The International Writers Magazine:Skinner's Back
should I say, Im back, Buster! Hows that
for a play on words? Ironically the title and my exclamation are
on the same wavelength. Its been months since I last sent
a small piece of my mind to this illustrious website of amateur
sleuths. If I recall, I was on about the futility of the worlds
telephones and their misuse, but then so what. Mobile toys are
here to stay and thats it. Back to me and my play on words.
A lot has happened
since then. Tsunamis, hurricanes, terrorist attacks, bird flu threats,
political revolutions all over the world have all passed before my eyes
as news flashes and as usual theyve come and theyve gone.
It reminds me of an old school poem called The brook. It
went something like this,
men may come and men may go, yet
Ill go on for ever
Come to think of it, the poet is
probably wrong! The way things are at the moment even the seas are liable
to dry up! Anyway, heres the storyline.
Mid 2003; alls well and dandy. Im happily dealing with my
fellow countrymen and their problems remember Im an Honorary
Consul continue to write my novel on the sorry state of Argentina,
and finally entered the elite club of journalists; I now have a weekly
column in the local rag. My daughter decides after 20 years that shes
fed up with her husband and her three kids, gives them all the two fingers.
My son turns up whenever he needs something and my grandchildren have
all but forgotten where they originally came from if you know
what I mean! Then it happened. One day, my wife developed a pain in
her back that wouldnt go away. As days went by, and despite a
deluge of aspirins it got worse.
We go to the quack, an orthopaedist, who checks her out with a resonance
scanner and tells her she suffers from spinal stenosis.
I look at my wife in puzzlement and then back at the doctor. In unison
we ask, whats that? To cut a long story short, this
ailment is a creeping pathological degeneration of the spinal chord
duct that ends up by pinching the basketful of nerves and
nerve roots that control most of our body. Take these tablets
and go swimming, recommends the doctor as he writes out a dozen
or so prescriptions.
Months go by and one day my wifes right leg gives way and she
collapses onto the sidewalk of our home town. These are the first signs
of the next stage of the illness. Between excruciating pain and lack
of strength in her leg we begin a long and arduous voyage of experiments
in medical care. Believe me its worth presenting as a Spielberg
Pain reaches hospital interment stage. She is now in the hands of a
neurosurgeon who gives her the third degree. After a full session of
tests she is placed on a program of drips, injections and more pills.
Twelve days later she is discharged and goes home full of the joys of
spring. No longer than a week goes by that she is again crawling along
on her hands and knees at two in the morning screaming blue murder.
We urgently call the doctor who says, ask for an appointment!
Sod you! We look in the yellow pages and eventually trot off to another
neurotic, sorry, neurosurgeon.
He looks at the hospital report and says, Ah! Yes, you have spinal
stenosis in vertebrae L4 and L5. They are part of the lumbar region
joints. I recommend a session of ozone injections and physiotherapy.
Five minutes later and 1000 euros out of pocket, she starts a seven
week treatment program which is absolute purgatory. After a series of
punctures with hypodermic needles borrowed from the nearest cattle farm,
followed by Schwarzenegger type massage sessions, my wife was ready
for the scrap yard. We try another neurosurgeon who says, Ive
got the answer. Cortisone injections will do the trick! The Spaniards
have an expression: Tururus. It means, up yours!
In the meantime, my daughter turns up one day with a friend of a friend
who happens to be a Natureologist. I know; there are lots of them about.
They give you fungi tea and tropical pine tree ointments, charge you
a fortune but resolve nothing. This one was different. He brought along
a computerised gadget he said had been designed by NASA
scientists for the astronauts and that was able to stimulate
the nervous system and cure any ailments. I like modern day space games
and sure enough this was it. Mel Brooks would have loved it. With a
halo type artefact and dozens of electrodes placed over her body, for
over an hour she received the treatment. It seemed fine,
the pain had gone! Next day she was back to square one!
Thats when I began searching the Intern
If you look up the word in Google there are over 900000 mentioned pages.
Once again, most are United States information sheets. God bless America!
I really dont know what we would do without them. For the next
few months I began searching through to find out exactly what my wife
could be faced with during the remainder of her life. In the meantime
my wife was now in the hands of a Pain Clinic. These outfits
are run by anaesthetists that specialise in drugging you up to the eyeballs
just short of putting you to sleep for ever. Hold it there, dear reader.
Were not into Euthanasia yet! Whilst my wife was now running her
own drug store in her back yard, I was checking out the latest info
on a possible back operation known as a Laminectomy. It consisted of
breaking open the spine, cleaning the rusty channel with
a hammer and chisel and finally sealing whats left with a sort
of metal plate. Charming, I thought.
No way, said our original neurosurgeon, operations
are a last resort. Besides, its not necessary as your wife can
still walk. How about that? Back to the drawing board. This time
another friend of a friend tells us of a friend plenty of friends
that had a similar operation in Madrid by a surgeon using microsurgery.
This operation is called a Laminotomy. Back to the Internet! Sure enough,
it could or it could not work says Google.
February 2005, my wife is in Madrid, on the operating table of a strange
clinic and within an hour and a half has had her L4 L5 vertebrae cleaned
without breaking her back. We go back home. Within a week, she is back
in our local hospital with excruciating pain. She is history to the
quack in Madrid. He ignores her plight. Checking the scans we find out
the L3 and L4 vertebrae continue to be blocked.
Back to the Internet!
Ladies and gentlemen, by chance, just by chance I came across a clinic
in Munich www.alphaklinik.com
- Germany that boasted in a brand new technique known as Minimal
invasive, microsurgical decompression of the spinal chord and nerve
routes. According to them there were only a handful of neurosurgeons
the world over who could perform such an operation. On Monday July the
11th, my wife and I flew to Germany and after a complete series of tests;
my wife underwent a successful 6 hour operation to clear vertebrae TH12/L1/L2/L3/L4
of spinal stenosis as had been identified in yet another magnetic resonance
Four months have gone by, and although the German doctors had predicted
an almost complete recovery between 3 to 9 months, my wife is gradually
returning to a normal life with hardly any pain, insignificant medication
and above all, a regular good nights rest.
I have not stopped since in writing to all and sundry in the medical
profession to push hard to introduce this method of cure, particularly
in the USA and Europe. With the increased ageing of the population
it affects the over 60s - the health services will be foolish
to continue with medication programs for this type of ailment until
the patient cannot take it anymore. It would only add to the economic
burden of both the elderly and the medical system as a whole due to
the prolongation of unnecessary agony of Spinal Stenosis sufferers.
© James Skinner. December 2005.
(Glad to know your wife is getting better James
- all the est from Hacks) Ed
Read more about Spine health go here
Comment and Lifestyle Issues
all rights reserved - all comments are the writers' own responsibiltiy
- no liability accepted by hackwriters.com or affiliates.