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My spine sucks and other true tales

Although my preferred genre is erotica, at the moment I could easily author a series of essays and package them as a book entitled “My Spine Sucks and Other True Tales.”

My spine has sucked since I was 16 years old and got injured playing tennis my junior year of high school.  I jumped up to hit an overhead shot and when I landed, I fell and hit my tailbone, hard.  I didn’t go to the doctor because of a mixture of youthful invincibility and the reality of being poor and either uninsured or only having crappy welfare insurance.  That summer I got a job bussing tables at a restaurant, which meant I was hauling around super heavy buckets of dirty dishes, which did no favor to my already injured back.  Weeks before senior year began, my back seized up and I finally took it seriously enough to see a doctor, who referred me to a physical therapist.  My physical therapist gave me exercises and a lumbar pillow I was supposed to use any time I was seated.  Not that I wasn’t a giant nerd with no hope in the universe of EVER being a cool senior, but carrying the lumbar pillow around from class to class underlined, bolded and italicized that lack of coolness.

I would diligently do my physical therapy for a few months until I felt “better.”  Then I’d happily drift about my life for a few years, only to have my back start to spasm and seize up again.  Rinse and repeat.

In 2006, weeks before my wedding, I herniated a disc in my spine after I spent a day hauling boxes of books out of my classroom.  I’ve been known to joke that my wedding shouldn’t count because I was high on vicodin and drunk on champagne at the time. Which was the last funny joke I can make about the next few months of my life.

Within eight weeks of our wedding I was confined to bed in our guest room, waiting for my surgery date, high on an absurd number of painkillers and sex was a thing of the past.  I could still get to the bathroom, but only if I used a walker.  I hit one of the lowest points of my life when I had to ask my partner to wipe my ass after defecating.  Admitting that publicly is perhaps one of the few lower points than the actual experience.  Within twelve weeks of our wedding, I had surgery, and while the back pain relief was immediate, we had to wait another six weeks to have sex again.  This is not exactly an ideal honeymoon/start to a marriage.

In the intervening six and half years since that surgery I’ve had two bad episodes with my back, but luckily both were short lived and easily dealt with between a few days on vicodin and some physical therapy.  And, as always, after a time, my dedication to and interest in doing my physical therapy waned and disappeared.

I am not, as a rule, an “exercise” kind of girl.  I don’t like sweating.  I find it boring.  I’ve tried classes, personal trainers, you name it–it’s just not my thing.  For some people, that’s something they can get away with.

I can’t.

Early on in this month, I was doing the very mundane task of putting Ms 1 into her stroller…and tore the disc directly above the one I’d had surgery on in 2006.  I ended up in the hospital for a week.  I was released and felt as though things were getting better with the minor exception of a terrible set of side effects to a medication.  My doctor took me off that medication. Twenty four hours later I was back in the hospital.  A week later I received cortisol injections to try to calm the nerve pain that was rendering my legs close to useless.  I came home Thursday.  I would not say that things are getting better.

This month has been one long frustration of medications that make me too muzzy headed to focus, pain, fear about my ability to parent and partner going forward, separation from my kids, family flying in from the states to help out, and a lot of self pity.  There is some chance that over the next two weeks I am going to have to make a decision about surgery.

This has also been a month where connecting with my partner hasn’t been easy.  Emotionally, yes.  Physically, no.  You can imagine then, how my writing has been going.

As a rule I don’t tend to ramble on about my personal life here, but as I deal with these developments, I think I am going to have a lot to say about sex and disability, so I’m going to go with it and talk about it.

One Response

  1. Sounds so painful at so many levels…. You’ ve never considered consulting a chiropractor?

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