Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Vicodin-Assisted Physical Therapy

Some weeks ago I woke up one morning, and before my bones had a chance to settle in, squatted down to pet our cat. The next thing I knew, I was seized with a terrible pain, and I knew that my upper back had gone out. It felt like some kind of structural slippage, like a rib attachment to the backbone sliding out of kilter, so after four or five days of hoping it would get better by itself, I went to a chiropractor that one of my patients recommended. He proceeded to crack my back, measure my legs, etc., and I went on my way. Unfortunately there was no difference in my level of discomfort. It hurt so much that I could barely shift gears in my car, or put my backpack on.

So I took matters into my own hands. I took an extra-strength Vicodin, and an hour or so later, as I slowly began to feel my consciousness disengage from the Sex and the City that my wife Annette was watching, I placed a hard rubber ball on the floor and lied down on it. I had tried this the day before, since the ball - a medium-sized bouncy ball a little smaller than a tennis ball - generally works great for sore spots on the back, but my back muscles were so seized up that the ball was unbearably painful.

With the Vicodin, the ball was painful but not unbearably so. For about an hour, I lay on the floor, shifting the ball every few minutes and making big circles with my left arm. As I inched the ball towards the epicenter of pain between my left shoulder blade and backbone, it got more and more painful. As I made the big circles with my arm, layers of muscle and fascia would shift and I would find new positions of ever more extreme pain. I would hold the arm position until the pain subsided, then moved on to the next position of pain.

In case I'm sounding like I like pain, I should point out that I dislike pain very much (hence the Vicodin). In fact, I was inspired to use the rubber ball as a therapeutic tool after surviving a treatment by a Korean healer named White Cloud, who tortured me with a pair of stone balls for half an hour or so. I vowed that I would never inflict such pain on anybody in the name of healing. But, time passed, and I got worked on by White Cloud's disciple Andy, who is one of my best friends. Andy took a gentler approach, and I had to admit that the ball was a wonderful healing tool. The great thing about using the ball on yourself is that you get to control the level of pain you inflict on yourself. The great thing about using the Vicodin is that you get to open up places that would have been too painful to approach without the narcotic.

To make a long story a little less long, the next day my pain was about 90% better. Yesterday I had the opportunity to try Vicodin-Assisted Physical Therapy again, after messing up my lower back. I first got an acupuncture treatment from my colleague Ben Zappin (Ben runs the best herb pharmacy in town; call him at Five Flavors Herbal Pharmacy 831-239-6900 for all your herb needs). It was a great treatment, but, eager to try VAPT again, I raced home, popped a Vicodin, and got out my ball. Today, thanks to Ben and my home treatment, my back is about 60% better. After another round of VAPT, I'm sure I'll be back to normal. Trouble is, I'm running out of Vicodin. If you have any, please find a way to send it to me ASAP.

*Please note that the activities described in this post are those of a fictional persona named Soma Uemura, and that the real-life author does not in any way advocate the illegal use of Vicodin without a prescription.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Soma, I think VAPT is just the next step in a line of traditional home therapies. Some of these include drinking Whiskey until you see two hats at the end of your bed (I was never clear whether you were supposed to put one hat there in the first place or not put any and drink until you hallucinated...) and (courtesy of a guy I went out with when I was supposed to be attending college)eating spicy Chinese food, drinking Tequila and dancing until dawn. Of course both these are for colds or flus. I once knew a Martial artist whose remedy for back pain was to drink as much beer as he could hold, then lean various points on his back onto the end of a broom. Good luck with your experiments.