Cause and Effect

Sunday, April 10, 2016

I've been preoccupied. Too busy to fashion blog. I saved a newborn elephant while a hungry lion mauled his mother. I slung all 200lbs of him over my shoulders like a shepherdess, and carried him a short distance to safety. His little trunk bopped me on the head as he fought me. He wanted me to take him back to mom. Mom was gone, a giant red splotch on the golden safari. I threw my back out, fighting the cruel mistress that is mother nature.

That was sad and a lie. I'm sorry. It's just. Well. I've been having LBP, (that's internet abv for Lower Back Pain) going on three weeks now. Some of it was very bad. Bad enough to keep me from work for five and half days. I'm going a little stir crazy.

"Oooooh, what did you do?" people ask, irises dancing, looking for a medical cautionary tale replete with cause and effect. How can they avoid pain and suffering? 
I really wish I could give them what they want, instead I tell them, "Dunno, I woke up one day and my back was shitty." 
Life doesn't work like a morality tale. Truth. 

More truth. The cause. Four medical professionals have all agreed that the sacroiliac joint seems to be my culprit. The effect. The painful inflammation in my lower back spread to the front of my pelvis and my hips locked up. When I wasn't laying on my back, contemplating the merits of the ceiling, I had to crawl on all fours to make my way to the bathroom--I even kept myself dehydrated to limit these nature calls. When I absolutely had to walk (from the house to the car, to the car to the doctor's office, or when my tough-loving husband (who's recovered from back surgery and knows first hand that not walking, is far worse in the long haul, than the pain of walking) made me walk around the block once a day)...I moved slower than I thought humanly possible. Hunched like Quasimodo, I took a one inch step with one foot and repeated it with the other foot, until I reached my destination--a million light years later. The whole time, tears involuntarily sprung out of my eyeballs from the pain. Hooo boy, was my sacroiliac joint pissed, but not as pissed as I was. Nobody makes me cry my own tears. Nobody. 

I've never really known physical pain. At routine wellness check-ups, nurses always ask, "on a scale of 0-10. Zero being no pain at all and ten, being the most pain imaginable...How are you feeling today?"

I always pictured a big, red dragon with black eyes, holding a struggling person in its claw while it bends its giant head down and rips the human in half with its teeth. That's my standard for a ten. The most pain I could possibly imagine.

"zero," I've answered, to pretty much a lifetime of those wellness questions.

I had my wisdom teeth out when I was twenty. Even then, post extraction, when the local anesthesia wore off...I think I'd say I was sitting at a solid 4. I've been real lucky until a week ago, a 9, thank you.

My pain has not been managed very well and I find that I have room to be both angry and grateful that it wasn't magically whisked away with modern pharmacology. I am angry that I haven't been writing, that I couldn't write, that writing continues to be physically challenging. I am angry that pain is real and mind over matter is in fact, bullshit. Strange though it may sound, I am grateful to finally know what real debilitating pain is like,  didn't even have to walk a mile in someone else's shoes to look upon the world with brand new eyes. But instead of meeting people's eyes on the street, and letting them see my pain and embarrassment, I stared at my shuffling feet or at the plaster swirls on my bedroom ceiling...a disconcerting mixture of figure eights, half moons and angry swipes with a plaster trowel. Why?

My current diagnosis and prognosis offers me no comfort or direction. My LBP seems to be in tune with the normal fluctuation of hormones during a woman's menstrual cycle. I might feel like this once a month, or I might not. Hard to predict, the doctor shrugs. Sometimes medicine seems more like an art than a science. I missed the pain killer boon by about ten years. I would definitely say that I'm missing it, especially now that we're in the midst of a knee jerk reaction to it. Lucky me. I had to push hard to get prescribed anything, but ask and you shall receive. I was prescribed an anti-depressant for my back. It wasn't that long ago, (1600's) where pain was thought to be a punishment from God and the course of treatment was prayer. It seems pain is a spiritual problem again and cast into the pit of other medical undesirables, mental health. Depressed? Shh! Good God, stop talking about it! You think there's time in our medical system to get to the bottom of that? Here's a script for anti-depressants. You'll feel comfortably numb. I've looked for God amongst the plaster swirls on the ceiling and in between the carpet fibers on the stairs as I inched down them. I clutched the bottle of pills in my hand, they shook like a rattle on each step. God and mother nature, they're harsh mistresses I threw the anti-depressants in the bathroom trash and chuckledPain and suffering is often a fact of life, but it is not a spiritual problem. I know all too well that anti-depressants are pharmacological procrastination. I want my edge when I need it. But I didn't need it right this second so I grabbed some bourbon and laid down. My dog laid down next me. Sometimes the pain's not so bad when I lay down.


Your Bosom Friend in Pittsburgh,


  1. When I first started to read your post, I actually imagined you saving that little guy from the lion. Then, your reveal had me thinking, you really have a talent you might not be aware of. Kids would love your imagination and storytelling ability. Did you ever think about writing kids’ books? It might brighten your day if nothing else.

    Roman Dean @ Mac MGI

    1. Hi Roman. Thanks for stopping by, reading and making my day.


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