Travel

From Alaska to the Atlantic Down My Nervy Right Side

It’s 3:26 A.M. and I’m awake. This is my new normal.

There’s a shooting pain coursing down my right leg thanks to a shifted disc getting too cozy with a nerve, like a drunk guy leaning on the shoulder of a young lady at a bar. He reeks of strong cologne and cheap beer, and has been talking loudly, mostly about himself, for hours to anyone who will listen. No one really does.

It’s unseemly, unsettling and it should stop (and never, ever happen at all) but once you talk about it out loud to others, you discover that it happens all the time, to practically everyone you know. There’s a perverse comfort in that but not enough to get you back to sleep. It’s 3:29 A.M. and I have finished writing this paragraph.

I put earbuds in and play the opening verse of The Mountain Goats “Get Lonely” again. This too is my new normal. It has become my quiet 3 A.M. song of solitude, filling the space between the whirl of a ceiling fan’s blades and the meow of an always hungry cat.

I will rise up early
And dress myself up nice
And I will leave the house
And check the deadlock twice

And I will find a crowd
And blend in for a minute
And I will try to find
A little comfort in it

And I will get lonely
And gasp for air
And send your name off from my lips
Like a signal flare

Our summer family adventure starts soon and so I went under the needle yesterday for a somewhat emergency epidural steroid shot into my spine. That’s how bad this is and how much stress I’ve been under as I contemplate pain management and functioning without sleep while driving coast to coast. The straightedge kid who became an adult deathly afraid of any semblance of imbalance desperately sought relief the quick and easy way. I’d be ashamed of this if I could think straight. That makes me laugh, but not out loud.

It’s 3:39 A.M. and I search the web for any medical site, a click bait medicinal blog littered with affiliate links will do in a pinch, that proclaims the early returns of such a shot will come sooner than the prescribed 1-2 days, as if that will make it so.

You’ll notice in my story about our Alaska to the Atlantic (I’m still trying to decide if the ‘the’ should be there) family vacation on WHYY’s Newsworks that a sciatica nerve issue coursing down my right leg was not something on the vacation spreadsheet organizing the various accommodations and their costs, pre-paid amounts and balances due, and not included with any of our pre-booked guided National Park hikes. Yet it will be with us, with me, all the while, at 3 A.M. and throughout each day. Whether it is the pain I know now or the worry that it will return before we do.

Sciatica is a part of our Alaska to the Atlantic adventure story and it is fucking up more than my chosen alliterative moniker for it.

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One Comment

  1. Sounds awful!
    Hope the shot works for you and you can enjoy the trip.

joc