It’s … Baaaack! Life on Tramadol

I was just minding my own business, really. I did not plan on this. A year almost to the day, I dealt with a horrible decision. I had to do something. I was a mess. What on earth did I do to deserve this!

A year ago, I had happily submitted to a complicated operation, which required a commitment on my part that turned out to be a learning experience, that I would not wish on anyone. Now, I was experiencing a greater and greater inability to bear weight on my left leg, and ran not walked, or limped, to my pain specialist.

A noisy MRI later, I got the news while, yes, walking, that stenosis had worsened since the last MRI, pre everything in 2006, and was giving me symptoms, thank you.

So, I’m enduring a series of not one, not two, but three shots in the back, again. I’m so used to showing up there and being wheeled out like an invalid.

The first shot, a month ago, was great. I felt no pain, and was able to go about my business. The second shot, like the second shot in December of 2011, was not so good. I need to take my meloxicam and tramadol just to walk. But I will, and when the third shot is over, we need to make a decision on going forward. If I can without a cane or a wheelchair!

Meanwhile, I’ve kept up on exercise, PT, and stretching. It helps a lot, as does heat, ice, and just sitting still.

Let’s see where this goes (not another pun!)


Spinal Thoughts III – Sidewalk Stains

This is true. A few days ago I was at the hospital where my Dad has been in and out since August, when he broke the top of  his femur and had a partial hip replacement. The operation was a success, by the way, but he was having other troubles for us to be at the hospital. I had lost track of how many times, and at some point was waiting for Jim to drive the car around and pick up my Mom and I to take her back home after a visit.

There is a waiting area outside the main entrance to this lovely hospital. You can sit on one of two slatted benches, hardly touched by sunlight, and wait for a pickup. Two or three very nice young men are always in attendance. To their credit, I never see them texting. They watch the comings and goings of people and always seem really helpful when people need help in and out of chairs or the car.

So, I get outside. It was before the sciatica operation, and well within the limits of the worsening of my symptoms into a limping, cringing victim of pain. Mom was worried, and I’m not sure how well Dad understood the total picture. Maybe it was because of him that I developed into a full-blown sciatica complete with the burning pain down my leg and the numbness that settled in to my surprise in late January.

Look around. There on the floor, under and emanating from the bench, a dark spot. It is irregular, like the outline of the crime victim in chalk on the sidewalk. It is dark, oxidated. It is obviously from someone bleeding, perhaps waiting to go in to the hospital. Or maybe they chickened out and were leaving. Either way, it was pretty gross. Not to mention disturbing.

No matter how you look at it, you’re going to see red. Either in anger, fear, excitement. Red is the color of fresh, flowing blood. Nobody should see that, and nobody should experience that.

But, it is the hospital after all. And someone’s lifeblood has been spilt again.

It’s a Real Pain – 21

At 6 a.m. I take a Percocet for the pain. I cannot move my left leg. It is burning up with pain. I lay on my back with my legs up on a sofa to relieve the back. It helps a little bit.

I call my doctor, and she explains that she is in her office today, and that I can see her because of the severity of this pain. But, I tell her, I have an appointment with her the following morning. She accepts that, and tells me to be aware of incontinence (which is the worst thing with this sciatica. It means you’ve pretty much damaged your spine and should shop for your electric scooter or whatever), and I am freaked out, but have hope that I’ll be okay until then and not have to go to the emergency room.

Faithfully doing up my tazanidine and my Percocet and my gabapantin.

At 12:49 p.m. the attack of pain returns and I take yet another painkiller. Again at 2:30. My foot is now freezing cold, and my toes a little crampy. I procure a 12-hour type of painkiller and take that with my muscle relaxer, but before that, take a couple of pain killers and sleep for about three hours in the afternoon. My pain is at level 8.

It’s a Real Pain – 20


I have burning pins and needles on and off and also in the car.

After my second gabapantin I sleep for two hours in the afternoon. Energy is sapped.


It’s a Real Pain – 19

My pain level is 9.5 when I got out of bed. I do some leg exercises in the morning. Taking it slow.