12.02.2014

I'm Sorry

Odd title to the post, I know. But I feel I owe you an apology.

You. My friends. My family. My co-workers. The random person in the check-out line I used to joke with for no reason other than I was trying to figure out why you were buying a lawn chair, Dr. Pepper, and a box of condoms (said with a British accent) at 2:47 in the morning.


I'm not going to lie and I'm not going to sugar coat it. This shit with my neck is kind of fucking with me. It started a little over a year ago. The diagnosis (after much physical therapy) was that I had arthritis in my neck (between the C5 and C7). And that since, I could not take Ibuprofen, there really wasn't much in the way of any kind of temporary or long term relief I could expect.

A thin veneer of pain enveloped me.

Later, my index fingers started twitching. Resting tremors is what it seemed to be based on my limited medical training. I tried to avoid WebMD (because everything there usually leads you to something fatal or incurable). My quest to figure out what was going on with my digits led me to Parkinson's. Or Menopause. But Parkinson's seemed the more likely candidate (in a fucked up sort of way).

I went back to the doctor. The pain in my neck (no...not a person...the literal pain in my neck) rides at about a steady 4 out of 10 on most days. Not debilitating, but enough to let me know shit ain't right.

I went to see a orthopedic surgeon. He ordered an MRI. I got one of those. I later found out the Cervical MRI is one of the more difficult ones there is. Because really....you try laying there and not swallowing or moving or talking for a series of 8 4-minute stretches while you're wedged in to a torpedo tube. And apparently it only works if someone is backing all around the tube with a sledgehammer in some kind of rave-induced club kid hyper techno.

Yeah...so...the MRI revealed two bulging disks with bone spurs of moderately serious severity.  I was told that surgery was the best option, but that I was welcome to try a steroid shot if I didn't want to have surgery right away.

I had the shot. 45 minutes of a needle in my spine. Bent over like an extra in Caligula.  And when I was done, the doc (different doc) gave me these words of wisdom....
Because of where this is, I won't do another shot. It's too dangerous.

Oh...and also, apparently because it's the neck, they don't have lidocaine in with the steroid...so I didn't even get the few hours of temporary relief I was promised.

The shot didn't help. Well...maybe it did. It might  have reduced the swelling some. The twitches aren't as prevalent and there's only tingling in my fingers sometimes.  I'd say the pain is back to where it was about 6 months ago. Which is to say, a constant reminder that something is kind of fucked up with my back.

I'm at the crossroads of 'this sucks' and 'what the fuck do I do next?'

I think I still want to try acupuncture. But I am acutely aware that it will only alleviate the pain. It won't make the bone spurs go away.

Which leads me back to surgery.

I'm not looking forward to surgery.  Last time I had major surgery was in 1997. And even though my marriage was on the rocks, there was at least someone there to take care of me.

Yeah. I'm scared.

I'm scared of the surgery. If it works--awesome. But my luck in that area hasn't been stellar.

I'm scared that if I get surgery on my neck, I'm not going to be able to sleep on my back. Which is going to mess with my whole Sleep Apnea CPAP thang.

Most of all....I'm scared of waking up in the middle of the night, in pain and not being able to do anything about it.

I've had it happen. It sucks.

So...I'm sorry. If you find that you have to remind me that you were 'just kidding' ...or that something you said was just to get me to smile.

I'm sorry. I'm in pain-management mode. And I'm finding when I'm in pain management mode, I'm a little more serious than I ever was. And I tend to want to just get things fixed or resolved.  Please keep in mind that I'm looking at things through a veil of 'holy shit can my neck please stop hurting for one fricking minute' and it's clouding how I would normally view the world.

It's not me. And I know that.  

I just want to stop hurting so I can go back to laughing and loving life again.

so...um...yeah.

-A.T.

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