Just Bend Me Over

I failed a neurological exam. The only other test I have ever failed was a grade eight science test that I had completely forgotten about and neglected to study for. I blame the cute boy Sascha for this. I was too busy making googoo eyes at him and plotting ways to have him fall in love with me to be interested in volcanos, tectonic plates and the make up of the earth's strata.

(Funny, something must have been absorbed cuz I remember all that shit now. Harumph.)

However failing a neurological exam has a different set of consequences other than lowering my grade point average and pissing my parents off. Failing a neurological exam means I have just earned myself a free trip to the inside of a neurosurgeon's office, do not pass Go, do not collect 200 dollars.

I blame my nephew the Worm for this. Back in early February I was trying to wrestle the three year old beastie into his winter jacket and push him out of my house. He didn't want to leave. (Really, why would he? I AM the coolest aunt on the planet.) As I was bent over trying to shove rubber limbs into fabric noodles something in my lower back went BOOM.

For a couple of weeks I hobbled around and hunched over moaning, but I didn't give my back much thought. I mean, I'm 33. I'm not as young as I once was. This back has been flat on a mattress more times than a human can count and is bound to have a little wear and tear.

Then one morning towards the end of February, just after we brought Jumby home, I was carrying Nixon, the World's Greatest Dog, EVAR, out to go potty. The snow was four feet deep and my pansy-arsed dog was acting like a princess. I didn't want him shatting in my house so I put my slippers on and carried my lovable mongrel outside.

Slippers, snow and ice are not the greatest combination when carrying a slightly overweight Boston Terrier princess. My feet went out from under me like I was the star in some bad cartoon and the only thing I thought of as I was heading south with an alarming velocity was "Protect the Dog!"

Nixon came out unscathed but apparently my spine did not. Two months of agony while laying on my couch moaning and several failed neurological exams was the price I paid for my princess pooch to squat outside in the snow.

The things I do for the ones I love.

Official diagnosis? I have an owie that apparently refuses to heal on it's own.

Which is how I failed several neurological exam involving pointy little needles and disturbing looks from physicians and found myself face to face with a man who carves on brains all day long.

Good times.

After the brainy brain doctor put me through the paces (the right side of my body totally flipped him the bird as my left side totally performed like an overachiever and passed with flying colours) he sat me down to discuss my health options.

"Well Tanis, given your age, your medical history and the fact you have a lazy arsed dog and a quadriplegic son to take care of, my only recommendation is for immediate back surgery."

Blink, blink. (Me.)

"Um, aren't you supposed to say that? I mean, you are a surgeon. Instead of getting steak knives at Christmas, people give you scalpels. Isn't there any other way to fix my back that doesn't involve filleting me like a fish?"

Blink, blink. (Him.)

"Unless you are on a first name basis with your maker and can arm twist Him into performing a healing miracle for you, I think we've exhausted all other possibilities. Which is why you are here. With me." He grinned like Hannibal Lecter did when thinking of Chianti and fava beans.

Blink, blink. (Me.)

"I see. What about drug therapy? Or physical therapy? Traction? Yoga? Getting spanked by a herd of wild monkeys?"

Blink, blink. (Him.)

"Hmm." He scratched his head with a pen he grabbed from the confines of his pocket protector. "Narcotics won't heal the injury. They'll just turn you into a drooling pill addict and you'll find yourself either in rehab with a bad back or in a dark alley turning tricks with a bad back trying to earn enough money to buy black market pills. Physical therapy has proven ineffective in healing your back and by the looks of this CT scan have possibly aggravated your condition. Yoga is for pussies and while I'd love to video and YouTube you be spanked by wild monkeys, I'm thinking I'd get more benefit from that treatment than you would."

Blink, blink. (Me.)

"I see." Gotta love a doctor who is a straight shooter. "But I have a tramp stamp! A memorial tattoo for my dead son."

"Ya, that's unfortunate. It's a pretty tattoo. It won't be after the surgery."

"You can't avoid cutting it? Go in from my abdomen or just cut besides the tattoo?" I could have been whining at this point but I'll never tell.

"Nope. Not with the severity and location of your injury. I'd do my best to make the incision as small as possible but it'll still be ugly." He said this in a bored tone like it's no big deal. I attribute this to the fact he wasn't the one who had the dead kid or the one who spent four hours of his life hunched over a bench while a tattoo artist used a gun full of needles to permanently scratch my skin into something pretty.

"Crap. Well, if that's the worst thing about the surgery, I suppose I can live with that."

"Nah, that's not the worst thing. The worst thing is you'll need at least six weeks to recover and during that time you can't lift anything heavier than 10 pounds."

"My dog is heavier than ten pounds! My disabled son who completely relies on me for mobility weighs more than ten pounds!"

"And no jarring activities during that time, including sex."

"Why don't you just shoot me? It's bound to be less painful."

"Probably. But I'll get in less trouble and make more money if I just slice you open and fix you."

"Well when you are in there, can you like, make me bionic? Give me super powers or anything?"


"Make me more bendy? I pride myself on being bendy you know. Dudes dig a bendy chick."

"No. In fact, your Gumby-like qualities may be somewhat diminished for at least a while."

"But at least I won't be in any more pain, right? And this will fix me and I'll never be stooped over like a withered old hag and I'll get the feeling back in my right leg and foot again, right?" I asked, looking for the bright side while still trying to adjust to the fact my tattoo will be annihilated and my dreams of being the Super Bendy Bionic girl were evaporating like steam in the shower.

"You'll be in some pain during the recovery period, but nothing like when you injured yourself originally. I can't guarantee this will completely fix or prevent any future back injuries and with the amount of nerve damage already done there is no way I can predict if you will ever regain feeling in your foot after the surgery."

Blink, blink. (Me.)

"I see. So what you are telling me is not only will you wreck my tattoo, steal my bendiness and render me useless to my family for a minimum of six weeks; I won't be new and improved but may in fact still remain broken with no guarantees of any sort of success."

Blink, blink. (Him.)

"Well, I suppose, yes."

"Then why in the world would I agree to have surgery on my back?"

"Well, because of the location of the injury and the nerves involved, if you don't have the surgery there is no guarantee that you won't wake up tomorrow and start involuntarily defecating."

Blink, blink. (Me.)

"Hmm. I always wanted to be known for something but somehow spontaneous shitting was never on my list."

"Ya. Plus the diapers you'd have to wear would make your arse look really big," he offered.

"You know, somehow this back surgery really doesn't seem like a bad thing after all."

"I knew you'd see things my way sooner or later," he grinned.

And that is what happens when you fail a neurological exam. They don't rescind your brain; they just promise you a lifetime of shuffling, stooping and impractical pooping.


***Post Edit***

I should have added or clarified this appointment WAS my second opinion. Which confirmed the first opinion. My back is fudged in an unpleasant manner.

I've been to the bone crunchers (after putting aside my personal opinions about how they are nothing but a bunch of phony wannabe doctors) and spent months letting them twist and contort me. They didn't heal me but they did drain my bank account.

I have also visited an accupuncturist, a massage therapist and a voodoo doctor who boiled a chicken and played a Pantera record backwards while blowing wafts of marijuana in my face.


So after exhausting all of my options it's time to face the piper. I am however, waiting to have a  MRI done to determine how quickly I may start involuntary crapping before I get naked and lay on a table for a scalpel wielding doctor to play with me.

I truly appreciate all your concern and well wishes.