This past week, I experienced the most excruciating pain I’ve ever felt. The sciatica, which is a pinched nerve, made the agony in my left leg unbearable. Painkillers hardly made a dent in it. Words can’t describe the ordeal, so I’ll paint the picture in cold hard numbers, Harper’s style.
• Days spent immobilized lying flat on my stomach: 3
• Days of work missed: 4
• Showers taken during that time: 1
• Time it takes for the pain to become tolerable when I first stand up in the morning: 18 minutes
• Minutes it takes to put on my socks: 7
• Variations of walking sticks used: 3 (a bokken or wooden sword, an umbrella, and now a snazzy telescopic cane)
• Medical practitioners I dealt with in the last week: 18 (3 MDs, 2 pharmacists, 5 nurses, 2 acupuncturists, 1 physical therapist, 2 radiologists, 3 EMTs)
• Places visited to consult these people: 5
• Treatment types used in the last 2 months: 5 (includes traction, which is a machine that stretches out your spine like a medieval torture device)
• Kinds of medication prescribed to me: 7 (these include a corticosteroid to reduce the swelling, painkillers, a pill to protect the stomach lining from these pills, and another pill to help the liver deal with all the other pills)
First time experiences include riding in an ambulance (cool), receiving an IV drip (not as bad as it looks), ‘receiving’ a suppository (yikes!), and getting an MRI (very loud, not for the claustrophobic).
I’ve experienced the entire gamut of the Japanese medical system and no doubt I’ll be writing more about it.