Friday, March 31, 2006

Baby Got Back

I was running late this morning and grabbed my coat out of the closet, and something in my back went ping! followed by a bolt of breathtaking agony. I moved again in the same direction, not because I'm a masochist but because I figured, "It's some kind of fluke" or a momentary spasm. Nope. I screamed as an identical bolt of agony shot through my lower back.

"Stay home!" advised Jim.

"I can't! I've gotta keep my dental appointment and we're busy at work!" I hobbled downstairs, gasping, and made my way slowly down to the subway, followed by the crosstown bus.

Those who know me very well will tell you that I would rather staple-gun my tongue to my forehead than ask for help with anything. But when it came time to hop off the bus, Gus, instead of pushing the door open and making a graceful semi-leap to the curb, I asked the woman ahead of me, "Could you hold that open, please?" Keeping my tone light and airy, as if we were both at a delightful dinner party, when I felt so absolutely sure that my voice was coming off as a needy, lugubrious whine.

Likewise, when I got to the dentist, the new hygienist, this little slight Russian woman, was having trouble moving the chair and the arm of the tool tray. I was about to offer my assistance when I realized that I wouldn't be able to actually assist. In fact, I could barely sit up, and every time I moved the pain reasserted itself. So I just had to sit there helplessly watching this woman struggle. As she got the tools in place and scraped my teeth, I reflected, "This is a sneak preview of being old."

I was hoping the dentist would prescribe some Percoset, especially since I was getting a temporary crown. But he advised Advil and exercise and said, "Yeah, once you hit fifty, it's all downhill." Great.

So now I'm sitting here blogging and waiting for the Novocaine to wear off so that I can eat my sandwich without it falling out of my mouth onto my lap. I have a new sympathy for the old, the halt, the lame, and people with speech defects. Where I really need the Novocaine is somewhere between my sacro and my iliac. I'm looking forward to home and a heating pad and perhaps a muscle relaxant. Thank God it's Friday.

Iguess when back pain is a distraction and you think about stapling your tongue, going to the dentist is a walk in the park. I've gotta try that myself....
I almost did staple my tongue that afternoon. The Novocain hadn't worn off by three in the afternoon so I proceeded to eat my chicken Caesar wrap, and almost bit through my lower lip.

It tasted like chicken.
Your story is exactly how I felt when I threw my back out a couple weeks ago (the infamous Starbucks mini-scone incident -- those babies are leaden), only you tell the story so much better.
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