March 24, 2013

Getting old stinks

I write this through gritted teeth with long-expired painkillers — leftovers from a 2009 operation? — coursing through my veins.

I wish that I had a good excuse. I wish that I could say “I had a burst of adrenaline and lifted a Buick off a woman, her three young children and their pet duck, when I felt a sudden sharp pain in my lower back.” Or “I was going in for a windmill dunk, but LeBron James took my legs out and I landed on my spine.”

Sadly, the true story is that I twisted awkwardly when trying to grab a big bin full of newspapers that I was planning to bring to the curb for recycling. Stupid environmentalists causing me pain once again.

I felt a sudden and excruciating pain in my lower back and my right leg collapsed beneath me. For at least 15 seconds my anguish exactly matched what I imagine women go through in childbirth. Does childbirth take longer than that? Because there’s no way the benefits of children would be worth that kind of pain.

Eventually, I lifted myself up — with a kid’s ski pole as a makeshift crutch — hobbled to the medicine cabinet, found a heating pad and sat down in front of the computer. Actually, make that stood up in front of the computer, holding my back perfectly straight; sitting seems to hurt.

I tried dictating to the cat, but she refuses to help. Cats. I could really use one of those helper monkeys, but I know from past experience that the health-insurance company won’t cover it. Stupid Obamacare.

Is this a warning sign of things to come? Was it a warning sign when I twisted my neck a couple of months ago reaching for a box of high-fiber cereal and spent two days with my head cocked at an awkward angle, as if I was perpetually interested in everything everyone had to say?

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