In my personal little time warp | AspenTimes.com
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In my personal little time warp

Su Lum

Due to a “moderate to large extruded L2/3 disc to the left with caudal migration down L3 pedicle, impinging on the left L3 nerve root,” and other degenerative extrusions that all add up to, in layman’s terms, “a bad back” or, in my terms, screaming pain zapping from my left hip to my left knee, I have been juggling my pills and my time to find the most productive balance while awaiting my April 13 appointment with Dr. Gebhard, my back doctor in Grand Junction.Three pain “procedures” with Dr. Hahn have brought the agony down to a manageable level, with the aid of three Vicodins, three Neurontins and four Excedrins (forget ibuprofen and Tylenol) in a 24-hour period.As the first two serve as knockout drops, and the latter is liberally laced with caffeine, it behooved me to come up with a schedule that didn’t keep me awake at night or insensible at work. I ended up with a peculiar but effective solution.When I come home from work at 4, I take a hot bath (this helps), have a little supper, take a Neurontin and a Vicodin, turn on NPR, which always acts as a soporific, turn out the lights and go to sleep. I wake up a few hours later, having no idea whether it’s morning, noon or night but, feeling refreshed, have another little supper and do some writing for two or three hours until the pain starts up and I ice it or get in the tub again and, it being near midnight, take another Neurontin and Vicodin and fall asleep to a book on tape. Around 4 or 5 a.m. the pain wakes me up and I take my last quotas of N&V (as I put it in my diligent notations lest I overdose myself) either ice or bathe or both, put away the laundry or wash the dishes while waiting for them to take effect, and then go back to sleep to NPR’s “Morning Show,” weaving Daniel Schorr and Carl Castle into my dreams.When I get up to go to work, I pop two Excedrin, repeat that at 1 p.m., come home, have a little supper, etc. And that’s how I’m managing my bad back during this interim. It’s like having a newborn baby in the house – you grab your sleep whenever you get the chance.Diligent notations only work it you read them. One morning when I woke up, still groggy, at 11 a.m., I looked at my notation pad where I had diligently recorded having taken N&V at both 4 a.m. and 6 a.m.! I’ve been careful not to do that again.This Sunday morning I woke up to the tail end of my favorite program, “This American Life.” Since I had set the alarm for 9 a.m. to be sure I wouldn’t miss it, and since the clock indeed said that it was 9, I was cursing Brent Gardner-Smith at KAJX (sorry, Brent!) for juggling the schedule, only to see that my atomic clock said 10, and realized that it was daylight-saving time!Did anybody else miss that? I noted later that there was a little teeny box at the bottom of the front page of Saturday’s Aspen Times saying to spring forward, but some of us need a BIG box, hey.Su Lum is a longtime local who is having enough trouble dealing with her time warp without stirring daylight-saving time into the stew. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.


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