would’ve given anything to hear her voice for a few seconds, so I could tell her my problems and listen as she says that everything will be okay.
The doctor gave me some meds and told me to come back this week. I have one more day left on the prescription and to be honest, I haven’t seen much of an improvement.
Calling on the Hotline
I went by the office long enough to pick up my laptop and frighten my co-workers with my unsteady walk. I’m going to try working from home and see how that works out.
I went through this misery last year, but then the period of acute pain only lasted a few days. I only missed one day of work and, after meds and physical therapy, I was back to normal in eight weeks. It’s much worse this time and that’s making me nervous.
Every time I start to feel a little bit better, the pain surges through my leg again, reminding me that this ain’t over yet.
I look at my gym gear, which I haven’t touched in over a month, and it feels like I’ve crossed some kind of line here, that I’m never going to be the same. I know that age creeps up on us all, but I’m not ready to shoot straight into senior citizenry just yet.
I’m trying to learn something from this experience, to get something more than just grief out of this torture.
I think of all the times when I decided to sit at home on my rear end and watch TV or screw around on the Internet when I should have been out amongst humanity. If I ever get out of this mess, I’m going to change that habit.
I hope my specialist will have some good news for me. If the meds don’t work then my other options include cortisone shots or---God, help me—surgery, which I’m doing my best to avoid.
I’ll do what the doctor tells me to do and hopefully get back to normal. And I’m going to keep my cell phone handy just in case I have the urge to make a special call.