For the record, I am high as a kite as I write this. I am hopped up on pain killers and under the influence of chemicals for only the second time in my life (besides CH3CH2OH which is also known as booze to you non-science geeks – apparently I feel extra clever when I am high.) This is the conversation I had with my doctor to get the Percocet:
Doctor: So what seems to be the problem?
Refugee: I have been having severe lower back pain, most acute in the morning, since I woke on Sunday. It eased a bit through the day but returned yesterday and this morning.
Doctor: How severe is it? Tell me the most painful thing you’ve ever felt and use that pain as a ten and then rate it on a 1-10 scale with a needle stick being 1.
Refugee: In college, I tore my ACL, PCL, and Meniscus playing football. I’d say that was ten and this is about a seven or eight.
Doctor: Where exactly is the pain?
Refugee: It’s concentrated on the right side but it’s there on the left side too.
Doctor: You said it eased as you went through the day, did you do anything specific to try to make it go away?
Refugee: This is going to sound silly but I went to WebMD.com and they said that most lower back pain can be eased with warm compresses, some stretching and a little movement. So I tried that and it worked enough for me to continue with my day.
Doctor: Same thing yesterday morning?
Refugee: Yes… well mostly the same thing – stretching, warm compresses and some walking.
Doctor: OK, lay on your stomach and I am going to poke around a bit. (Starts kneading my back like pizza dough) Does this hurt?
Refugee: like hell.
Doctor: Did you have any physical activity the night before the pain started? Lift anything heavy? Play any sports?
Refugee: sort of… I mean not really.
Doctor: I see, so what exactly do you mean by “sort of, not really?”
Refugee: Ummm, there was some physical activity, punctuated by some sleep, and then more activity.
Doctor: OK, so this is a sexual injury?
Refugee: Look, Doc, don’t get me wrong. I’m not a cold fish, but it wasn’t exactly acrobatic either. I only mention it because… well because I know what can happen when you don’t…
Doctor: …You don’t play tennis for a couple of months and suddenly you do and your muscles get really sore?
Doctor: and it had been a while?
Refugee: do you have this conversation often, or something?
Doctor: More often than you might think. So, uhhh, how many sets did you have that night?
Refugee: three, I think and a few the night before too. But, this doesn’t feel like that kind of injury; and like I said there was nothing overtly acrobatic about it.
Doctor: You can sit up now. Here’s the thing, from what you describe, it appears that you tweaked something in your back. Your injury isn’t skeletal, it’s muscular. You probably just pulled a muscle.
Refugee: Tweaked it? Really eight years of med school and you tell me I tweaked it?
Doctor: That’s the term they taught me at the med school in Grenada.
Refugee: I’m going to assume that you’re joking about that Grenada part.
Doctor: Yes I am. Listen, you’re at the age when the back just starts to get cranky every now and then. You played football in college, right?
Doctor: well two things: one, you know that kinda pounding takes a toll on your body; and two, after a long time away from exercise, you know enough to stretch first, right?
Refugee: you want me to stretch before being intimate with a woman?
Doctor: I know it sounds funny, but would you rather do that or have to tell a woman that she Broke You?
Refugee: Funny, that’s what she said.