the further adventures of

Mike Pirnat

a leaf on the wind

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Would You Like Crippling Pain With That?

I was really excited and happy to be heading up to Grand Beach, Michigan, for the three-day weekend. The weather was looking excellent. We'd be staying near the beach. The wine trail was abundant with tasting opportunities. I had been released early from work, and it was shaping up to be a close approximation of a perfect Friday. Relaxation, sunshine, and good times were to be upon me all weekend long!

As is so often the case, life is what happens while you're making other plans.

When I woke up on Saturday morning, all well-rested and ready to go, I discovered that my knees didn't work. At all. As I attempted to get out of bed and downstairs for breakfast, I quickly discovered that my back wasn't terribly operational either.

Over the next two days, I slowly learned the rules of the game, merciless, uncaring, blinding pain my teacher. Stairs and any kind of sloped surface triggered the knee pains, an intense, burning, prickling sensation. Standing up, sitting down, laying down, or trying to hold my body in an orientation that wasn't Just Right would set off the uncontrollable spasms of back pain, cascading up and down my spine like an earthquake, leaving me gasping for breath. Once situated and correctly supported, whether standing, seated, or prone, I would be blissfully pain-free; but woe betide me when it was time to change positions--the unassisted transition from lying prone to hobbling off to the bathroom was particularly excruciating.

By Sunday evening, it became clear that this wasn't going to just magically go away on its own, so we paid a visit to the Back Pain aisle of the nearest CVS to invest in a back brace, heating pads, and various makes and models of pain killer. I noted with grim irony the placement of the back pain medications: a shelf near my knee, just inches out of reach, impossible to pick up in my condition.

Luckily I have managed to get my pain down to a tolerable level and regained enough of my mobility to go to work today (whee). I'm still nowhere near 100%, but I am at least somewhat functional, which is a lot better than I have been in the past 72 hours. I'm not entirely sure what I did to myself, but I think it has something to do with the spending half an hour coughing nasal drainage out of my stomach last Thursday morning, and sleeping on a really poor mattress during that first night in Grand Beach.

At this point, though, I don't care what I did, as long as I can get back to moving around again. It's amazing (and frightening) how small the world gets when you just can't stand up.

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