Wednesday 28 Sep 2016

Pain in the Back
Matt Seinberg

Many years ago, I heard a comedian make this, joke. I think it may have been Eddie Murphy. “Back pain is like luggage, you have it forever,” he said. Trust me; it's the truest thing I have ever heard.

I hurt my lower back about 20 years ago, on the job. I was too young and too dumb to realize I had a lawsuit waiting to happen. I could have gotten a nice chunk of change out of it. Instead, I took a week or so off. Got some worker’s compensation money and have the back pain longer than I’ve had any luggage.

I was on the outside of a loading dock, guiding a truck in. When he was finally in position, I stuck my head around the back of the truck to talk to him. The next thing I know, I hear a noise and it’s the big loading dock door coming down! I heard laughter as I fell, through my screams. Imagine what an “X” looks like. That was I, at that moment.

My arms up. My legs spread. I feel into the space between the dock and truck, with my lower back hitting a steel plate on the concrete dock. I was screaming bloody murder and the door flew up, at that point.

I was flat on my back, in more pain than anyone should have to endure. I was cursing up a storm at the two co-workers who thought it would be funny to close the door. I called them every name in the book.

An ambulance showed up in a few minutes. I was on a stretcher, wearing a neck collar and board under my back. The ambulance took me to the Nassau County Medical Center emergency room. There I waited and waited for what seemed like hours before anyone looked at me.

A physician said the X-Rays were inconclusive. How can so much pain be inconclusive? They told me to follow up with an orthopedist, when I was up to it.

I had told someone to call my mother. She came down to the hospital. She drove me to the store, where my I had parked my car. The store manager drove my car, as I wasn’t able. My mother took him back to the store and then came back to my apartment to help me out.

Since then, I’ve had good days and bad days. About ten years ago, I was cleaning the garage, when all of a sudden I was in excruciating pain. I couldn’t straighten up and could hardly walk. I practically crawled into the house, where my wife and visiting father helped get me into bed.

I called my chiropractor, whom I went to visit the next day. He immediately did some mild therapy to help alleviate the pain and sent me next door to get an MRI. The results were not good. I had two herniated discs in my lower back.

I was out of work for about a week and walking around with a cane that I borrowed from a next-door neighbour. I needed the cane just to leverage myself to get out bed.

This past week, that memory came roaring back when I woke up on Friday in terrible pain. For no reason at all, my back was killing me. I could hardly move, and when I did, there were stabs of pain.

I had a doctor’s appointment that morning, and made it on time and without a problem. It was only when I got home that the stars returned. I got into bed, put on the heating pad and watched television.

Being the smart fellow I am, I decided to visit the chiropractor Saturday morning, in hopes of getting relief. I left messages for two of the manager at work that I would be late Saturday morning. I got a great adjustment that morning and definitely felt some relief, which he told me would get better during the day.

The next day, at work, I was walking around on an angle, not able to straighten up or even hold up my head. Tylenol and Motrin weren’t doing anything and I couldn’t wait to get home and crawl into bed with my beloved heating pad.

I was feeling better when I got home, but still not 100%. When you’re in sales, it’s hard not move around. I’m on my feet all day, walking the floor helping people, not unlike a shark looking for its next prey. The big difference is if a shark stops moving, it will sink and die.

For anyone suffering from back pain, join the club and buy new luggage.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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