Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Back Pain

My back hurts.

It's been hurting for quite some time.  I had x-rays taken the other day and the doctor reported that there was degenerative damage in several places on my spine.  I can hear grinding every time I turn my head from side to side. 

I've been dealing with the arthritis in my body since I was fifteen years old.  The pain and the immobility is nothing new to me.  I've been on so many different medications over the years that I can't even name them all. 

I don't tell you this to obtain pity or sympathy, only for you to fully appreciate my situation.  Despite the fact that the doctors have always told me that I can't do any sort of aerobic activity, I've been successfully, although somewhat clumsily, been participating in a Zumba class for over a year.  My joints sometimes ache and swell, but I keep pressing on in spite of the pain.

Lily Tomlin is "The Incredible Shrinking Woman"
I have dealt with the swelling, the pain, and the weight gain for more than half of my life.  But here's what has made me mad.  At a recent appointment the nurse measured my height.  I have shrunk a quarter of an inch!!  I am outraged.  I made the nurse remeasure me three times.  I was in total disbelief that I had shrunk.  Shrinking is what old people and Lily Tomlin do and, while I'm no spring chicken anymore, I don't think I'm exactly at the point where I should be shrinking!  (I have also not been exposed to any unusual combinations of household cleaners that might explain my situation.)  I'm already vertically challenged and consider every inch I have as a precious commodity. 

The realization of my vertical descent has moved me to action.  I am considering going to a chiropractor.  I can already hear my mother yelling, "Nooo!"  at the computer screen.  We were raised to have an sure and undisputed distrust of any person who has a "Dr." before their name but no "M.D." after it.  In short, I was raised to believe that art of chiropractic care is largely hokum.  I look at chiropractors with the same mistrust as dentists, with their fluoride treatments and tooth whitening systems. 

However, a friend of mind from high school is now a chiropractor.  I respect him and his practice, so I am ignoring all of my instincts and considering calling his office.  Up until this point, the closest I've come to a spinal adjustment is having a tall person stand behind me and, while I cross my arms in front of me giving myself a bear hug, they pick me up off my feet by my elbows.  I'm sure that's frowned upon in the chiropractic community, but it does lead to a satisfying cracking sound.

This is my nightmare.
Before I go to the chiropractor I need to find out if there is any nakedness involved.  I am a very shy and conservative person.  I am uncomfortable being undressed to any degree in front of anybody.  I tolerate medical professionals seeing my skin, but really try to avoid it as much as possible.  I get through it by reminding myself that it is very clinical.  But if I go to see my chiropractor friend, it won't seem as clinical because I know him.  Quite honestly, I did not perfect the art of changing from my clothes into my uniform in the back of the Lancer Band bus in high school without exposing any part of myself to the peering eyes of Ed Robinson just so that I can disrobe in front of Joe Manza twenty years and three C-sections later in a well-lit exam room. 

But this is how desperate I have become.  I am willing to go to a chiropractor, not so much to alleviate my pain, but with the hope that somehow, if my vertebrae are stacked correctly, I will regain my lost quarter inch. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

It has come to my attention that April is not only National Poetry Month, but also International Guitar Month, National Frog Month, and Stress Awareness Month.  This is fantastic news since I frequently have trouble thinking of things to write about.  Now I have at least four topics to choose from.  Yeah!

So to kick things off, I thought I would submit for your reading pleasure a selection of poetry written by yours truly for my high school English class.  I always loved English class because I could write all sorts of crazy stuff and the teachers would just eat it up!  Except for Miss Wells.  Miss Wells did not find my quirky writing style at all amusing.  But my English teacher from 3rd period in 1992 loved it!

So, here it is.  The assignment was to write a parody of a famous poem.  I chose Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven."

The Raving (Mad)

Once upon a morning pretty, as I'm feeling kinda' witty,
Cracking jokes about some book of really weird forgotten lore --
As I sat there, being funny, suddenly there came my buddy,
Saying that he's going to study, study for a high test score.
"It's and easy test," I muttered, "of which you want a high test score --
Study this and nothing more."

Startled at my bitter tone, and the way I gave a groan,
"Doubtless," said he, "you don't know just what you're for,
Caught in some bad situation along with the whole nation
As you stand by the bus station to buy chicken from the store!
Buying chicken from the frozen counter in the grocery store.
Buying that, and nothing more."

My teacher's comment was "Terminally weird!  I love this!"  I got an A+.  This was, by far, my favorite class in high school.  Where else could you turn in something like that and get an A?  Poor Poe is spinning in his grave.  I would have written more, but mocking a great poet is exhausting.

I remember writing this one while sitting on the bleachers watching my boyfriend at track practice.  I honestly don't know why I was there.  Watching people run in circles in the cold is not my idea of a good time.  Plus, as I recall, it was pretty windy that day.  He must have been my ride home from school.  I don't remember ever going to the track ever again.  Anyhow, here's the poem I wrote.

Feet pound hard on the
    black gravel
While the sharp wind
      through the bodies of men
      to beat the competition in blue.

That's just how I wrote it on the paper.  All scattered like that.  Mr. WhatsHisName loved it; thought I was a real deep thinker.  Oh, those were the days!

For my final poem, if you could stand to read this far down, the assignment was to write a really terrible poem.  No problem!  I clearly excel at this!

The Puppy

I had a little puppy.
His fur was soft and brown.
He got a little jumpy,
And he ran into the street and got hit by a humongous Mack truck.

Frog playing a guitar.
Okay, so technically it's a banjo, but it fulfills the rest of the criteria
for International Guitar Month, National Frog Month, and Stress Awareness Month.
After all, Kermit the Frog playing a guitar... what's more stress relieving than that?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Easter Candy

A friend of mine mentioned the other day that he believes the Easter M&Ms taste better than regular M&Ms.  I have very strong feelings about this and my husband, unfortunately, falls on the opposite side of the argument.  This is a big cause for contention in our marriage. 

Any chocolate connoisseur will tell you that, first of all, the red M&Ms taste the best.  Secondly, holiday versions of any kind of candy always taste better.  My husband disagrees and insists that I am simply falling prey to a marketing scheme.  I disregard his argument because he also makes statements like, "I'm not in the mood for chocolate."  I know those words, but that sentence makes no sense.  If I'm breathing, I'm in the mood for chocolate.  I honestly don't even need to be awake.  Seriously, I have eaten cookies while sleep walking.  It's a real problem.

Holiday themed candy always tastes better than ordinary, run-of-the-mill candy.  This also applies to Oreos with the special colored filling.  An Oreo always tastes better with robin-egg blue or sunny yellow filling in the Spring, red or green in December, and orange in October.  My husband can claim any kind of marketing blabidy-blah that he wants, but I know better.  I know that it really does taste better.

I have a gift for candy.  I was once at work talking to my mom on the phone.  Suddenly, I heard a distinct sound in the background.  "Did someone just pour some M&Ms into a glass bowl?" I asked.  Indeed, my sister had just gone into the kitchen and poured a satisfying pile of candy into a bowl.  I also was able to detect, over the phone, mind you, that they were peanut M&Ms.  It's a gift... and a curse.

Chocolate that is won as a prize is also more delicious.  When I was a kid I entered a contest in the Irondequoit Press and won a 3-foot chocolate rabbit from Stever's Candy Shop.  It was one of the three things that I ever won in my entire life.  Truly, anything from Stever's is a win.  My husband recently bought me (well, us) a box of dark chocolate orange bark from the charming little chocolate shop.  (By the way, for someone who has to be "in the mood" for chocolate, he sure did pound it down!  Guess he was in the mood!)  While the orange bark was scrumptious, there was something especially satisfying about eating the chocolate that I had won, the chocolate that I obtained by defeating other children.  It was the spoils of competition.  I could taste the victory, and I liked it!

Possibly the only thing that tastes better than candy that is won, is candy that is stolen from your children when they aren't looking.  I know how that sounds, but I don't care.  Candy is not good for kids.  I like to think of it as providing a service for them that keeps them from over eating and making themselves sick.  Any parent knows that a mini Twix bar discreetly pulled from a Halloween bag tastes better than one you just pick up in the grocery store check-out lane.  I guess it's the thrill of the hunt.

Even after my very solid arguments, my husband is not convinced there is a difference.  He can think anything he wants, as long as he doesn't mind being wrong.  Besides, that leaves more pastel M&Ms for me.  :-)