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Sunday, June 22, 2014


I am wondering what to do about my fractured-then-improperly-healed spine.  My doctor says it seems to be an old injury which is just causing me trouble now.  I have gotten over the creepy feeling that, at one point in my life, I was running around with a fractured spine, and when that might have happened.  I am glad I wasn't paralyzed by it, because that could have easily happened.  I've had a lot of spills and falls throughout my life, including times when I roller skated on sidewalks in Los Angeles where I grew up.

I can't really teach again with the kind of pain I am often in with this problem, so really, time is of the essence if my goal is to get back into the classroom.  My doctor said I have three options: wait and see (no way--I nearly died from waiting too long to go on chemo), physical therapy, steroid injections, and spinal surgery.

I've decided that I am going with the steroid injections and physical therapy right away, and go to the surgery option if things do not improve with this condition, waiting no more than six months (after Desert Dance Festival, of course) before getting the surgery.  My father had a major back surgery and is fine (he also broke his neck a few years ago, and is still fine, though very lucky he didn't end up a quadriplegic).

I am also in a weird problem setting up my physical therapy--I keep getting calls from the physical therapy department, and the message is always left by a nice lady (unfortunately my new smart phone gets only about 50 percent better coverage here than my old Nokia, so calls often go to voice mail).  When I call back, this same nice lady says that my problem is not a spinal injury; it is that I have metastasized lung cancer and have also been referred to a podiatrist, not the physical therapy department.

Weird, huh?  That is because my records are mixed up with some poor soul who has lung cancer.  I am worried about this because this person might not be getting the care they need, and I am not getting mine. I am going to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation in person tomorrow because of those dual concerns.  I keep envisioning some poor cancer patient getting their spinal ligaments stretched and wondering why they need to have that done.

At any rate, I've learned, pretty much the hard way, not to wait for things to get better if they need real intervention.