It’s only March, but spring has sprung - prematurely with temperatures of 90 degrees and 90% humidity already, and everything has taken off. And this is tempting me down the same degenerate path as actress Kristen Johnson.
Everything is growing like mad all over the 30 acres of jungle that Mrs. Gagg and I have to try keep under control.
Life is a purgatory of mulching, weeding, mowing, pruning, digging, fertilizing, composting, fixing fences - in addition to an unrealistic number of not just maintenance projects we have going.
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And it all centers right about L5/S1.
That is, it gets you in your lumbar spine - and one of my facet joints in particular (where the lower part of one vertebra articulates with the one below) which is presumably wearing out and probably fossilizing.
And it makes you grimace and groan as you struggle to stand up from weeding or when you roll out of bed in the mornings, like some nonagenarian crone.
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I went to Dr K., the orthopedist. He tentatively brought up Physical Therapy - but I told him “get real.” There’s no chance of my having the discipline to be compliant with that - so he sends me to my interventional radiologist buddy J. McL - for a cortisone shot.
An interventional radiologist, as the name suggests, intervenes - with needles, tubes, catheters and any other implement of torture they can think of. All under X-ray guidance - so they supposedly know which organ or part of the body the offending implement is in - which is why it is a radiologist doing it and not just a communal-garden sadist.
As an aside, the pay structure in medicine is insane. You get paid up the wazoo for any kind of procedure, and nothing for “cognitive skills” - i.e. your intellect, knowledge, diagnostic abilities - all that grueling brain work that is required to manage those little old ladies with ten diseases on twenty medicines.
Interventional radiologists are proceduring all day long, thus are fabulously rich - and nowadays every medical students wants to be one (instead of those super versatile, much needed grunts of the medical profession, Family Physicians).
But I have always pulled J.McL’s leg about how he tortures people all day, and how I’m sure he did his Internship at the Tower of London.
So when I text him and tell him “Dr K. wants you to give me a facet block” he responds immediately, and I can sense the alacrity with which he tells me he will be “extremely happy” to do so.
Well I go to see him in the office he’s just moved in to - which just happens to be across the road from the local Hooters, which, I tell him, “I presume was why you picked this location?”
Do they have special S&M Hooters?
So, he gives me a shot, and it’s really not too bad, and I even get a slight improvement after a couple of days, but then we relapse, and basically it really hasn’t done a whole lot. I told him, “next time use the real thing, not the placebo” when he suggests a re-do.
But in the mean time, I have discovered ibuprofen. The occasional one at night, when you remember, doesn’t do a whole lot. But taking two (400 mg) twice a day regular as clockwork is fairly good - though I’m still pretty seized up after we had to cut down a large tree and take down a fence to build a deck by the pool.
But then the dog gets sick. First of all, won’t put weight on his left front leg, and is just lying around unwilling to even go from one room to the next. Won’t eat. Just miserable - this is this half Great Dane, half Lab’, daft as a brush, partly due to a terrible mishap when he was six months old and (somehow) got trapped under the house with his left rear leg hooked over a pipe. No one knew he was there, and he was without food or water for ten days, until the smell from his now gangrenous back leg alerted us (that and the sudden new groaning noise from the crawl space under the bedroom when my daughter was getting ready to go to school one morning).
The gangrenous leg removed by the local vet and never looked back - so it appeared. But having just one back leg has caused the hip joint of the remaining leg to wear out and become extremely arthritic - shown on an x-ray the vet took when we took him in to see why he was suddenly so under the weather.
The pain from this is what was making him so miserable and inactive, was the vet’s diagnosis. So she prescribed him some Rimadyl - a Pfizer product that contains carprofen, and is “the #1 prescribed canine NSAID* in the world,”and “the #1 reason” for your dog to wag his tail, that will make him “adventurous, frisky, playful, energetic, healthy, lively, bouncy, curious, colorful, active, spunky”… and “a true RimaDog!” according to the website - they must have some really highly paid copy writers at Pfizer.
So the dog is on pretty much the same medicine as I have been treating myself with, or prescribing for my patients for years (It always amazes me how it seems you can get any kind of treatments for animals that is available for humans - the vet offered us a doggy total hip replacement as well).
Not that I was seriously considering it, and didn’t even dare ask the price. But within a day, all thoughts of the dog needing surgery were banished - by the fact that he was tearing around just like his old self, or better.
So that got me thinking. Maybe I could be adventurous, frisky, playful, energetic, healthy, lively, bouncy, curious, colorful, active and spunky?
Which brings me to Kristen Johnston, who is battling addiction according to a piece in the London Daily Mail.
She was stealing Vicodin from her mother, who had just had knee surgery - which is pretty low dog (if you’ll pardon the canine pun). But then she stooped to the ultimate low.
She was “taking pain killers prescribed to my own sweet dog.”
Who Should Get the Medicine?
*NSAID stands for non-steroidal anti inflammatory medicine, like ibuprofen (in Advil and Motrin), naproxen (in Aleve), aspirin, or one of numerous of prescription arthritis medicines.