He had been missing for quite some time. He was captured by the Dread Pirate Sciatica years ago when he accidentally missed his footing on a small divot in the lawn (a divot in the lawn, people!). My father has been sailing solo on a choppy sea of chronic pain ever since. Like me, he has suffered intermittently with sciatica for more than a decade and, also like me, his bouts are triggered by seemingly inconsequential movements, like lifting a box of screws or turning to speak to someone.
It’s easy to forget someone is in constant pain when it goes on for such lengths because it doesn’t seem possible. This last experience for him has been non-stop for more than two years. Can you even imagine excruciating nerve pain every minute of every day for two years? I certainly couldn’t comprehend it until I was in it. It’s only been a few months for me and I have already been battling depression and a strong case of the crazies.
When bad moods and short tempers become the norm we jump to conclusions outside of the pain and get annoyed with the sufferer. He’s depressed because he’s lazy, he’s overweight, he’s not eating well or exercising. Well of course he is all of these things because the pain is prohibiting him from living his life! He has no ability to make healthy choices because he feels paralyzed. Once the downward spiral begins it’s increasingly difficult to get out of over time.
My father’s specific problem involves arthritis creating calcium deposits that crowd the nerve shaft and put pressure on it. The arthritis simultaneously pinches his nerve and destroys its protective sheathing thereby exposing it. Holy ouch.
He called the other day to tell me he had back surgery last week. Such timing! The pain had simply gone on too long and he couldn’t bear it anymore. No other options were helping. And for the first time in as long as I can remember I could hear him smiling over the phone. Surgery was successful and relief immediate. With his cloud of pain obliterated, my dad is back. Take that DPS!
Some days I wake up and wonder what the hell I’m doing with this cleanse. Then I think of what these past few years have been like for my dad and I remember. I’m giving my body a chance to heal itself naturally before it’s too late and I have to consider drastic options.
Always a skeptic when it comes to western medicine (also self-employed with no health insurance), I’ve said I don’t consider surgery an option for myself. It is most likely that my specific issues have not degenerated to the point his did because of my age, which buys me time to explore my body’s healing potential. While I continue to feel this way, I am also enormously grateful that procedures and technology have advanced so far in recent years that surgery is now a viable alternative to those who have run out of others.
Welcome back Popo. You were missed.