Tag Archives: illness

My Past Four Days : Adventures with Sciatica

This is a record of my past four days, as recorded via Skype messages to Forgottenman.  I have removed most of his messages to me to protect his privacy. If you skim though the gripes, there are some high points of unbelievable occurrences toward the end that will make it worth your while plowing through this, perhaps:

4:40 PM  Thursday
Woke up with such pains in my back.  Got in the boiling hot hot tub and that helped.  Had to go to town to run errands, but now I can finally lie down. Perhaps I should go into the hot tub again, but I’m so tired I have to lie down first. Man, I’m a mess, boy!!!


9:08 PM
Fell asleep and just woke up 1/2 hour ago. Fed the kids who were all having a fit, did dishes and back in bed with a hot pack heated in the microwave.


11:58 PM
Woke up in such pain that I got in hot tub for long time to try to help my back.. then in pool for another long time, cleaning algae and throwing balls for Morrie.. then put icy hot on back and got in bed. Seems to get worse when I lie down.


12:22 AM Friday
Gotta go take an Advil.. I’ve been taking them all day,  Just took a tiny bit of cannabis oil to try to help with this back pain…hot water helped. Icy Hot helped,  but only for 15 minutes or so and then it comes back. Damn.  May have to go to a dr.  So sick of drs.  Feel like a hypochondriac. I’m wondering if a hospital bed would help somehow.

1:54 AM
I’m trying sitting up with four pillows and my bolster under my knees.  Took some more cannabis oil.  I have Oxycontin but don’t want to take it. Took one Advil. Will try another in fifteen minutes if it doesn’t help. Perhaps should try the Icy Hot again.  It helped for a short while.  Wish I could find my damn Tens machine.  It was in my purse but can’t find where I put it.  Complain complain, but this is driving me nuts.

3:50 AM
Only thing that relieves my back pain is standing up and I can’t stand up all night.  The cannabis has had no effect. Nor has the Icy Hot or Advil. Guess I just need to try to go to sleep.

Forgottenman: 3:50 AM
Maybe a shot of rum?

3:52 AM
I think it would need more than a shot. Just gonna try to go to sleep..talk atcha later today.. can’t say tomorrow.

Forgottenman: 3:52 AM
Maybe try sleeping on the couch with your feet pressed up against the foot of the couch? Kinda like standing?


Took his advice and tried sleeping on the couch with a heating pad on my back and feet pushing against the end of the couch..to no avail.

Forgottenman: 12:21 PM Saturday
How is your back today?

12:23 PM
Still bad.  I didn’t fall asleep until 5 or 6 this morning.  Better when sitting up but I can’t find the right chair.  I’m using a heating pad and just took a Paracetamol pain pill.  Water too hot to get in the hot tub.  When Yolanda leaves I’ll see if I can get water hot enough for a shower. I slept until 11, which was good.  It hurts the most when lying down.. a problem when you are so sleepy you can barely sit up. I tried to make an appt. with a chiropractor but his office was closed today and of course Sunday and the friend who called for me said he’s out of town and his assistant has no appointments available Monday. Poor poor Pearl.


1:05 PM
I think this pill is helping.

9:12 PM
Did my exercises in the pool.  Water hot but not scalding. Hot tub too hot to soak though, Might be okay by tomorrow. When I put Icy Hot on after being in hot water it does get very very hot.  Must be because my pores are open.  When Pepe uses it for massage, it doesn’t get hot at all.  Early to bed tonight as I didn’t sleep all last night.

9:22 PM
I’m wondering if I should take another pain pill or leave well enough alone.Trying to drink lots of water to get the toxins out of my system stirred up by that deep massage Wed. that I think set off this attack. It felt wonderful right afterwards but by Thurs. my lower back and left leg were excruciating and have been most of the time since. 

11:08 PM
Have a ten o’clock breakfast appt. with a friend tomorrow.  Groan.  Better set my alarm and get to sleep.

11:14 PM
I took a pill a while ago. Doesn’t seem to have kicked in, though.

2:29 PM
Got up at 4 or five and went into hot tub which was scalding but seemed to help my back, which was excruciating.  Put Icy Hot on it which really heated up but 15 minutes later my back was as sore as before.  Took a pain pill and iced down my back IMG_0308which seemed to work much better than the heating pad and hot water had..Was good enough to meet Sandy for breakfast at 10 and by 12 was still pretty good.  Had a birthday party to go to tonight, but I fell asleep twice on the road driving home from my breakfast with Sandy. I guess it was the pain pills.  Both times I woke up as I went off onto the bike trail or shoulder.  Thank goodness no one was on it, but scared me to death.. So I’m cancelling out on Michael’s surprise 75th party and staying home so long as I have to take these pills. 

11:28 PM
Dogs are making a ruckus down below the studio.. don’t know over what. They were banging around running over the ladder and other equipment stored there.  I didn’t hear any cat yowling so hopefully not a cat.

1:30 AM Sunday
Oh man. Just woke up and my back is killing me.

2:00 AM
Can’t remember when I last took a pill, but just took a Paracetamol at 2 am..writing it down so I”ll remember. I think I can take 4 a day. This means i can take another at 10 tomorrow morning. I also have a Tens patch on it. I have Oxycontin but scared to take it. Trying to drink lots of water to wash the toxins out that might have been released by the massage..and using the old tennis ball technique, pressing it into the sore spots.

3:42 AM
DAMN!!!! After using Tens and ice on my back, I got a bad cramp in my leg that I couldn’t get rid of, so went out to soak in hot tub.  Finally it started lightning and it wasn’t helping my leg so I got out of hot tub, collected my towel and nightgown and then in the dark saw what looked like another wet towel on the ground.  I picked it up and it was a soaking wet dead possum!!!  Can it get any worse???? I guess I know now what the fuss was the dogs were raising down below the studio earlier tonight.

Forgottenman: 3:43 AM
Oh, I hope you are going to write about this! Such rich blog posts!!!

3:44 AM
I knew you’d say that.

Forgottenman: 3:44 AM

3:44 AM
No photos. No blog!!!
Now putting ice back on my back and leg again. 



Obviously, I changed my mind about the no photos, no blog decision. This is Diego looking innocent this morning re/ last night’s nefarious activities.


The evidence of his guilt, still lying by the pool waiting for Pasiano to deal with the disposal of remains tomorrow. Definitely not a wet towel. Poor little thing.


3:47 AM
I’m in for another long night.May have to call doctor tomorrow to come give me a shot or something. I can’t stand another two days of this. OK that’s my last message.  Go to bed, sweetie.. I’ll bitch atcha tomorrow..

4:23 AM
Ok.. won’t send this until tomorrow so it won’t wake you up, but….Act three?  I was lying on the ice bag which of course melted, soaking the towel around it, my nightgown and the sheets.  I was so tired, I just pulled the towel, the bag full of water and my nightgown off, wrapped them into a ball and tossed it off the bed.  It hit the bedside table, knocking the glass full of water to the floor where it shattered into a hundred shards..all over floor, under the bed, under the table..over my shoes..and of course I had to clean it up because otherwise I’ll forget and get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom barefoot and shred my feet.  F….!!!!!  So a half hour later, I hope all the glass is up and once again I am in bed, aching back.. but not getting up again for anything!!!!!IMG_0312IMG_0288

11:09 AM Sunday
Oops.. didn’t mean to send that last message last night, lest you hear the ping of the Skype from your bed and come back out to living room to see the message… Sorry, Forgottenman. Automatic response.  Hope you didn’t get up to see this. Still hurting this morning.. Have tried exercises, hot packs, cold packs, sitting up, lying down.  Everything hurts. Tried to eat and burned four batches of toast and gave up. This is the pits.IMG_0302IMG_0303

I think it is sciatica.. have looked up all the internet instructions on it.  It says not to stay in bed longer than 24 hours, but it hurts too much to move or sit up or stand up. I’m a mess.  Considering taking the Oxycontin left over from my foot operation a few years ago.  Aren’t I a downer?


In the meantime, I have watched over 40 episodes of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” over the past 4 days while trying to distract myself and/or lull myself to sleep!! That is a lot of riding around in cars, so I think it qualifies me for Fandango and Ragtag’s prompts. And Daily Addictions can certainly not blame me for any lack of alertness–especially on my own attempts to venture out on the road.  From now on, I’m staying put!

Upright Midnight


Upright Midnight

Our night’s rest should meander, releasing us to dreams,
but my sleep took me on a trip down other sorts of streams
with rapids, eddies, waterfalls that jarred me rough awake.
I think that just one night like it is all that I could take.
Whenever I lay prone, I had another bout of coughing—
with one hack executed, another in the offing. 
I could not lay my head down to soothe myself to sleep.
Instead I slept bolt upright, my covers in a heap
around me on the sofa as a cough jarred me awake.
Sleeping upright on the sofa does not sweet dreaming make. 
I longed for my soft bed and former slumbering meanders
through crisp rows of wheat stalks and banks of oleanders
in search of something still unknown, a peaceful all-night search
for those soulful comforts I never found at church.
My mother’s laughter once again, my father’s joking ways
waiting just around the bend of this nightly maze.
Instead, I’ve barely three hours sleep in between my wheezes—
my dreams propelled by cyclones instead of gentle breezes.
The cold germ is not neighborly. It visits when it pleases
and brings unwanted hostess gifts of drips and coughs and sneezes.

As you may have guessed, I’ve come down with a miserable cold. Two poems in one night, one while I was still trying to stay in bed, then another after I moved to sit upright on the couch which at least furnished a half hour of sleep now and then between the coughing bouts.  The prompt today is meander.

The Spring Cold Blues


The Spring Cold Blues

While I should be off-to-sleeping,
instead I’m coughing, sneezing, seeping.
My poor throat is scraped and raw
and herb tea sipped at through a straw
doesn’t seem to help at all.
Tissues rolled up in a ball
litter the table and the floor.
I cough, then blow, then cough some more.
I sweat and shiver and sweat in turn.
Sometimes I chill. Sometimes I burn.
I can’t lie down lest I should cough.
Propped up on pillows, I fall off,
knock tea to floor and break the cup.
No energy to mop it up.
So, with my head still in a fog,
I sit up straight and write this blog.
If I were horse or sheep or cow,
I’d know the secret of just how
I could sleep while still erect,
but since I’m not, I still elect
to sleep while prone whenever I can.
Tonight, it seems, that’s not the plan.


Hey!  Just realized this is my 4,000th posting!!!

Election Night and RBBB


Election Night and RBBB

The world is broken.
Even the little dogs cry out in sleep.
The darkness drops its tears
on the tile roof
and my heart misfires,
its electric messages
out of their normal path
and back again, trying to establish
some order.


I am heartsick tonight, both literally and figuratively

Post-Migraine Depression

Disclaimer: Yesterday I suffered my first migraine in sixteen years or so.  I had just been telling a friend how long it had been since I’d had my last one and the best way to overcome them when suddenly, a few days later, when I was standing on a ladder putting away material in my studio, I grew dizzy and would have fallen off the ladder if I hadn’t had a chair back and file cabinet to steady myself on.  Soon after, the migraine descended, along with the nausea and this time with a shortness of breath that was probably psychosomatic but which made me feel as though I was going to suffocate.

What was worse is that there was no one around–no one in my neighborhood–no one I could think to call.  When I tried to think of someone to email or Skype, my mind fogged and I couldn’t figure out how to type the letters or who exactly to call–just to have a sense of presence.  I was too sick to talk and could barely even stand the distraction of calling on Skype.  Nor could I figure out how to actually make the call.  Luckily a friend who was about to leave on a trip to another town and who was already connected to me by Skype, contacted an old friend and she called me and talked me down a bit, poor thing, talking for ten minutes or so without relief.  All I needed was some soft distraction so I did not think about not being able to breathe.

Today just the slight edge of a headache is there. Enough so I dare not bend down or chance seeing a bright light or smelling the odor of Jacaranda, which I am afraid is what caused the problem this time, but I have started thinking about old age and being alone and vulnerable and all of those things I’ve never really thought of seriously before.  When I tried to write something else entirely, what got written was the rather self-indulgent piece below.  My impulse is to put it away and to write something else, but I also have a curiosity about whether others might have the same feelings sometimes so I just might have another look at it and print it with the understanding that when such things are written, they sometimes serve as their own antidote.

Or, perhaps the extreme of what I wrote is simply priming the pump–a surge to get me going.  Well, I’ll have another read and we shall see.  If I do print it, I’d appreciate comments–lots of them–no matter how negative.  My grandmother used to say a Dutch phrase when she was feeling sorry for herself, “Mama Miet mi Dote!” (Mama might be dead.) It became our family’s saying, only my mother (her daughter-in-law), who didn’t understand Dutch, said “Mama Milk My Goat.”  My dad thought this was funny so never told us differently until I went to college and tried to use it and got blank stares from all those who didn’t know the phrase I thought everyone used.  It was then my dad ‘fessed up.  So, “Mama Milk My Goat.” Yes, I am feeling sorry for myself in the ditty below, but it helps to rave sometimes and tomorrow is another day.  For now, I’m lying low for one more day.

Post-Migraine Depression

My life is growing narrower, the walls are closing in.
I don’t care where I’m going or care where I have been.
I never thought life would wear out or that I’d tire of it,
but suddenly the life around me does not seem to fit.
We’re schooled to be cheerful and to make the best of life–
to emphasize our happiness and overlook the strife,
but somehow everything has changed. Perhaps it is the weather,
for suddenly I feel my life is on too short a tether.

I think I’ve worn my old life out but cannot seek a new one.
I’ve simply not the energy to try again to do one.
So I shall lie abed today to contemplate my fate–
to have a look at what I do and what is on my plate.
I need to feed the dogs and then to feed my own self, too–
to dress myself and try to put each shoe in front of shoe.
My grandma was a martyr and perhaps I am the same,
but I don’t try to make this into any other’s blame.

I simply feel that I must stir the pot up once again–
take off on an adventure someplace I’ve never been.
Find a niche and fill it and live a simple life.
Try to find diversion without turmoil or strife.
To inspect the Caribbean or a tiny town in Spain.
Live alone in solitude with nothing to explain.
My family is scattered and has no need of me.
In terms of obligations, I am really fancy free.

So if you do not see me later on this blog,
just know that I have gone away and slipped my usual cog.
Perhaps I’ll be beach combing or traveling out to sea.
Perhaps I’ll be investigating what else I can be.
My life will soon be over and although I’ve had the best,
I feel that I need more of it before my final rest.
Or, I may not stir at all. I guess I must admit,
perhaps my need is satisfied by contemplating it.