Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Modern Torture Chambers--or--What I Have in Common with Keira Knightley

I'm going to be an old lady for just a moment and talk about my sciatica. I have sciatica and if I stand too long or walk on a flat surface my leg hurts like the dickens, my foot falls asleep and it just plain feels like an electric shock running up and down my leg. I found out that the numbness can lead to nerve damage and that I better check it out.

I went into the doctor and he prescribed an MRI. By the way the MRI is really a modern day torture device masquerading as a medical instrament--I am sure of it. First they strip you naked and put on an ugly drape and then they keep asking you questions like, "Do you have any metal inside your body--you better tell us, because if you don't the MRI is going to rip it out of your body and then you'll be sorry if you lie to us about the metal in your body." I kept telling them, "I have metal staples in me from a gall bladderectomy" but then they just said, "Oh those metal type things don't count."

So I entered the room with that tunnel terrified. Then they shove you onto this little board that stuffs you in this thing like toothpaste going back into the tube. If the fear of the staples emerging from your body like the alien from Aliens or the claustrophobia don't get you then there's the noise. It seems impossible that aligning your electrons to form a picture could be so incredible loud--but it is.

This is all beside the point. The point is that one of my discs is being squeezed out of my spine and poking into nerves that cause the painful condition known as sciatica. The radiologist (who turned out to be my brother's best friend from high school) had me come back to his den of wisdom and told me, "The pain you're feeling is real!" Like I should be congratulated for not being delusional!

He thought that I didn't have to have surgery and could maybe take care of it all through physical therapy. Yeah!

So I go to a lovely man who turns out to be a high school buddy of my husband for physical therapy. (I prefer not knowing my doctors--I believe in medical anonymity.) He's great. We do some yoga like moves, he tells me to get my blood pumping on a recumbent bike, he shows me a wonderful power point presentation on my condition and then he pulls out this big, black corset and proceeds to put it on me.

At first I thought there was no way this corset is going to fit around my waist and then I notice all of the Velcro. He got the end through the buckle and started to pull and pull and pull. He laughed and said, "Now you look like Keira Knightley, in Pirates of the Carribean." I looked at him and said, "No one has ever said that to me before," but I thought "yeah, right."

He put me on a treadmill and hooked the corset to straps that go to a scaffolding connected to the treadmill. Then he turned a nob that slowly makes me weigh less by lifting me slightly off the treadmill. He said it was to take pressure of my spine. He set it at 40 pounds lighter and then set the treadmill timer for 3 minutes. The scaffolding pulled me up--except now there is a problem, the corset slipped up and took my breasts with it. I looked down and ouldn't believe my eyes. Somehow over the last 2 minutes I turned into Dolly Parton and the corset kept moving up.

I looked scary and I was scared. I looked over at the helper with desperation in my eyes. She cane over and said "This looks like it needs to be tightened a bit more so it doesn't ride up." She tightened it up and while I was grateful that it wasn't pushing my breasts to my forehead I was starting to have a problem breathing. She set the timer for 2 more minutes. The longest two minutes of my life.

Then, because I am prone to delusional optimism, I realized I do have something in common with Keira Knightley--a corset does do wonders.


  1. That sounds so fun!!!!! I only wish I was there to see you! Cheers for doctors and physical therapists--and I'm glad the pain that you are feeling is real and not imagined!

  2. Keira Knightley's got nothing on you!

  3. Sounds like an adventure! I hope your sciatica gets better!

  4. nic job!

    come check out my blog:

  5. I have a few machines in my office you might like!!