COLUMN: Of aches and pains


I haven’t written much here lately, as I’ve been laid up with a bad back. Work, home, work, home…lather, rinse, repeat. That’s been my life essentially since early October.

On my birthday, my back started feeling…off. Something went out of whack. It really was only a matter of time, as I’m in need of a new hip and have been walking with a limp and then a cane, having adjusted my gait to compensate for the pain.

Finally, my back balked. The problem was mostly muscular in nature; that is until it wasn’t. I have had back problems in the past, but I had never had sciatica.

Until mid-October. Pain ran down from my lower back down the back of both legs and into my calves. Each step hurt, and pain meds didn’t do much to alleviate the pain.

I finally broke down and reached out to Dr. Matthew McCabe at Peach Physiotherapy. My body’s response has been up and down, but mostly up. I am generally feeling better, receiving weekly treatments and doing stretching exercises at home.

However, where I used to only need my cane when walking around outside the house, I’m now using it around the house and at work. And my sleep is interrupted with pain to the point I have to do pelvic stretches in the middle of the night to alleviate matters. Sometimes it seems like I wake up every hour to deal with the discomfort.

I do feel more mobile and in less pain thanks to McCabe’s efforts. It’s progressing. As I type this, let’s just say the sciatica is a pain in the butt.

Meanwhile, I finally got a date with Dr. John Turnbull, one of the excellent orthopedic surgeons here. I had no idea how long I’d be in his office. I was quite surprised to be back at The Voice about 30 minutes after my scheduled appointment time.

He’s efficient, for sure. One look at my X-rays and a check on the mobility of my left hip joint had me out of there, with an operation date booked. Instead of flowers and candy for Valentine’s Day, the good doc is giving me a new hip.

I cannot wait. Then again, I stupidly waited too long to begin the hip-replacement process.

As some readers know, my right hip is metal. Severe arthrosis and slightly deformed bones are to blame there. The arthritis has since progressed in my left hip to the point the joint has disintegrated. What’s left is bone on bone, essentially.

I let it progress to this point due to my stubbornness and COVID-19. I didn’t want to go into the hospital during the pandemic for multiple reasons, one of which was that the hospital regularly had outbreaks of COVID-19. Another reason was the fact procedures such as hip and knee replacements were put on hold at times during the pandemic.

Furthermore, when such restrictions were lifted, I knew there would be a backlog of people in dire need of immediate surgical procedures of all kinds and I figured my hip could wait.

Well, now it has progressed to the point my quality of life had taken a big hit.

I let the pandemic paint me into a corner. What’s worse, I’m the one who bought the paint and paintbrush.

Hospitals have for months reported that people held off having procedures due to the pandemic, and when they finally signed up for them, their ailments were more acute due to waiting. I’m certainly ensconced in this group.

But come February, everything changes. In the meantime, working with Doc McCabe should help increase my mobility and lessen the back pain.


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