What a Prick!

©2012 Edward C. Lunnon

Friday 9 March 2012: 5 years 6 months on … Advantage ED

Ever since becoming ill, I have always been thankful that I have not experienced any pain. A lot of discomfort, yes; but, thank God, no pain!

But all that has changed, and the last three weeks have possibly been the most difficult that I have experienced since becoming ill.

It all started, with no prior warning, in the early hours of Sunday morning 19 February.

On the Friday evening we had attended Shelley and Eddie Terblanche’s ‘surprise’ joint 50th birthday. It started with a bus trip with all the guests on board dressed in ”smart casual black with a mask” to fetch the birthday couple at their home in Summerstrand and then on to Leo’s Bistro in Walmer for a delicious supper.

Then, early Saturday morning (at three am!), I had to get up to get my lift to George with Kobus, an AlgoaFM listener who had kindly offered to take me to the Outeniqua Wheelchair Challenge.

 The challenge, celebrating its tenth birthday this year, attracted over 1000 physically challenged people participating in four events – the 42 km marathon, the 21km half marathon, the 10km event and the 5km fun run.

It is a most humbling experience to see so many physically challenged people participating in “vehicles” ranging from the most sophisticated to the most ordinary of wheelchairs. The fun run alone attracted over 900 participants in wheelchairs pushed by local professional, business and ordinary everyday people and many hangers-on, all with the emphasis on the fun part of it. The main streets of George – York Road and Courteney Street / Knysna Road – are closed for the occasion and the day belongs to those in our community who live life without what so many of us take so for granted.

The trip to George from Port Elizabeth is about a three and a half hour one, and so we were back in Port Elizabeth at about three thirty in the afternoon – some twelve hours after we had left.

I had planned to attend the Concert in the Park at five pm and had an appointment to see Marcus Wyatt, the guest trumpeter at the concert. Marcus is an ex-pupil of mine and he and Andrew Townsin, another ex-pupil, had trumpeted Pera down the aisle when we got married in 1990.

But, I was a bit tired and decided to postpone the evening concert and attend the Sunday morning one instead. A lie-down seemed more in order …

Lesson #1: don’t procrastinate!

I woke up at three on Sunday morning, my whole body in a spasm, my muscles tensed up and with the most excruciating pain. By seven we called the GP, and during a home visit nogal, I received Voltaren injections, pain killers and an anti-inflammatory – coxflam: one tablet twice a day; synaleve: two capsules three times a day for pain (warning: may cause drowsiness). I can quite easily see how people like the Jacksons and the Houstons become addicted to prescription drugs .. and take just a few more every now and then when the pain doesn’t subside! 

I wafted through the next two days, missed the Concert in the Park (and the Redhouse River Mile scheduled for Sunday afternoon), but by Tuesday evening was feeling much better – so much so that I was able to attend Elvis Blue’s concert at the Grey’s Afrikaans Week celebrations in the school hall.

Although I was left with a low level numb sort of pain, the excruciating stabbing pain eased off and the week became better – until Saturday evening (25 February), whilst watching rugby on TV, when it all started up again. Luckily I had “left-over” medication in hand and was able to doctor myself and lie down – but even that was a painful affair! And so some more drugs … Pax: one at night and Stilpaine: 2 tablets four times a day!

The next and third attack happened last Sunday evening (4 March). It is wearing me down and it is becoming more and more difficult to lift my hands and arms. Mentally, it takes its toll, too.

So, first thing on Monday morning, I spoke to the doctor and my biokineticist. It was decided that I needed to see a physiotherapist / chiropractor, and luckily I was able to get an appointment with Dr Pieterse at two that afternoon.

All the muscles in my back go into a sort of spasm and tense up. “Had I tried needles?” I was asked.

I had not.

So, one for one, I had needles pricked into the muscles in my back.

And, on Tuesday morning, I felt like a new person. All the pain was gone! And remained so until Friday morning, when I could feel just a tinge of that low-level ache returning. Luckily, another session had been scheduled for Friday, so round number two of the “needle attack” took place!

Lesson #2:  Don’t under-estimate the contribution that anyone can make in life – even the smallest prick can make a huge difference!   

 So three weeks have passed by with far too little been done. I have been down but not yet out. How long will the pricking last and how long will it bring relief? Who knows?

But, in the meantime, don’t be a prick … enjoy what you can!