Bobbe got his MRI done and to nobody's surprise, has a ruptured disc low in his LS spine. Armed with this diagnosis, he should be able to get surgery, having gotten by the Catch-22 that kept him from the diagnostic test. His story of how arcane the process has been is scary. Suffice it to say that if you have health insurance, best you keep it paid up, and if not, consider getting some, even if you have to scrimp elsewhere to afford a high deductible. The insurance card gets you in the door. Without it, the process can be awful.
My son-in-law is home day before yesterday from the hospital, post-op his discectomy. He walked around with a cane, doped to eyeballs and in major pain for months because his medical insurance wanted to try PT first before they spent the money on an MRI. When they finally realized the treatment wasn't going to work, they did the test, and lo, a ruptured spinal disc, which also surprised no one. Worse, because he had a fair amount of scar tissue involved, microsurgery wasn't enough to do the trick.
Insurance companies are all too often pennywise, but pound foolish. What is cheap in the short run might cost a lot more later. Somehow, they never seem to catch on to that.
Yeah, yeah, the conservative treatment first, because a lot of minor disc problems do resolve on their on that way, but if it is long-standing and obviously more serious a problem, there is no reason to allow a patient to suffer.
Offhand, I know half a dozen other people who have had the same back malaise. Some suffered for months, even years, with severe pain, numbness or tingling in the legs, the inability to put on their pants and socks without lying down on a bed.
The U.S. medical system ranks 37th in the world. And people fall between the cracks of the system every day because we don't have universal health care. That is a shame. Richest nation on Earth ought to do better than that. When people die because they can't afford treatment, there is something terribly wrong. If we can afford wars, we can afford to pay for Granny's meds so she doesn't have to go to Canada or Mexico or simply do without.
Early this week, I strained my own low back. I don't think I blew out a spacer so I can't bitch too much; still, it hurts enough so that picking up a shoe requires a full, and carefully-done, squat, and even so, if I tilt port or starbard whilst doing it, I get the two-by-four with a nail-sticking-out-of-it whack across my lower back. If you have felt this, you know what it is. If you haven't, you might be one of the fortunate 15% or so who never has back problems. You won the lottery and you should feel blessed.
Yesterday, trying to hurry it up, I used one of those rolling-up-and- down-the-back massage pads you can sit on, and let it run too long. I also pushed a few stretches a bit too far, the result of which is that this morning, it hurts worse than it did the day before. Clever, hey?
Normally one of those people who does well physically, I've had a shoulder, knee, and now my back giving me grief in the last year. Doesn't whoever is in charge realize that this isn't supposed to happen to me? Don't they know that I'm supposed to be healthy, fit, and save for a few wrinkles, immune the ravages of time until I fall over dead at the age of a hundred and nine?
(For some reason the story of Muhammad Ali, the boxer, on an airliner comes to mind. The flight attendant passed by him. "Sir, you need to buckle your seatbelt," she said. Ali said, "Superman don't need no seatbelt!" To which she responded, "Yeah, and Superman don't need no airplane, either.")
So, it's off to the hot tub and one of those little pills they gave me for my knee that I never needed, and a lot less activity today.
Somebody kicks in my door looking for trouble, I'm going to have to shoot them. Be their own fault for picking the wrong house on the wrong day ...