Well, it’s happening again. Those poor souls who have been following my blogging will recall my commentary about a variety of health concerns that are working to erode this once fabulous body. I mentioned that in order to be given a sense of importance, a disease or condition needs to be given a lengthy name that is commonly expressed in a group of letters. My current afflictions are MGUS (monoclonal gammopathy of unknown significance); possible CIDP (chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy; a touch infrequently of BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo); and now a new one not yet given an official name.

This new creature actually is not really new; it is expressed by collateral damage associated with significant arthritis and expresses itself most regularly, and constantly, by pain throughout all areas of the back by causing the muscles attached to the nerves issuing from the spinal column to knot up. I’ve been fighting with this for several years, and was understandably upset when MRI’s led to a diagnosis of a degenerating spine. The pain was bad, but being referred to as “a degenerate” only magnified my discomfort. I requested that they begin using a different term, such as “deterioration”. One other blow came from having a CAT scan of the head, and the report pronounced my head as “unremarkable”. From my training in physical anthropology, I know that my cranium is in the ultrahyperdolicocephalic category, which is rare (it also causes problems when buying hats; long and skinny but sheltering a giant brain), AND remarkable!

I was told that there wasn’t much to be done about it, and should probably chalk it up to the ravages of aging. However, more recently I began to have pain and stiffness in the neck, along with a knot in the muscles there. My local doctor suggested a couple of MRI’s, and subsequently referred me to a neurosurgeon last week. The reports indicated, in addition to the previous damage, that there is something impinging upon the spinal cord in the cervical spine, and more testing is indicated; during the next two weeks I will have the electrical impulses measured, and have a myelogram of the whole spine. A strong treatment candidate is fusing a number of vertebrae in the cervical and possibly the thoracic areas; depending upon the outcome of the testing, it would be determined whether to go in anteriorly (from the front) or posteriorly (from the back of the neck). I just hope they wouldn’t get creative and go in through my left ear.

Anyway, when the anterior possibility was mentioned, I was excited because that’s the same thing as Peyton Manning’s situation. I immediately contacted the Denver Broncos to see if they could use me as a backup quarterback, and mentioned that I’m the same size as NFL quarterbacks (6’3”, 200 lbs.). I neglected to tell them that it’s distributed differently. Anyway, they said that the best they could do for me would be a cameo appearance in one of his Papa John’s commercials.

As you may imagine, I’m not looking forward to the next several months. Things like 3-4 days in the hospital, pain, rehabilitation incarceration, pain, daily 3 hours of therapy, pain, no driving and in particular no golf, the latter for maybe 6 months. I’ve arranged a tee time here in Wyoming for December 5. Of course, none of this is yet known, only mentioned as possibilities. A lot will depend upon how what’s left of my body responds to recovery. And just as I’ve mastered my golf game.

But I now have a name for the malady. PITA. It’s a real Pain in the Ass!

Always Be Happy To Our Youth

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