8 Weeks and You Will be Up and Walking

8 weeks and you'll be up and walking, and sure enough, not only was I up and walking, but I drove from Tennessee to Florida.

That was my first attack, a herniated disc problem from carrying 5 gallon buckets of water for my garden. Awesome pain and the only position I could tolerate was lying on my back with my calves up on a chair, which was on the bed. I had no insurance and my brother-in-law told me eight weeks in bed and it will be gone,  and he was right.

In fact, it happened twice to me. I remember getting up once at about 6 weeks and I could walk without pain, so I headed for Walmart. I got to the store and was about 10 yards inside when the pain came back. I started to go down, but caught myself and hobbled right back to the van. That same pain that took me to my knees was back and I felt the same as the first week of it. Back to bed for two more weeks. At the eight week mark, like magic, the pain just disappeared. A week later in Florida I was starting to jog again.

The second was on the opposite side and had no apparent cause. I was reading instruments at the water plant, I twisted to read one more and I felt it, a very slight twinge of pain in the lower back area.

By the time I got home, it was coming on pretty strong. I went to the doctor, who wanted to give me a shot in the lower back, and I said no. He was from Europe and I hardly knew him, so I thought I'd wait. Wrong. It got worse and worse until I was laid up again, this time hallucinating on Percocets day and night.

It went on and on and I couldn't even urinate, because of the muscles being in spasm just getting near the spot. Madness, I thought. The pain level was right up there and I just settled back into that twilight of medication and pain.

Finally, it was so bad I told the doctor I would let him operate. We set up the date and I went home to wait. As the date approached, so did a hurricane. I was scheduled at JFK Hospital in Lantana, Florida for morning surgery, the very day the hurricane was scheduled to arrive. They canceled and told me they would reschedule. Wonderful, except the very next morning, the 8 week effect took control and I got up and walked. How strange was that, the very same day was just about 8 weeks from when I first got it.

This time, at 72, I have the feeling that things have changed. I'm having repeated pain running down my right leg and exploding in my foot. It seems to start around the hip joint, producing weakness, then a burning pain up and down the leg.

It's been with me now for a number of weeks, starting with the spring gardening workout in May, so that's about 13 weeks or so, running at a pain level of about 5/6.

I'm worn out, but some days it's a little better, and it looks like it's here to stay this time. Originally in 2005, a doctor diagnosed me with spinal stenosis and I haven't had any more tests for awhile. It's time.

So I'm looking for relief, any kind of relief from this pain, if it's possible.

- Charles

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