Monday, April 12, 2010

So Much for Sit-Down Comedy

Want a challenge? Trying saying Socks suck ten times fast.

Not enough of a challenge? Try doing it while putting on your socks--without sitting down or bending forward.

Forget the heartbreak of psoriasis. Welcome to the suffering of sciatica. Or, as my college roommate so helpfully put it, isn't that something our grandmothers used to get?

That would explain all that time her grandmother spent on the kneelers at Our Lady of Perpetual Suffering. Because sitting pretty much is perpetual suffering, as in the most painful experience I can have, these days.

The more comfortable the chair, the more it hurts. If Torquemada had access to Lazy Boys, he could have stamped out Judaism and Islam in about ten minutes, provided all the Semites were also Sciatic.
I have actually stood my way across America, on any number of commercial flights in the past several months. The worst was the one from New Orleans to Denver, because to quite literally add insult to injury, the New Orleans airport was bedecked with banners for the AAOS conference. You know, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

If only any of them had been able to get so much as a Swiss Army knife through airport security, I would have been happy to have them cut me open right there on the Cinnabon counter.

Then there was the hotel room in San Francisco. I mean, I'm sure it was just random coincidence that the staff put me in the disabled suite. Unfortunately, the disabled suite is for someone who can't stand up. Not little ol' Macaronimaniac, who can't sit down. Try crawling onto that low-riding commode without bending, I dare you.

hey make all sorts of accommodations for people who need to be seated. But nothing for someone who needs to stand, my friend Rachel commiserated. You should protest!

Which maybe I would, except that this is definitely not the week for me to hold a sit-in.

Or even a lie-down. Sleeping hurts. Unless I take Vicodin and Flexeril, in which case sleeping is only mildly uncomfortable. And something I want to do twenty hours a day.

Of course, everybody is being very nice. They are giving me all kinds of advice. Because being told what to do when anything you do causes deep physical pain, is apparently meant to at least relieve you of the need to decide which self-inflicted agony to pursue.

Although some people swear by chiropractors, I have avoided them, believing they are generally considered to be quacks. Of course, I think the folks most likely to promulgate this belief are physical therapists.

Physical therapists, I am learning, are quacks who assign homework. Basically, the PTs I have seen (a mere four, though I'm sure you've also got one to recommend) have banned me from yoga and bicycling and anything else I might want to do. And then they give me exercises that are suspiciously like yoga. Except prescribed by someone you pay a helluva lot more to than your yoga teacher.

Then they ask whether I am better yet, and when I am not, they tell me I need to come for more physical therapy.

We have you try something, and if it helps the pain, you keep doing it. If not, we try something else, explained physical therapist number two, who I'm pretty sure was wearing a Wehrmacht uniform under her Adidas track suit.

I can't imagine how I would manage without this level of professional support. I couldn't possibly figure that much out on my own. Not as long as I'm holding onto this wet fork I've stuck into an electric socket.

Which reminds me, someone did just recommend an acupuncturist she swears will do the trick.

The most disturbing part of all of this is that nobody really knows what causes the pain. Supposedly, it has something to
do with some part of my spine which can only be described through an analogy to a jelly donut.

So basically, the puff has gone out of my pastry. Leaving big gobs of raspberry filling all over my nerves.

Not to mention gobs of toothpaste on my shirt front.

I'm serious about the toothpaste. You try expectorating a mouthful of dentrifice without bending forward. Makes the socks seem like a walk in the park.

And it's not like I can put anything in the washing machine, cursed low-water Euro-eco front loader that I have.

So if you notice someone standing up on public transit, or lying down in the middle of a meeting, wincing so badly you can hardly make out her soiled shirt front, please come over and say hello.


Anonymous said...

Ouch, Lois, I'm so sorry. Who knew the decline after 40 would come so fast. I'm scheduled for cervical spine surgery 6/2/10 and just found out that our dear friend, Colleen, is scheduled for a hip replacement 5/28/10. Hope it doesn't come to the knife for you, though I did like the Cinnabon visual. -- Katie

Macaroni said...

Thanks, Katie. As another friend put it, it's like the warranty just ran out, and the parts start breaking. Good luck with the surgery. Perhaps you and Colleen and I can get some sort of group discount.

Mika said...

I'm so sorry to hear so belatedly about your sciatica (& to derive such pleasure from your hilarious description of your suffering). Somehow I just clicked over to you today, & your latest post linked to this. I had a YEAR of it in the mid '90s! Walked with a cane (when, in fact, walking at all) for much of that year. OMG, sneezing, coughing, brushing my teeth, getting into a car, lifting open a window -- I can't tell you how many ordinary moments of my everyday life were fraught with excruciating pain-&-numbness combinations. Took same meds as you. Finally, after random months, it just went away. Hope yours vanishes as well!