Notes on pain


I had been writing a series of shorts about my injured back, but I got bogged down and the series ended.

This is an attempt to complete the series (in two final installments) on my decade- long health saga, not because of shear narcissism, but because I believe there are three types of people.

A. Those with a bad back.

B. Those who’ll have a bad back.

C. Those very, very few fortunate folks who will not ever have a bad back.

If you fall into category A or B, read on for a dose of hope.

Year 2000: Back injured skiing. Doc: “Back is very bad. Degenerated vertebrae. Old guy back. Might need surgery.”

Homework: Restructure life, Eliminate most sports–running, basketball, etc., motorcycle, snow machine, old bed, small car, carrying wallet in back pocket, sitting, (sitting? yes, sitting), eliminate prolonged periods of driving, lifting/physical work of any kind, and thinking you’re Superman

Add firmer bed, stretching, yoga, massage, disciplined and proper full-body strength training concentrating on core muscles, walking, hiking, standing erect.

I do everything doctor says, and more, because I’m literally bent, forward and sideways, and the pain is constant and debilitating in more ways then one could imagine. Life style change is my only choice. I will not take a pill for the entire period the pain lasts, which is years.

Years 2000-03: Suffer all day, every day. Can’t go to a movie. Can’t drive 30 minutes without stopping to stretch (which we should all do anyway).

Sleep in one position. Get outa bed like an 80 year old. Don’t lift stuff, period. Feel and look old. Struggle on stage.

Eat standing. Move bowels standing (for years). Think career is over. Stretch on floor, any floor, anywhere, every half hour.

Stay home cause sitting in a car is as comfortable as laying on fire. Think I’m old well before my time. Walk with limp. Envy healthy people.

Rusty DeWees tours Vermont and Northern New York with his act “The Logger.” His column appears weekly. Reach him at rustyd@pshift.com.

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