Wednesday, August 31, 2005

We're not supposed to walk upright, part 1

As you may have gathered from the occassional comment thrown in, I have a screwed up back. Not your "ooh, ow, I need some Doan's and a heating pad" bad. A "fuck, I've already had surgery and things are going to hurt the rest of my life" bad.

I have had many minor back injuries over the years. I've had your garden variety muscle pulls, wrenchings, and tweaks with the worse having been a severely pinched nerve that occurred while fishing one day about 8 years ago.

That one had me literally unable to get up off the floor for more than just a moment. I had hurt it sometime during a day that ended up being the best day that I had ever witnessed while fishing (16,000 lbs for one day) up to that point. I didn't feel any initial pain at first. It was once I went home, showered and relaxed for the afternoon that it started to act up.

It quickly progressed from a nagging ache to a "holy shit, something is really wrong."

Unfortunately, we were supposed to do a turn-around trip and head right back out that night to try and get a few more of the fish that we had just left the day before. Being the total badass motherfucker that I am (ok, I cry and write poetry...but its poetry about guns, dammit!) , I tried to tough it out. But when the captain showed up and saw me curled up in the fetal position on the wheelhouse floor unable to get up to untie the boat, he wisely advised me to go to the hospital.

After my "buddy" (I use that term loosely) Billy half carried me into the emergency room, I happily walked back out a couple of hours later with a diagnosis of a pinched nerve and a fist full of prescriptions. I ended up missing the next trip, but I didn't care thanks to the percoset and flexeril. Boy, that was a good combination.... for pain relief. Of course.

Anyways, I thought that was some serious back pain. Little did I know how good I had it then.


3 years ago this past May, we had to take a month off because of various regulations ( yeah, thanks hippies).

Now, I was the sole provider of 5 people, so I couldn't afford to take a month off (but I'm sure that those Volvo driving "conservationalists" had plenty of money, the bastards).

Seeing as how nobody was going fishing, my options were severely limited. So, after I had talked it over with my boss, I decided to "strip" some nets for some extra money that month.

"Stripping nets" is basically taking the nets that are torn up, stripping off the remaining twine, retying some knots, and just basically getting them ready to be "re-hung."

I think that it was while I was trying to get some of these nets off the boat for stripping that I injured my back.

Two things contributed to my injury. One was that our boat was tied up as the third boat out away from the pier and the second was that it was low tide. And we don't have any of those wussy tides like most of you do. Ours is always between 12 and 15 feet.

Anways, I had to somehow get those 20 nets that needed stripping from the back deck of the boat into my truck.

The path consisted of heaving the nets onto the overhead (7 feet), then carrying and tossing them over two different boats while trying not to fall in between them and dying (about 30 feet while trying not to trip), then chucking them up onto the pier (over 5 feet and up 5 feet) and finally loading them into the back of my truck. Total distance = too friggin' far.

With each net weighing between 75 and 100 lbs, it kinda sucked.

It was while tossing one of the last nets the last part of the way onto the pier, that I missed and it dropped into the water.

I was now officially fucked.

Quickly scrambling to grab the net fromwashing away downriver, I realized a few things.... I now had a net that weighed at least 100 pounds, inside a bag that was now full of water, in a river that was about 15 feet below the pier. Good times.

After some considerable grunting and groaning and dropping it back into the river once, I hauled it up onto the pier. I saved the $300 net, but I think at one point a vertebrae flew out of my mouth.

I had to lay perfectly still on the pier for about 10 minutes before I could stand upright. That was my first clue that things weren't well. (there's that keen grasp of the obvious kicking in again)

To make a long story somewhat shorter, every day that passed, the pain just grew worse and worse.

My first trip to my regular doctor resulted in a "just a pulled muscle" diagnosis. I told them that it wasn't a muscle pull, that it was definitely something worse. She responded with "take some Advil and you'll be fine."

I limped out of there knowing that she was wrong. But hey, they're the smart doctors. What do I know?

A couple of weeks later, I couldn't take it anymore and went to the doctor(s) that had performed my carpal tunnel surgery on both wrists a year earlier. He immediately knew that something was wrong and referred me to a spine specialist in the area who also happened to have been my anesthestiologist for my wrist surgery. It was 6 degrees of The Cod God.

Anyways, I got in to see him pretty quick and he immediately sent me for an MRI....

Now, I am not a petite man but I am also not a heifer by any means. Having said that, I don't know how some of the larger members of our society fit into that machine. I had to scrunch up my shoulders into my body as tight as I could and they still rubbed the edges on the way in. Not only that, but I had literally 2-3 inches of clearance from my face to the top of the tube. (imagine if I looked like Adrien Brody?) They must have to grease up fat pigs like Oprah and Rosie to get their elephant- asses in there. Either that or dangle a donut down at the other end of the tube. Either way, that's not a very nice thing for me to say and more importantly, I'm digressing....

When I showed back up with the MRI a few days later, he glanced at it and immediately said "Oh... wow."

Words that instill confidence, eh?

"You have a severely ruptured disc" he followed. "It's actually broken into pieces." Oh joy.

to be continued........


At 3:22 AM, Blogger Wheel Gun Bob said...

#1 mistake - Going to a doctor. I had such a bad back when I was your age I actually went to see the orthapeadic surgeon for the UNH football team. This was after a couple years of seeing many other doctors.

Well, he wanted to cut me open, told me I would have perminent nerve damage if I didn't have this operation, that I couldn't lift more than 20lbs, etc.

Fuck that! I decided (too chicken?)not to have the operation. I can say it took a while and it still ain't the best back in the world but as long as I keep moving and do the occasional back excersise, I'm OK.

Doctors suck.

At 3:29 AM, Blogger Wheel Gun Bob said...

Oh, I almost forgot. I injured my back several times, but the worst was one christmas when I was working in a bookstore and had to unload and put away 200+ boxes of remainders that weighed 50-90lbs each.

I know it's wimpy compared to what you had to do, but I did work with all women so I couldn't let them get all sweaty. Believe me, they appreciated it and rewarded me well once I was able regain feeling in my lower body.

At 8:24 AM, Blogger The Cod God said...

shit, that ain't wimpy

anyone can move a couple of heavy things, it's much harder to move some moderately heavy things constantly for a long time

yeah, working with chicks definitely has it's advantages


sounds like you did the right thing with the surgery

ps- jazz sucks

At 11:17 AM, Blogger B-Face said...

I can't believe that first doctor you went to was so damned useless. Hey, at least it wasn't Terry Bennett. He'd have berated you for being big and told you black men were going to be after you.

At 12:16 PM, Anonymous the black sheep said...

Terry Bennett is a doctor?!?!? How the hell did that happen??

At 1:18 PM, Blogger B-Face said...

Well, he went to medical school and got his degree, started a practice, etc. etc.

Of course I'm referring to Terry Bennett Sr., who's been in the news lately. Not Junior.

At 2:58 PM, Blogger Wheel Gun Bob said...

That Terry Bennet thing is about the funniest thing I've heard in a long time.

At 11:49 AM, Blogger The Cod God said...

I like ice cream.

At 6:37 PM, Blogger Wheel Gun Bob said...

I like Jazz.

At 7:41 PM, Blogger The Cod God said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7:43 PM, Blogger Missy said...

Cod if your shoulder's weren't so wide for a 5'11" man you would have no problem fitting into one of those make you deaf, even with earplug machines.

Com'on Bob, we all know why your back hurts so much. It's that B.U.D problem you have. Seriously I think that is Cod's problem.Maybe it's a family thing. B-Face, do you have a bad back as well? Uncle Johnson?

Rosie actually had to go to a vet's office for an MRI. Poor thing, how embarrasing.

You poor men!!


At 7:54 PM, Blogger B-Face said...

I effed my back up in an accident years back but it feels ok now. Lately my neck's been killing me, though, ever since I was being towed behind Duke's riding mower while sitting on one of those little things you lay on to slide under a car to work on it. Necro was driving and decided to pop the clutch. Man, that thing took off! I swear I have whiplash. This was weeks ago and it still kills.


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