Minden Press-Herald

Oct 02nd

A Pain in the Neck

Has anyone ever said to you, "You are a pain in the neck"? Well, my mom was known to make that remark to me quite often. Of course, I might not have really known what she was talkin' 'bout, but I did know that her pain in the neck, me, was going to have a pain of my own if I didn't make like a cow patty and hit the trail.

It's kinda like I've said before, it didn't take me long to handle a hot horseshoe. My mom could be that hot horseshoe at times, and I didn't want to hang around and get burned.

Mom also suffered another pain in the neck when May, a Jersey milk cow, charged and butted mom right in the chest. May had just had a calf and dad was putting her and her calf in a pen. Mom, being the good farmer's wife she was, went out to help by opening the gate for them. We don't really know why the cow charged, but charge she did. The resulting whiplash cracked a vertebra in mom's neck, resulting in quite a bit of pain.

This was back in the days when doctors made house calls, and Dr. Pat Gladney came out and helped my dad rig up a "traction contraption". Through use of a straight backed chair, some rope, pulleys, and bricks, they created a device to hook beneath my mother's jaw and around the back of her head, and with the bricks added, placed enough weight to stretch her neck vertebra and relieve some of the pain.

When she wasn't in traction, she wore a hard plastic neck brace, which I know was uncomfortable simply because it looked it! Took some time, but she finally mended and seemed to be fine after that.

I had the "opportunity" to experience traction right before I had surgery on my upper neck for two herniated discs. My first thought was, "Hey, this ain't so bad since I just lay here for a couple hours. Hey, I considered myself good at layin' 'round doin' nothin', but let me say I quickly discovered traction is torture!

I ended up having a discectomy, which is the removal of a herniated disc. While this was some 25 years ago, I did, in fact, have two discs removed and the vertebra fused together. Today I'm about to undergo a laminectomy.

Now, all these $25 dollar words don't mean a lot to me other than it's what the doctors are telling me. My lower back has been wrecking havoc with me for several months now, and it's to the point I cannot continue without risking permanent damage. Besides, the pain alone is enough for me to allow them do whatever they want to do to me.

A few years ago I was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, which is the narrowing of the spine's passageway through which the spinal cord travels. This narrowing applies pressure on the spinal cord nerves creating many complications such as numbness, loss of coordination, loss of balance, dizziness, pain, etc. (At least now you know why my brain has been numb for a while!) A laminectomy is the removal of some boney tissue causin' the stenosis.

Anyway, I don't believe it is a life-threatenin' ordeal, and even if it was, God is still in charge. However, I will be out of circulation for a few weeks so I'm tellin' you this 'cause I want you faithful readers to know why I didn't have somethin' to say in the paper. Keepin' my mouth shut has always been a problem, and I don't want you to think you are completely rid of me just yet. Hey! At least my scribblin' gave you something to talk about even if it might have been complainin'!

If you don't mind and when you have time, whisper a prayer for the doctors and nurses who will be doin' the surgery and takin' care of me afterwards. Of course, I know some of you are probably sayin' they are gonna need the prayers after havin' to put up with me in the first place! That's okay, though.

You are probably right. I'd like to add, though, that should you happen to mention my name in those prayers, I will be mighty grateful and appreciative.

Galen White lives in Homer. His column runs on Mondays in the Minden Press-Herald.






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