I hope you all had a great Fourth of July weekend.  Unless you managed to blow off a few digits with fireworks, it’s a pretty safe bet that you had a better time than I did.

I am currently laid up in the highest room of the highest tower in Castle Frostbite.  Since Sunday morning, I have not been able to stand, walk, or sit without scream-inducing levels of pain from my treacherous sciatic nerve.  I had been nursing a moderate case of my recurring sciatica for two weeks, and the doctor prescribed the usual battery of muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory drugs.  Until Sunday morning, I was at least able to get around, but right now I’m mostly immobilized.

The pain finally reached intolerable levels yesterday, so my wife drove me out to the ER at Dartmouth, where I had to wait three hours for a doctor to see me.  Fortunately, that doctor was pretty perceptive and noticed that I was, shall we say, in a bit of discomfort.  She had the nurse give me an injection of Dilaudid, which is the most wonderful stuff ever, and then she sent me home with a prescription of weapons-grade painkillers.  Right now I’m waiting for the first dose of the day to lick in so I can go downstairs and use the litter box without screaming the house down in the process.

My trip to Readercon on Friday is very much in doubt at the moment, which is a bit of a bummer, because I’ve been looking forward to it for months.  Tomorrow I’ll go back to my primary doctor, and until then there’s nothing to do for me but to stay mostly on my back and pop some pills.  Luckily, I now have something a bit more potent than Tylenol.  Trying to manage this sort of pain with over-the-counter ibuprofen is a lot like trying to put out a wildfire with a SuperSoaker.


24 thoughts on “ow.

  1. skidmark says:

    As a fellow sufferer it shocked me to learn that the insurance company’s criteria for relief of the pain of sciatica was “intractable pain lasting more than seven (7) days.” I guess they want to make sure you are not just faking it so that you can have surgery on your spnal cord that will either give you instant relief or paralyze you – take your chances.

    I empathize with you, but have not felt your pain for many years now. As for the strange numbness where the surgeon nicked the nerves – well, if it lasts more than three years it is chronic. Otherwise, it was just transient. That’s what they told me 15 years ago – so I guess it’s chronic.

    stay safe.

  2. BobG says:

    As someone who has had sciatica for over 30 years, you have my sympathy. Over the counter meds aren’t worth a damn.

  3. David says:

    Oh man, Marko that just sucks. When I was dealing with mine in December/January and again in March/April, I ended up setting up a few blankets on the floor and just stayed down there nice and flat. Ate on the floor. Slept on the floor, did whatever work I could on the floor. Floor-time helped and most of the time I didn’t feel pain until I tried to get up.

    Hope for a quick recovery for you – sciatica just plain sucks.

  4. Al T. says:

    Sympathy here… I’ll light some incense. 😦

  5. Peter says:

    My profound sympathy, Marko. I never had sciatica until my injury back in 2004. Thanks to bureaucratic arguing about who was responsible (it was work-related), I had to wait six months for surgery. I never want to have to go through those six months again . . . I’ve now got a fused spine, with some permanent nerve damage, thanks to the delays; but at least the gut-wrenching pain has eased to a manageable level. Only those who’ve experienced it can really understand it.

    If the pain gets really bad, Percocet washed down with a glass of Napoleon’s finest is teh shiznit. Just don’t plan on doing anything for a while.

    (On the lighter side, did you see the typewriter/iPad toy I nominated for you at my blog? http://tinyurl.com/299o484 )

  6. Marko-

    Been there, went to chiro.

    I’ve had reoccurring sciatica for almost 30 years, & the C-man is the only way I can function when it gets bad.

    Not fixed completely, but I can walk upright (sorta) & lie down w/o hollering…

  7. Antibubba says:

    I know it won’t help the immediate situation, but I’ve been going to yoga, and my sciatica has reduced. I also have a TENS unit, and this is helpful when the pain and itching ratchet up.

    When you are up and wobbling around, I suggest using a cane.

  8. MaddMedic says:

    Ouch. Been there.
    Ended up having surgery to relieve pressure on it at L5.
    That sucks.

  9. Ow indeed. Big dose of sympathy and best wishes going your way (neither should be used as a replacement for painkillers)

  10. Damn, dude. That’s no kind of shape to be in. I sincerely hope you feel better soon.

    And definitely check out the USB Typewriter thing Peter’s talking about. It’ll help supplement the drug-induced smile we all hope you have by now.


  11. Chang says:

    Oh, I’m there with you, brother. My back’s been weird the past couple of weeks. True the chiro does help tons. I can also show you some yoga that will be easy on the spine and strengthening as well.

    Feel better. I’m counting on you to embarass me at Readercon. 🙂

  12. shdwfx says:

    I used to have similar pain – skipped the drugs and saw a Chiropractor. It just works.

  13. guy says:

    I screwed up my back badly three weeks ago twisting the wrong way while rotating the tires on my jeep. I waited a week with muscle spasms so bad I could hardly catch my breath at times, then finally went to a Chiropractor.

    He took a look at my lower back and said, “Um this is not going to be pleasant”.

    He got me on the table and gave one really healthy shove. I roared in pain and he said – honest to god – “don’t hit me”!

    The next day though I could actually walk again. A few days after that and I was able to move around normally.

    Finding a good chiropractor is the trick though. This guy was good and was recommended by a good friend. A lot of them just plain suck.

  14. Al Terego says:

    Occasional bouts so excruciating as to drop me to my knees if I make the wrong movement.

    Once during an episode a customer who was a chiropractor came in my store and I went down flat on the carpet right in the showroom and begged him for an adjustment, which he did gratis. Good thing he was a good guy, because I’d have probably given him anything he wanted out of the showcase out of pure gratitude.

    Careful with that dilaudid…Lenny Bruce’s nectar/poison of choice.


  15. Jared says:

    First demand an MRI. You need to see what’s up in there.
    Second…Try to get up and around as much as you can. The studies show that the harder you try to stay ambulatory, the better off you are.
    Third…Stay off the drugs as much as possible. You go down that path, next thing you know your kids are grown up and you cant remember any of it.
    Fourth… Find a good yoga class. If you can find a hot or bikram style so much the better.

  16. Heath J says:

    ummmmm…. Dilaudid… The miracle drug that can take you from excruciating kidney pain to ” I fell great, guess I should get back to work”!

    Hope the back gets better, sir.

  17. T.Stahl says:

    Ooooh shiiiit!

    You ain’t that old yet, pal! I mean, at least not as old as I look.

  18. perlhaqr says:

    I have found that stretching out my hamstrings helps relieve the lower back tension pulling on the iliac crest and thus putting pressure on the sciatic nerve, when I have sciatica pain. If you’re going to try it, make sure you’re actually stretching the hams and not the glutes, though, because it’s easy to miss the right muscle group, and stretching the glutes won’t help at all.

  19. Shootin' Buddy says:

    Have you tried yoga?

  20. MarkHB says:

    Yeeeowch. Feel better soon, man.

  21. Will says:

    It may take trying a couple chiros to find one that works for you. It’s an art and a science. For me, most are too gentle, and then it doesn’t work, or gets worse.

    Or, look for a doc who is a D. O. (Dr of Osteopathy). They can do adjustments, plus all the doc stuff. DO’s should be fairly common in the northeast, not so much in the west.

    For some reason, my sister got relief for her sciatica from acupuncture.

    Have them measure (or compare) your legs. If different lengths, that can cause problems. Might not be a problem when younger, but it sure shows up later on!

  22. Ken says:

    IANAD, but a family member has had good results using neurontin to control sciatica pain.

  23. ZerCool says:

    Ugh. You have my sympathy. I’ve never had serious back problems, but I do remember how laid-up I was with my kidney stones. Talk about un-fun.

    Side note: parent juice + happy pills could lead to some interesting new chapters for your next book!

  24. ajdshootist says:

    I feel your pain young man 40 yrs ago when 21 my brother put the wheel over to the starboard as we were coming in to dock i went over the port side grabed a rail with my left arm and being a fat bastard all my weight pulled my back out, months of treatment 440 injections into the muscles around the spine and still regular visits to a chiro 40 years later plus i still sometimes wear a support corset with steel suport bars,i could kill my brother sometimes but his prostrate cancer seems to be beating me to it!

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