Thanks for the notes inquiring about my back
- My sciatica.
- My spondilolythesis.
- My herniated discs.
- My fractured sacrum.
- My psychosomatic illnesses with a dose of hypochondriacism.
If you have back problems or are considering manifesting your psychological pain via your back, here are the 7 stages of grieving you can expect. If you’re like me, you’ll want to rush through all of these in less than 6 months (my dad spread it out over 10 years but he likes pain because it keeps him humble and spiritual).
I’m not like other people. I don’t like pain. Most of my life is about avoiding pain and seeking pleasure, which I know isn’t healthy after devouring no fewer than 20 self-help books in the past few months. I’m in search for a lasting harmony, tranquility, mental/physical fitness, spirituality, happiness and positivity. Of course, changing one’s mind and daily habits turns out to be a lot more work than taking pills, eating cereal and living on YouTube.
So what can you expect if you’re experiencing back pain, or are scheduled to do so soon?
1. Denial. Back pains are for old people. Pretend not to notice. Oh- is your leg falling asleep while you walk? Strange pain dancing diagonally across your ass? Does your spine feel like a weathered locust shell? Hit snooze on the physical alarm clock and sleep as long as you can.
2. Acceptance: Make a video and mention the symptoms. Someone in the comments will tell you it’s sciatica. Your doctor will confirm it, and stick you into a battery of tests. Make a video celebrating the stupid things you did to your back to get you where you are today… Remember- humor is a coping mechanism.
3. Get Testy: Run through a series of tests including xrays, MRIs, and anal-cavity searches. Hey wait- Dr. Mason had both of his hands on my shoulders during that last test.
4. Bargain: Ignore the realities of the fractured bones, pinched nerves and herniated disks. Go to physical therapy twice a week for two months (get a frozen coffee on the way out instead of paying your co-pay). Then read Dr. Sarno’s book that says it’s all in your mind. Seems you’re repressing anger. Get more depressed now, because in addition to that shooting, stabbing, piercing back pain… you’re also discovering that you’re psychologically weak. Good news- the depression will lead to anxiety, which will in turn make your back feel worse.
5. Despair: Strangers start saying to you, “are you okay?” because your face apparently looks like an Emo dentist in Finland. Drive to work crying like a baby (try the breathy sob like you’re auditioning for Stealing Magnolia). Stop in a park and fall asleep by a lake. Wake up confused and sun burnt (good luck explaining that at work). Remember only the painful memories of life, and project them upon the future as a dark, perpetually pained existence. Picture yourself an old crabby man bitching at his grand kids and forgetting where he put his “oops I shit in my pants” diapers.
6. Epidural. Feel like a pregnant lady (and look like one too, considering the extra lbs you’ve put on) by getting an epidural. Float out feeling like it’s all behind you. Then the anesthesia wears off. Sore that night. But the next day…. ahhhhhhhh. Life returns? You may make a video again. Even the annoying guy at work is only irritating not chalk-board scratching torture. Woah- you can walk, bend over and sleep? Hey- you can even wiggle your hips. Where’d Doctor Mason go?
7. Haven’t Gotten There Yet. But here’s a disgusting picture for you! I took this photo after I ripped a chunk out of my back in a mad rage on Tuesday morning. But then my babysitter‘s dog (Rusty) ran home with it.