Oh, Goody.

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 1:36 pm

So Margaret’s guts are weaselificated, my cat just died of renal failure (okay, he died of a drug overdose, but if we didn’t do it the renal failure was not far behind), and now I appear to have turned up with more back problems. Oh, joy. These have not been the best few months for biological entities around the Hammond/Lenzer household. Y’all might want to avoid dropping by until we figure out what the hell’s going on around here. ❗

My back started hurting the morning that we decided to euthanize Scamper. I started my morning by stepping in a big, chilly puddle of cat pee (Scamp’s hind legs weren’t working well by that time, and he couldn’t make it into the cat box), then spending an hour or so doing cleanup work. I think that’s where the initial injury happened. So far my record on back injuries is, well, ignominious. I once strained by back lifting a two-by-four. (Actually the two-by-four was just the last straw; I had been lifting huge loads of boards all day in my capacity as lumber monkey for True Value Hardware. But my supervisor insisted on writing it up as, “injured back lifting two-by-four onto customer’s roof rack”. Good ol’ William; I wonder whatever happened to him? Hopefully he died pinned under a load of CDX siding.) Then I was out of work for a few days in Pullman after I blew out my back tying my shoe. Then there was the first “unofficial” disk injury which I sustained during the move from Pullman to Olympia. I think that was probably a bulging or ruptured disk, but we were too poor to get it properly diagnosed. I just waited it out, and eventually, the disc got bored of tormenting me and went home. Then there was the Official Ruptured Disc—for which I ended up having surgery—that occurred after I set down in a movie theater (Chow Yun Fat’s “The Replacement Killers”; pretty good flick, but not what I’d call back-breakingly good). I don’t remember the events surrounding my next back injury, but I took care of that one by undergoing cortisone shots to my spine and losing some weight. Which brings us to Friday morning, the day my back went out while cleaning up cat urine.

For a big strapping lad, I have a really wussy spine.

There is the possibility that I am misinterpreting what I’m feeling. A muscle spasm that clamps down on one’s sciatica will probably exert much the same kind of painful influence on the nerve as would a bulging synovial sac. Hard to tell from out here which is the culprit. But everything I’m feeling seems really familiar. I can sit just fine, but standing up straight causes nasty little pains to zing down my right leg. My stride is affected because bringing my right leg as far forward as I can normally causes pain as well. My sleep is affected because, weirdly enough, lying down is one of the more painful long-term positions. Last time we went through this I spent more than a few nights sleeping in a recliner. Damn….maybe we shouldn’t have given that away….

For any of my eight or so readers who may be experiencing disc problems of their own—and for anyone who might happen upon these words by chance whilst trawling the search engines for information on the subject—let me offer something from my own experience that literally saved my career as a desk jockey: the Herman Miller Aeron Chair. During my previous disc injury I found myself unable to sit at my desk for more than about twenty minutes at a time, and I was so distracted by my pain that my concentration suffered greatly. I had a pretty good office chair at the time that allowed me to change the height and forward/back angle of the seat and the height and angle of the seat back, but no position was comfortable for longer than a few minutes. I bought my Aeron chair from an online reseller called Sit For Less, whom I recommend because they gave me good service and they support NPR. These things ain’t cheap, but purchasing mine was the difference between being able to sit for ten minutes in relative discomfort and sitting for eight to ten hours with almost no pain. Of course I won’t say that your results will be the same, but this product was a life (and job) saver for me. The same is turning out to be true this time around.

I have often said both here and in the fleshworld that big white guys like myself are the Chevy K Blazers of the human race: we’re too big, consume too many resources, and have shitty repair records. I enjoyed my bulky-dude status for many years in my youth, but at this point in my life I’d be more than happy to trade my current body in for one of the more efficient, space-saving models. Hell, much more of this and I’ll be glad to beta-test the first generation of brain-in-a-jar rigs, provided it comes with an Ethernet port. 😛

Anywho, in the interim between now and the day I get fitted for my sleek, powerful-yet-efficient Yamaha-manufactured robot body, I figure I can live with the hand I’ve been dealt. As things are right now, I am in less pain than I was after my last round of cortisone shots, at which time I had made the decision that I would rather live with my condition than risk another surgery and the potential complications thereof. I don’t regret having had the surgery; at the time I was in constant, serious pain and more or less bedridden. The loss of some innervation in one leg was worth the immediate relief. But barring a similar situation, a second surgery is out of the question.

More on this story as it develops.

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