Sunday, January 3, 2010

The nerve of it all

If you see me walking around these days, why, you must live here at 742 Evergreen Terrace! And you might notice that my steps are supported by a rakish cane, which was issued to me after knee-replacement surgery years ago. I figured I ought to keep it handy, on the grounds that You Never Can Tell.

It's not lost on me, the irony that, had I stayed home after work Wednesday and guzzled a beer while watching an old movie, I would be better off now. Somehow, working out at the gym, I came down with a case of sciatica. The word alone sounds like a tasty Italian noodle dish, or a grunge band from Seattle, but it's best defined here by Stephen Hochschuler, M.D:

The term sciatica describes the symptoms of leg pain and possibly tingling, numbness or weakness that travels from the low back through the buttock and down the large sciatic nerve in the back of the leg.

The vast majority of people who experience sciatica get better with time (usually a few weeks or months) and find pain relief with non-surgical sciatica treatment. For others, however, sciatica can be severe and debilitating.

What's odd is, it's not as if I was working out and suddenly cried out, "Oh, my sciatic nerve!" It was a normal workout, made a lot more enjoyable by having just the day before downloaded a ton of Hank Snow and Wynn Stewart songs onto my iPod, which now bulges with songs that hardly anyone else wants to hear - but when you want to hear Cowboy Copas sing "Alabam", or Hawkshaw Hawkins do "LOnesome 7-7203," let me know. I did my various exercises, came home and made a few preparations for the coming snowstorm, and then, when I walked into the kitchen, I said, "Ow."

A lot of people say "Ow" in our kitchen, many of them while walking out. I'm the cook, you see.

But that was Wednesday night, and it didn't seem so bad, and then came Thursday morning, and I couldn't put on my sox. I mean, I would even have donned sox in a color other than red just to get to work, but I just couldn't move around so well, and so I had to take a sick day and a lot of ibuprofen. I was very happy when our neighbor with the snowblower came around to blow the snow.

So that was Thursday, and I'm writing this on Saturday, and still no improvement in the pain that begins at my buttock -maybe THAT'S where that expression comes from! - and runs down to my knee. It sort of feels like some bad kid with a Sawzall is cutting into my left side. This condition scoffs at ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin, and laughs when the internet recommends ice! no, heat! ok, try heat, then ice, then more heat!

I know that there are many things far worse that can befall a person, so don't mistake my carping about being housebound during a weekend of my favorite outdoor weather for grumbling. But being a lover of irony means I appreciate learning that sometimes, the best fitness regime is no sweat at all.

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