The Continuing Saga of my Wife’s Hurt Back

It had been a week since my wife’s first visit to the doctor for her back pain. After a surprisingly short time in the clinic, the doctor had concluded without a shred of evidence that my wife had a muscle strain, causing the unbearable pain in her back and her legs to go numb. She prescribed two medications, a steroid and a muscle relaxer, convinced that they would both relieve her pain, and heal her body, but they did neither, which is why I found myself crossing three lanes of traffic at the last second to get into the turn lane for this chiropractic clinic that my wife had found online. We opened the door to the clinic, the lobby was dark and empty, and the girl behind the desk said welcome to “The Joint.” That’s right, the fate of my wife’s back lies in the hands of a place named something that sounds more like a hip new restaurant or a local bar than a doctor’s office, but without many other options, we continued on inside and my wife filled out the seven pages of paperwork, which turned out to take longer than the actual time spent with the chiropractor.

While she was filling out the forms, a man in his mid twenties walked in and scanned a keychain at the front desk, as if he had security clearance at a top secret government facility. The scanner beeped its recognition and he took his seat. A few minutes later a doctor summoned him to the back, where loud noises ensued. It sounded like someone was picking a heavy table off of the ground from one end, then slamming down against a marble floor as hard as they possibly could. I feared for the man’s life back there, sure that he was being beaten to death, not that I made any attempt to help or avert my eyes from the book I was reading, but after a couple minutes of the mayhem, he walked back out into the lobby like nothing had happened. After a few minutes, my wife was told to go into the back to meet the doctor and the receptionist asked if I would be joining my wife, to which I politely declined, opting to sit in the lobby and strain my eyes reading “Story of a Sociopath” by Julia Navarro. Perhaps the story is about me, the man who refused to join his wife when she went to consult with the chiropractor, but I haven’t read that far yet.

After only about ten minutes, and some more of the crashing sounds, my wife returned, feeling better than she had in more than a week. The chiropractor told her that her alignment was off, that one leg was an inch longer than the other due to some sort of shift that had moved her spine slightly out of place, but not too worry, after a few more sessions, she was sure my wife would be healed. I have my doubts about the legitimacy of the practice, likening the chiropractor to the new age healer that turns George’s face purple in Seinfeld, but after two sessions my wife seems to be getting better and the pain has subsided drastically, so whatever the chiropractor is doing, seems to be working for the moment, and hopefully my wife will continue along this trajectory until she’s good as new, or at the very least, comfortable getting out of bed in the morning.

My Wife and Her Hurt Back

I’m currently sitting in the lobby of a building that looks more like a nice hotel than a walk-in doctor’s office, and watching Sports Center on a TV that is bigger than the one I have at home. I want to live here. As soon as I got off work today, I went home, picked up my wife and brought her here, to the Campbell clinic, so she can see a doctor about her back. I wrote last year about how she’d hurt her back working at Fedex, but luckily after a few days she was back to normal, and it never bothered her again, that is until this past weekend. Saturday morning she woke up with a terrible back pain, and no recollection of what could have possibly happened to have caused it. She took the dogs out to the bathroom before going to work, her daily ritual, and upon returning to the apartment, fell facedown onto the bed, tears in her eyes, due to the unbearable pain. I told her she shouldn’t go to work, but she, as she often does, didn’t take my advice, which usually works out in her favor, but this time would have been a smart decision.

Her back kept hurting throughout the day, and she had to keep stopping as she walked to her car after work, trying to regroup before continuing on in pain, once more. On the drive home her legs started becoming numb, more noticeably the right, which made it pretty difficult for her to drive home, taking great pains to move the leg which felt like a forty pound bag of flour, from the gas to the brake, and back again. She made it home safe, thankfully, but hasn’t driven again since that incident. Over the course of the last four days, the pain in her back and numbness in her legs has continued, to the point where she moves as little as possible because she can’t do so without excruciating pain. She hasn’t been able to go to work, but luckily today, her insurance came through and we are now at the doctor’s office seeking help.

We’ve been in here for only twenty minutes and she just got called back, so that’s a pretty positive thing, at least for me, being the type of person who hates waiting rooms and the people in them with a burning passion. I didn’t ask her if she wanted me to go back into the room with her because I was too busy typing and by the time I finished the sentence I was working on, and paused to ask, she was too far away to hear my question, so I think I’ll go try to find her. Be right back….Okay I found her, sort of. After being led through a maze of hallways by the nurse at reception, we arrived at the x-ray desk where another nurse just told me I could sit in the chairs (gesturing) to the right and told me my wife would be right out.

She’s finished with the x-ray and she and I are now sitting in the little room where the doctor should be arriving sometime soon. I don’t know what the diagnosis will be; my wife is guessing a pinched nerve, while I’m betting on cancer. The doctor just finished up, prescribing my wife pain killers and steroids (I always wanted to be married to someone like my childhood hero, Mark McGwire) and diagnosed her with a sprained muscle, and us on our way, not once acknowledging me, even in greeting as I sat in the room. I think she must have heard me tell my wife the thing about it being cancer and was not amused. Now we’re finally back home and my wife has her medication and I sincerely hope she starts to feel better very soon…It’s been rough on me having to help out around the house.

I Don’t Want to Get Old

A customer came into the bank today, someone my supervisor knew pretty well and they talked for a few minutes. We probably won’t ever see her again. The customer, an elderly woman, was being moved to Mississippi to live in an assisted living community, because she no longer feels comfortable living on her own. Recently she found herself in her car, waking up to someone tapping on her window at a stoplight, with no recollection how she ended up in that part of town. She had left her house that morning intending to go one place, but ended up somewhere completely different, causing her to come to the conclusion that she could no longer live by herself, so she’s giving her house and car away to her grandkids and moving to live closer to one of her sons, and while this is a very sad story, it’s not that uncommon. I had a man approach my window at work when I first started. He had thinning white hair with bruises and cuts all over his face. He walked slowly up to the counter where he withdrew money from his bank account. I had a nice conversation with him, and before he left, he asked if he could give me some advice. He told me three words, that I’ve been thinking about ever since, “Don’t get old.”

I have often thought about getting older, but the longer I work at the bank and see a lot of elderly people who struggle to do things that once came so easy to them, like fill out a withdrawal slip, add up the money they are trying to deposit, or even walk through the lobby, I can’t help but hope that I never reach that age. One of the saddest things to see, in my opinion, is an old person getting confused. They left their home knowing exactly what they wanted to do, but when they arrive at the grocery store or the bank, the struggle to remember why it is that they are even there. It’s heartbreaking to see people lose their independence, to live for so many years as an able human being, only to struggle to do basic things once they get older. I see the pain as they walk, the sadness in their eyes, as they try to accept that this is the way their life is now. I think a strong argument could be made for legalizing medically assisted euthanasia, because if you are constantly in pain, why should you be forced to continue living through it day after day.

The thought of dying is pretty scary to me, but the thought of living a life where I’m no longer able to do routine things, like drive or use the bathroom on my own, is even worse. I don’t want to die for a long time, but I hope that I’m lucky enough to do so before I come to despise living. Life is rarely easy, but there just comes a certain point where it gets so tough that it just isn’t worth it any more. I’m sure there are people out there who think that medically assisted suicide should never be legal, that it is a selfish act leaving loved ones behind to deal with the pain of loss, but I think it’s selfish to expect someone else to live in unimaginable pain, prolonging a life that will end eventually anyway, solely for the benefit of those around them.

Lying

I lie a lot, like every day. I’ve done it so much throughout my life that I hardly even think about it anymore, I just do it, and you know what? I really don’t even feel bad about it. I’m not sure that I actually ever did. Everybody lies, that’s a fact, so why shouldn’t I get to do it too? I was told growing up that lying was bad; every week I went to church and that message was hammered into my head time and time again, but still I couldn’t help myself. I was told that lying leads to more lying, which seemed pretty obvious to me, but supposedly that was supposed to keep me from doing it. The people telling me not to lie were hypocrites, they did it every day. Whether you want to admit it or not you lie too, and that’s just a matter of fact and there’s really no denying it.

Even the most sanctimonious people lie; Gandhi, Mother Theresa, the Pope, I know he lies constantly. Why is something that is so natural considered to be so morally wrong. Jesus said not to lie, but I’m willing to bet that in the days leading up to his death he did so on multiple occasions. I’m not trying to commit sacrilege, I’m just trying to expose the truth. Every human throughout history has been caught lying, and that doesn’t make them any less of a person. I actually look up to people who admit that they lie, rather than trying to hide this obvious truth. If someone says that they don’t lie I want to laugh in their face and call them a liar because I know with one hundred percent certainty that they do.

I didn’t wake up this morning with the desire to shed light on this subject, but over the course of the day it has eaten away at me, and I think it’s about time that the truth is out in the open. Just admit it, you lie as much as I do, maybe even more, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Lying is as natural to humans as eating, or using the bathroom, it’s something that we have to do to survive. Don’t you get it? You wouldn’t be able to make it in this world without lying, so I’m calling everyone to just be honest about it. I honestly don’t even remember the first time, but I know that in some way I was lying from the time I was born and now I continue that refreshing habit on a daily basis. The truth is about six to eight hours of each day I spend lying. I do so in the comfort of my bed as I sleep soundly. Heck, I’m even lying right now as I type out this blog about lying, because for me, maximum comfort is achieved when lying down. If this seems controversial to you then you are just lying to yourself because I bet at some point tonight, you too will lie in bed until it’s time to wake up in the morning.

New Year’s Resolutions and All That Crap

There is something beautiful about a blank page, pristinely white and unblemished, it’s blank face staring back at you, daring you to break the silence and write something, possibilities endless. Today, a lot of people see a blank page, the start of the new year, leave all the negative and unachieved dreams behind because there’s no room for that here, in the year where anything is possible. For me personally, I love all that crap about using this blank page of sorts to make improvements in my life or achieve goals that are important to me, and although I can’t recall a time that I’ve actually stuck to all my new year’s resolutions, that hasn’t diminished my hope, but rather that failure is what has me feeling more determined and hopeful than is generally the case on the first day of January.

If you read my blog yesterday, you know that one of my goals in 2016 was to read at least one book each week over the course of the year, totaling at least 52. I failed, and did so miserably, having only read 21, but I’m not going to let that discourage me, and am adding that first on my list of resolutions this year. Reading is very important to me not only because of the endless number of great books in the world that I must try to read before I die, but because I’m writing a book, and as the old adage goes, to be a great writer you must be a great reader. As far as writing goes, I have two resolutions this year; one, I will write a blog every single day, and two, I will write at least 1,000 words each day in my novel, until such a time arrives that I am satisfied with the work and feel that the story is complete.

Doing the blog each day should be the easier of the two goals as I’ve been doing it for about three months now, but it is still something that I have to work at and can’t let myself fall victim to laziness at any point. I think like the blog, hitting a daily word count for my book will become second nature once it’s part of my daily routine, so the first month or so will be crucial to achieving this goal. I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember, so I think it’s about time I quit just wanting it, and get on doing something about making it happen.

My fourth and final resolution steps away from literary goals I have and focuses on my overall health. I am resolving to only drink water based drinks; water, tea (unsweet), and coffee for the entirety of the year. I don’t need soda or sugary drinks, in fact, I prefer tea over everything else, as evidenced by my ordering habits every time I’m out to dinner. The only exception I will make is allowing myself to drink skim milk at breakfast. I don’t know how this goal will impact my overall health but I’ve got to believe that there will be at least some kind of improvement gained by cutting all of those chemicals and sugar out of my life. Mine is a pretty modest list this year, much leaner than in years past, but these are four things that I really want to do this year and it might benefit my focus and dedication to only have a few resolutions to work on. I will keep you updated at least once a month in the daily blog which you can follow at kendallcurtisblog.wordpress.com. If you have your own list of resolutions, please share them in the comments below. Good luck to everyone trying to better their lives, and happy new year to all!

On Holidays and Depression

Have you ever been shopping in the grocery store, zig-zagging your way through the aisles, and then a song comes on that you’ve never heard before and your day is instantly ruined? It was a good day, you woke up feeling positive, and then inexplicably and out of nowhere, something that had no meaning to you whatsoever, crashed right into you and made life seem meaningless. A month or so ago I was in the mall with my wife, it was in the morning and she asked if I wanted a chicken biscuit from chik-fil-a for breakfast. For some unknown reason that question triggered my depression and it was all I could do to keep myself from breaking down and crying in the middle of the food court. That’s how my depression has been for as long as I can remember, sneaking up on me, appearing at inconvenient times, and for no conceivable reason. It’s a feeling in my stomach, a feeling in my soul, that I lack the power to shake off of me. I go through periods of ups and downs; sometimes I’m happy to be alive and other times all I think is “what’s the point?” Of course there is middle ground, and that is where I find myself most often in my depression, not excited about life, but not down on it either, just there, emotionless and numb as life goes on around me.

Right now I’m doing okay, but there are a lot of people out there who are not. This time of year, right around the holidays, sees more people ending their lives than any other time of year, and it’s no coincidence. I know from experience, spending the last three christmases in Florida, how tough it can be not being with your family during the holidays. There are people out there who just can’t take the loneliness anymore and make the choice to not feel that emptiness or pain anymore by pulling a trigger or stepping off a bridge. Don’t hesitate to be extra friendly as you go about your business this holiday season, making eye contact with people in the grocery store and giving them a smile. Tell them merry christmas, because while it probably means absolutely nothing to you, it could mean the world to that person. If you know of someone who doesn’t have a family or won’t get to be with their family this christmas, maybe you could make an effort to include them as an honorary member of your family. Invite them over for dinner, have a gift or two under the tree for them, or even just give them a call on christmas morning to wish them a merry christmas, and spend a few minutes of your time caring about them. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up saving a life.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression and having suicidal thoughts, please call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255. It’s never too late to seek out help.

My Painful Reality

Today I woke up with a headache, which is weird because in my experience, sleep has always been the dependable cure. I’m not positive what caused the pain to form yesterday afternoon, perhaps it’s a karmic reaction to to something I’ve done, but more likely it’s the fact that I wore a Dallas Cowboys hat for five hours at work yesterday, but you know, in the words of David Puddy, “Gotta support the team.” I took five ibuprofen over the course of the evening and while that did nothing to alleviate the pain in went to bed confident that I would wake up feeling great, but like so many other times in my life I was wrong. I searched through my apartment desperately looking for some aleve, my go to medication in situations like this, deep down knowing that I’d finished the bottle a few weeks ago and had neglected to replace it, but I searched nonetheless, hoping for a miracle. When my efforts proved fruitless I knew that I needed to get out in front of this situation right away lest the pain keep growing and my day be ruined by a raging migraine so I braved the cold morning air and decided to go buy some medicine.

I sat in my parked car for a while willing the car to heat up faster before pulling out onto the dark road and making my way past dollar general and walgreens, two stores that would’ve had what I was looking for but were not yet open at 6:15 in the morning. The plan was to go to the gas station on the corner, but I drove right past the turn lane in my early morning fog. I looked for a place to make a U-turn but before I found one I was driving on the overpass headed into civilization. I decided that maybe I was hungry, and luckily for me a new Hardee’s opened up last week at the bottom of the hill, so I would stop by there to get a sausage biscuit then make my way back to the gas station before going home. The employee in the drive thru asked if I wanted to try the pork chop biscuit with gravy, so I made a quick audible and scrapped the sausage biscuit plan in favor of this new exotic one that sounded delicious. As I sat in line I wondered to myself if perhaps I had subconsciously missed the turn for the gas station on purpose so I could get Hardee’s breakfast. It wouldn’t be that surprising.

With the pork chop biscuit with gravy in hand I left the small fast food parking lot and got back on the road toward the gas station, the aleve, and perhaps a cure for my pain. I walked into the Shell station and not wanting to take any chances on not fixing my headache I got a coke, just in case lack of caffeine was my problem. I looked down the aisles and saw candy, chips, and other junk food, but not what I was looking for. I made my way to the cash register dejected when I saw the sweet aleve sitting just beneath the counter. I grabbed a package, then two more, realizing that each only contained one caplet. It’s not like I’m a crazed pill popper but who is just going to take one aleve? Back in my car I opened each package, careful not to let the single caplet slip out and onto the floor, a tragedy that has befallen me more than once in my lifetime. I opened the coke and tossed the three small ovals into my mouth and swallowed; it would only be a matter of time before the medicine kicked in and my headache would be gone.

On the short drive back home I unwrapped the biscuit that had gravy all over the packaging, but I ignored the mess I was making and focused solely on getting the food into my stomach. By the time I was finished I had gravy all over my chin, my hands, and some on the steering wheel, but that all could be worried about later, once the headache went away. I got home, walked up to my apartment and immediately started throwing up in the bathroom. I watched the biscuit, coke, and the three aleve I’d just taken circle the toilet bowl before draining into the abyss and leaving my life forever. The pain is still there and I’m back to square one with no medicine. It’s going to be a long day.