Friday, July 08, 2005

It's The People You Love...

  • She likes hanging out on the diaper table. Don't ask me why.

  • ...who will drive you crazy.

    My mother also has a herniated C5-C6 cervical disc and her doctor is not interested in surgery, unlike mine. So she spent an hour and forty minutes on the phone with me last night trying to convince my doctors are wrong. She even suggested going up to Colorado and letting her doctor examine the MRI and advise me. At the end of the conversation, I was ready to do the surgery just to spite her. At the age of thirty-six she still does not believe that I am capable of making rational adult decisions. She has a valid reason to think so. Usually whatever advice she gives, I do the opposite as a knee-jerk resentful reaction to her attempts to orchestrate my life.

    In her mind it is impossible that my surgeon and my orthopedic doctor could both have valid reasons for thinking surgery is appropriate. When I suggest to her that possibly her orthopedic doctor is being very conservative in her care because she is a sixty-five year old diabetic with arthritis and some spine degeneration, she dismisses that out of hand. The fact that the surgeon I am seeing is a member of the faculty of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas' Neurological Surgery Program and also a widely published researcher specializing in spinal problems that cause pain and weakness only illustrates that he was educated in Texas and probably a country bumpkin. When I counter that he got a bachelors from UC Berkley and his M.D. from Tulane, then I'm overlooking the fact that he is too young.

    Have I tried all alternatives? She insists. Well, honestly, no. I have not tried actual physical therapy, traction or epidural injections. But that is because I have been specifically told that in my situation there is not reason to think they would help. I also have not tried bloodletting, leeches, magic mushrooms or asking my fairy godmother to help because I suspect that none of those things would be relevant to my situation. I did, however, try massage. I have seen two different massage therapists, both of whom were unable to help. I also saw two different chiropractors, neither of whom helped with this situation (although I do suspect that they helped with other problems). One general practice physician saw me and did x-rays (at this point I have three sets of X-rays which have been taken in the last two months). I have now seen two orthopedic doctors, tried oral steroids (with no effect whatever), had an MRI and seen a neurosurgeon; all three of whom seemed to feel that in my specific case, surgery may be needed.

    For some reason I don't see my behavior as a headlong charge into surgery against the advice of others.

    As a side note, growing up with my mother probably explains two important parts of my character. First, it explains why I was so eager to spend as much of my adolescence as possible in an alcoholic stupor. Second, it has been great training for being a liberal in Texas. You know how they expose special forces trainees to extreme adverse conditions to toughen them up? Same principle. I had to fight with my mother to be myself from day one and it is still going on. I am a tough son-of-a-bitch as a result; and I can argue my case well. When both your parents are PhD's you learn to back up your assertions.

    Fortunately, I also learned from my father to treat my opponents with respect and to listen and hear what they have to say. I think that is why I also have many conservative friends; they know that I do respect them and try to see their viewpoints.

    I'd better do my morning prayers and get to work. Again, for our English friends, prayers of peace, of recovery and of strength. Peace.