Yeah, I’m a little late in getting this piece to those of you who read it. I apologize.
Truth is, I haven’t much felt like writing. Perhaps if I explain, you’ll understand.
I have several health problems that I’m dealing with. Usually, only one manifests itself at a given time. It might be the diabetic neuropathy, which can cause your feet to burn – there are no flames but it sure feels like there are. Often, the afflicted endures an especially exhilarating experience, when your feet feel as if there are ulcers, or perhaps boils, on the bottom of the feet. There are no real sores , but it sure feels like there are. Or it might be the arthritic knee that starts throbbing , not allowing too much use. Or perhaps the worst of all - spinal stenosis – shows up and raises hell for a few days. Stenosis is a strangling of the spinal column, which pulls the walls of the column into the nerves. Yes, there are real nerves there, and it sure feels like it.
There are medicines, palliatives really, that help … sometimes, but not particularly. Lyrica helps the feet. It really does take the pain away … but one of the side effects – Oh, those side effects! – is that it makes the user gain weight. I quit Lyrica for awhile and lost thirty pounds. When the feet started to hurt again I got back on Lyrica for a couple of weeks and gained ten pounds back! Meanwhile, Dan McManus, the realty guy, told me about Amitriptiline, which helps. I haven’t noticed any upward movement on bathroom scales, as yet. Wait and see.
When the knee is throbbing, there isn’t much that can be done. Just sit still and watch whatever ballgame comes on. Same with the stenosis. These two problems are only, sort of, fixable. The knee will keep getting worse until replacement becomes the only option. I dread the day. Unfortunately, the back is a different story. The last neurosurgeon I saw, Dr. CW Kung of Elmira, said he couldn’t fix what was wrong there. Same with the Laser Spine Institute. They and Dr. Kung both said there is too much to fix. Ouch. That hurts. The last thing you want your doctor to say is, “I can’t help you.” My questions were all answered months later when yet another neurosurgeon, while holding my MRI up to examine it, said, “Wow! I’ve never seen so much arthritis in one back, that’s for sure!” This was the guy who shot me down for getting one of those spine stimulators. He said there was so much arthritis, there was no room for the stimulator! Tired of getting bad news from neurosurgeons, I stopped going to doctors … except for the optician, the dermatologist, and the cardiologist I saw last week, I’m doing well.
I know what some of you are thinking: You’re thinking, aren’t you, that all the stuff that caused me to ail did not stop me from walking? You see? I know what you are thinking. Let me see if I can change your mind. It is true, is it not, that when you ail in a hurting way, you look for a comfortable place to sit. Once found, you thoughtlessly throw the family cat from that place and fall in to it. It feels so good to you, this comfy spot, that you swear you’ll never move from it.
Suddenly, you remember there is a term paper due tomorrow. You put it off all semester, but your time is up, and you have not even researched it. Not only that, Mrs. Battles, (or as you usually call your senior class teacher, Old Battleax)told the whole class that if the term paper was, for some godly or ungodly reason not turned in, or if it were not of senior class quality, that person would not receive his or her diploma.
“Oh, my God,” you say, “That woman, the Battleax, is ruining my sick days – hell, my whole sick weekend.”
You hatch a plan. You call your best friend, a very smart girl, and putting on your very best sick voice, you ask her to research the Battle of Fredericksburg, a Civil War battle. And could she do it tonight, and you yourself will write the paper tomorrow when you’re feeling better.
And you think you won’t forgive me for turning in this late paper? Of course you will. You been here before, haven’t you. By the way, is your paper ready to hand in? I’d bet you are all in the library tonight. Whadya bet?