Sherri Gragg

Writer. Mom. Daydreamer. Dog's Best Friend.

More or Less

“So, why’d you do it?” he asked as he slowly slid the needle deeper and deeper into one of the muscles in my mid-back.

“Why did I do what?”

“Natural childbirth,” he responded.  “Why did you do natural childbirth?”

“Oh,” I said as I endeavored to remain perfectly still.  “Ironically, I don’t like needles.  I was more afraid of the epidural needle than the childbirth.  I always wondered, you know, what happens if you sneeze while they are putting in the needle?”

“Hmmmm.”

Then the needle reached the right spot. 

“Ouch,” I said.

Immediately he stopped the descent and I felt him squeeze a little of the medicine into the knotted muscle, quickly remove the needle and move on to the next spot a few inches above the first.

“Okay, here is number two,” he said.

There was a sudden jab and then the needle descended again. 

“You know what you are doing, right?” I asked.

“Well, more or less…” he responded.

This, I found hilarious.  I wanted to laugh out loud but I just grinned.  After all, I needed to remain very, very still.

Earlier, the nurse had swept into the room just long enough to make six tiny marks on my back and neck.  All were on the right side of my spine, the lowest positioned just at mid-back, the highest right up at the base of my skull.  The doctor was saving the top two for last because those muscles were the tightest.  I had spent the week before vacillating between utter dread of the pain I knew would be partnered with those top two injections and outrageous hope that I would walk out of the doctor’s office afterwards a new woman.  It did not take long to get over the fear of the potential pain involved with the procedure but tempering my expectations of the results was a more difficult battle.  Finally, I told myself to get a grip; that it was some steroid shots, not The Second Coming. 

Numbers three and four went by fairly easily.  Five was a bit more difficult.  Then, it was time for number six. 

“This one will go in pretty close to the base of your skull.  Are you ready?”

“I’m ready.”

A quick, strong jab penetrated the muscle that was as hard as a rock.  Then, the needle was on the move.  This time, I made myself wait as long as I could before I gave him the signal to stop.  This one, I desperately, desperately wanted to work.  When I could stand it no longer, he began to administer the medication. 

“Weird,”  I said.  “I can hear the medicine going into my neck.  It sounds like it is in my head.”

“Yep,” he responded.  “There is a lot of spongy tissue in that area.”

Then, we were done and I stood up to check out the results.  Glory, hallelujah, I could move my neck all around!

I was giddy as I drove home.  The best part was that I could look over my left shoulder to see if cars were coming when I was trying to pull out from somewhere.  Now that is a fringe benefit, my friends.

A month later, I was back at the office.  This time it was for a procedure on my lower back so, I found myself face down on an exam table with my bare derriere out for all the world to see.  The doctor picked up his syringe and said good morning.

“You know what you are doing, right?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said.  “More or less.”

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One comment on “More or Less

  1. Chapter 2 manmi
    April 15, 2008

    I love this story, more *than* less, Sherri! That is hilarious…and glad to hear you can look both ways before crossing the street or entering traffic (phew!). Really, I’m glad to hear whatever you had done is helping.

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This entry was posted on April 15, 2008 by in back pain, humor and tagged .
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