Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Needle

I've just returned from the Physiatrist's office, where two things happened:
(1) he did a nerve conductance test to verify the exact placement of the injured, inflamed muscle
(2) he shot me up three times with cortisone and marcaine, right into the piriformis muscle on my left side.

I have these comments about each:
(1) Apparently, when the piriformis was put into a stretch (rather uncomfortable), the nerve response was nearly zero. The thing is in spasm and swollen so badly that it's almost shutting down my sciatic nerve on the left side. It's a wonder I don't just fall over when I try to walk on my left leg.
(2) Ouch. Ouch ouch ouch. Did I mention ouch? Picture this: I'm curled up in a near-fetal position in my underwear, and the Dr. is inserting this big 5 inch long horse needle into my hip, to deliver the meds right to the injury. I'm sweating bullets and trying just to breathe. He tells me midway through that I'm "doing well", but what he can't see is that I've begun to grind my teeth into small bits, my eyes are beginning to pop out, and I have a miniature version of Niagara Falls made of perspiration running down my back. When he would actually hit upon the injured muscle with the tip of the needle, it would sort of "snap" in a painful reaction. Man, eye-watering pain ... luckily only for a few seconds.

Now, take all of that, and multiply it by three.

My advice if you ever get this shot: do not, under any circumstances, actually look at the needle. Trust me.

The plan:
I start physical therapy later this week, and hope that I can learn some new stretches and/or strengthening exercises to get this thing under control and then keep it that way. The Doc said I could start running very slowly and gingerly in "about a week", depending on what the Physical Therapist said. However, he said my first runs should be only 1-2 miles long. Ahem. That's not really a "run", but what the heck, I must not complain at all if this is getting me back to running, even if on an extended timetable.

My summer is a complete wash anyway in terms of running. Once again, I now attempt a comeback. When you get to be my age, you look back at your running career and realize that it's really just a long series of comebacks!

But, you know what they say, there is no shame in falling down, only in not getting back up again.


  1. Wow, Douglas, that sounds awful. But I guess the good news is that you can start running again, even if in short spurts. Let me know if you want company.

  2. Douglas - You have my most sincere sympathy! I will pray for all of you... as I know from experience that living with a runner who can NOT run is painful for everyone!
    Tell M that I send my best to her and the little one!


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