I was asked to put this up by a couple of guys in another thread. Hope it helps.
I don't remember exactly when it started ... sometime in the '90s. I felt relatively young, certainly invincible -chuckle-, and still unwilling to
admit it when I had a problem. I kind'a got used to it when it flared. By the time I retired I was used to living with it full time. I started a
second job (sedentary work), and the exercise during work and getting there, was about all the exercise I got. I put on some weight ... not a lot.
Five years pass.
It's probably safe to say I have a high tolerance for pain. I broke a bone in my foot once, limped around for three days, and didn't find out
fragments of that bone were floating around down there, until I broke it again in a motorcycle accident some twenty/thirty years later. When I had my
first root canal done it was followed immediately by two more. This might be important ... so I tell you.
First of all ... what is sciatica?
Sciatica or lumbar radiculopathy is a set of symptoms including pain caused by general compression or irritation of one of five spinal nerve roots
of each sciatic nerve—or by compression or irritation of the left or right or both sciatic nerves. Symptoms include lower back pain, buttock pain,
and numbness, pain or weakness in various parts of the leg and foot. Other symptoms include a "pins and needles" sensation, or tingling and
difficulty moving or controlling the leg. Typically, symptoms only manifest on one side of the body. The pain may radiate above the knee, but does not
always. Wiki's got us covered.
I'd suggest you read the various causes listed there. Mine (probably) would have been of the 'wallet' type. I don't recall ever suffering any
'real' injury to my spine.
Back to the story. It's getting worse and I'm getting less and less exercise (note the self-blame here). It's progressed to a point of noticeable
constant pain and general discomfort like I'm wearing a mannequin's legs instead of my own. I'm prone to going from a relaxed seated position to a
standing position quite explosively and unexpectedly. This can make your boss feel uncomfortable about being around you. So I decide to see a doc
Now, for those of you who don't know, I work in medicine. Not a doc ... but I know who's who. I make some discreet inquiries about 'a friend of
mine' with this chronic condition who seems to be getting worse. Who's the best guy to talk to for some straight advice before opening up the
wallet? You know the deal (so did they). I finally consult with a young captain (optimist) and an old colonel (realist). Both of 'em tell me they
can issue a script that'll make it more manageable ... but there's not a lot that can be done. Not looking good.
At this time I'm in the twilight of an overseas tour. I've landed an assignment in one of the Army's larger hospitals on the East Coast. Not
thinking very much about sciatica. Get a new desk, new office chair, new boss (total beezatcher), blah-blah blah-blah ... learning my way around the
One day, middle of a staff meeting, boss is going off about stupid stuff ... bam ... I'm on my feet and halfway across the conference table heading
straight for her. Meeting adjourned. Lucky for me I had seen that colonel before I rotated into the States ... and that he had a clear memory of
what we had talked about. The big boss of the hospital makes a couple of calls ... and TriCare sets me up an appointment with this 'teaching
doctor' down in Hope Mills.
I thought about being descriptive of who this guy was. It would add a lot of character to this story. I might later, but for now I'm gonna cut to
Anyway, doc explains to me all about himself, what I'm dealing with, that it CAN be fixed, and that he's gonna get'r'done. I get a ‘surprise’
steroid injection very close to my spine (it felt more like it was IN my spine). Two pricks. Doc says to take my wallet out of my back pocket and go
home. I'm feeling a LOT better even as I walk out to the parking lot. The next day, I go in to see my boss and tell her I have to go back for
another treatment (I can't remember what the gap was). I can't remember how many times I went back for shots (maybe three or four).
On the last day of shots, the doc hands me a script. He goes through the whole spiel about what they do and how I'm supposed to take them. Then he
says he knows I'm gonna try to get them filled at the hospital's pharmacy where I work ... but, that I won't have any luck, and will wind up at
Walgreens. I have to go back and see my boss anyway to tell her i'm gonna be out for weeks (she's pissed), so I stop by the pharmacy while I'm in
the building. My doc was right. They're not gonna fill the script.
While I'm standing there waiting to be told this, a number of pharmacists stroll past the counter and look me up and down real good. Then 'the'
pharmacist shows up and starts asking me, "What's up?" I explained. He's highly skeptical. Tells me they don't give drugs this powerful to the
'expectant' patients up on the terminal ward. Understand that Iraq II is full-on, and short of burn patients, I’ve never seen our guys in this
bad’a shape. He hands me my script back and off to Walgreens I go.
The pharmacist at Walgreens doesn't bat an eye. He calls my doc, verifies the script, tells me to come back in an hour, and not to be even one
minute late or he won't be able to issue the pills. I come back, check-in at the desk, wait for a delivery truck to show up, see the exchange, the
pharmacist doesn't even set the pills down, make my co-pay, and he puts the bottle in my hand. Everybody winds up signing a receipt for the delivery
guy and off he goes.
So the pharmacist says to me, "Those pills are going to virtually paralyze you. Don't even think about taking them until you get home. You need to
lay down on the floor ... flat on your back. Never exceed the dosage or you probably won't wake up. Take them on-schedule and take them all." So
I did. I can't remember now if it was four weeks or six, but I think it was four ... Hell, it might have been eight ... it was a big bottle and they
were little pills.
First dose was two. After that one at a time. I got up to go to the bathroom and only ate when I was really hungry. After that, take a pill and go
back into a coma for about 14 hours. By the time I was done, my wife was ready to have a fit. We've been married over thirty years now, and from
this day to that, I have never been as still as I was during that time. She said she was constantly checking my pulse every half hour and was never
really sure if I was alive or dead the whole time. When the pills were gone ... I was cured.