back update

Hey, y'all,* I went for a walk today. An honest-to-goodness walk, out the door, down the street, two blocks west, stopping at the 7-Eleven parking lot. Why didn't I go into the 7-Eleven for a soda? Because that company actively campaigns for AIDS in Africa. If you don't believe me, ask the guy who lives behind the dumpster in the 7-Eleven parking lot. He's going to bring that evil empire down.

For most folks, strolling a few blocks to look at a 7-Eleven is no great accomplishment. For me, this is the equivalent of Spinal Tap finding a 15 on their amps. Granted, I had help. I need a walker to keep me straight, but already I can make it across the room without assistance. The main problem is not pain or muscular weakness (although I do need to build my core strength back up) but reduced feeling in my feet and legs. In other words, I can't quite tell when my body is straight, when my feet are properly in contact with the ground, or when someone is butting out a cigarette on my thigh. My legs are covered in burns left by somebody or other.

Over the last few days I've been asked a few questions about my surgery, my current condition, my imperviousness to drowning, etcetera. Here are a few:

So, how is the post-op back?

The post-op back contains: 1) a 3" vertical incision at the L4/L5 site, right where I was going to get a sexy back tatoo, with several staples holding the wound together. Beneath the skin, a reduced disc and shaved-down vertebrae are doing their job pain-free. Some stabilizer muscles are exhibiting neurological weakness, so I have exercises a-plenty to do.

How's your pain?

There is no pain. There is only boredom. And then there is a DVD of Pretty in Pink, which Abigail Road brought by today.

Just curious about one thing, though. You can't walk, you can't stand up straight, you can't work ... yet, the medical care system considers this to be elective surgery?

Yup. The criterion for emergency cases is incontinence. I considered pissing on my doctor to get my surgery moved up.


I recommend taking this as an opportunity to manifest all of your worst personality traits and when people complain just point out that it's part of the healing process.

This is not a question, but it's an awfully good suggestion. Seriously. After I came home from the hospital, the pain and frustration began to pour out of me, as if the surgeons had nicked some bloated cyst during the operation. I felt anxious, angry and mean, a panic that followed me into and out of sleep, like a dolphin keeping pace with the prow of a boat. And then there's the ugliest question of all: what if my life is no better once the pain is removed? That one makes me sick to my stomach. But then I remember that I walked to the parking lot of the 7-Eleven with Schmutzie this evening, and we laughed all the way. And all the way back.

I don't mean to pry here, but a few paragraphs back you implied that your wife burnt you with cigarettes. Is this true?

Yes. She also chokes me during sex, except we're not really having sex when she does it. She calls it sex, but that's her code word for "trying to escape the apartment again". Please contact the police.