Oct 312018

Miss Terry had a doctor’s appointment early Monday afternoon and we thought we would pop into the library in New Smyrna Beach on the way and vote early. As it turned out, about half of Volusia County had the same idea. The place was packed and a double line snaked up and down the hallway. We knew there was no way we would be out of there before her appointment, so we decided to go back yesterday.

This time around it wasn’t too bad, about a 45-minute wait. Because the wording on the ballots can be very confusing, we got sample ballots in the mail and spent time researching the various amendments and marking them on the sample ballots ahead of time to make it quicker and easier when we did get to the voting booth.

I’m really pleased to see so many citizens getting out and voting this year. No matter what your party affiliation is, or if you’re an independent like we are, get out and vote. And if you don’t, you have no right to complain about the results of the election, no matter how it goes. Here is Miss Terry proudly posing with her I Voted sticker.

Afterwards we did some browsing at a local antique mall, which is always fun for us. Except for a used copy of Tom Brokaw’s book The Greatest Generation Speaks, I didn’t find anything I liked enough to bring home with me. Terry was kind of captivated by this broom with its elaborately shaped stick. This being Halloween, I wasn’t sure if she was going to put it in the car for the trip home or just fly it and get a feel for how was. As it turned out, she didn’t do either and it’s still there.

I have a question for my readers. Has anyone here had a spinal pain block injection or a nerve ablation for back pain? If so, what were the results? Would you do it again?

As most of you know, a while back I decided to try medical marijuana for the intense back pain I’ve been living with for years, which has gotten much more severe in the last several months. At first it worked great and lasted for about six weeks. I felt like a new man and could move around without pain, didn’t need a cane to get around, was off the opioid pain meds, and could sleep through the night in bed instead of sleeping fitfully, sitting up in recliner.
But when I ran out of that particular extract, the folks at the local dispensary sold me something that they said was exactly the same. It wasn’t, and I wrote about that in a blog post titled Fun And Not So Fun. Not being able to tolerate their products, I needed to find Plan B.

Later Monday afternoon we had an appointment with our marijuana “primary care doctor” and he agreed with us that the dispensary in Edgewater leaves a lot to be desired. He wrote me specific orders for what he said would help me at a different dispensary Surterra Wellness Center in Port Orange. This included some oil that goes under the tongue sublingually, and patches that you place on the skin for up to 12 hours. So far I haven’t seen any relief from them, but hopefully they will kick in and do me some good. But since two doctors have told me I’m not a good candidate for back surgery, I’m looking at other options.

Of course, losing about 100 pounds would help, too. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to walk on the treadmill because of the pain, but the last few days I’m back at it and doing about a mile a day. Don’t you wish fat came off as easily as it went on? I know I sure do!

And finally, with 33 books out, I’ve been an author long enough that I don’t get bent out of shape by a bad review. They happen. Not everybody’s going to like something just because I wrote it, and that’s okay, too. But sometimes when I read a review I shake my head and think “Really?” I got a 3 star review (not that 3 stars is all that bad) for Strawberry Slugbug that said “unbelievable that all the serial killers come to that town.” Do they not understand that this is fiction? Do they watch police dramas on TV and think real cops get in that many shootouts? Or that doctors on medical dramas save lives miraculously at the last minute whenever the Grim Reaper shows up in the ER looking for souls to collect?

Thought For The Day – If your identical twin got plastic surgery, it would be hard not to feel a little insulted.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  8 Responses to “Ballots And Broomsticks”

  1. My wife had spinal blocks off and on for about 25 years, until her back got so bad they operated. pain free periods varied between 2 years and 6 months.

  2. Nick, I have back problems,too. Mine are osteoarthritis and stenosis. They tell me the pain is from the arthritis, not the stenosis. I tried the shots and they didn’t seem to help. Now, my primary physician tells me that I should try again because they can’t know exactly where to place the injections. The first ones were where the pain was most likely coming from, but if it didn’t help they would try a different location.
    We are now in Florida for the winter, so I will try again in the spring. The shots are painful, but the pain is very brief and gone by the time I leave the doctor’s office. Worth it, IF they help! If you’ve tried the injections,you might want to try again.

    My pain is different than yours, I think. Mine doesn’t hurt at all unless I’m upright. I can’t stand more than a minute, but as soon as I sit, the pain is GONE. I used to be a walker………….LOVED to walk! Someone asked me where I walk to, and my answer was it didn’t matter……. I walked just for the love of walking! Sure wish I could still do it. I can’t do flea markets (which I really enjoy) and I love Bok Tower but had to give up both activities. Can’t shop in malls and so many other things. Of course, I”m 83, so I suppose I have to expect stuff like that, but it’s sure frustrating. I can still grocery shop by using a cart to lean on,and my doctor suggested a walker, but that wouldn’t be any fun either. Ah well………… just be thankful to still be kicking!

    BTW. I’m an avid reader and I LOVE your books, especially the Big Lake series! Love the way you include humor in the mysteries!

    Norma Heck

  3. My husband has had both the epidural injections and the nerve ablation. Both helped but the jury is still out on whether he would do it again. He says maybe. The procedures didn’t really hurt all that much but the ablation is too recent to say definitely.

  4. I’ve heard of a procedure that is approved in Germany ( but not here) to REPLACE damaged discs in the spine. I’m getting the information from a friend. I Penn send it to you if it’s of interest.

  5. Have you tried highly concentrated CBD ? The pain issue is not what it solved for me, but as an appetite suppressant and weight loss is it’s primary relief for me.
    Most (some) back ache is directly related to weight.
    I have realized other benefits, but weight loss is significant, as has been quality of sleep and temperament. I fin it is best to start with high/full dose and work back vs. low to high.

  6. I know this sounds crazy and too easy but have you changed your shoes? When my husband starts having back pain he gets new shoes and that makes it better. But not your kind of back pain.

  7. Nick, my history with arthritic pain started decades ago with bad knees; I had cortisone shots in them three different times to help with the pain. That bought me time. Then several years ago, I began having back pain which progressed quite painfully into my left hip, then down my left leg, through my knee and into my foot. After several orthopedic exams and a variety of tests, including an MRI and a needle test, it was concluded that I had sciatica and stenosis in my lower spine. Eventually, I agreed to a cortisone epidural shot to decrease the inflammation in my lower spine.

    In Feb 2015, I had a “lumbar puncture with x-ray guidance” under the care of both the orthopedic surgeon and an anesthesiologist. The shot itself wasn’t completely inside my spine, but very nearly. I was told that the same amount of cortisone used in my earlier knee shots would be used for this lumbar puncture. Just like for a colonoscopy, the anesthesia put me under just enough to sleep through the puncture; I suffered no pain or memory of the shot itself. Post-procedure, I was told to rest until the puncture site had a chance to heal and to expect to feel the benefit of the procedure in about 7 to 14 days. I can’t remember how long it took, but I believe my relief came pretty fast. I definitely stopped suffering from the sciatica. I continue today with no sciatica pain. However, if I twist my back just so, I can find and feel the old, sensitive area in my lumbar, all these years later. I deal with that by not twisting my back; problem solved! I’m doing really well after that lumbar puncture, now almost four years later. I wish you the very best that you will find substantial relief for yourself very soon.

  8. At age 20, I was diagnosed with multiple problems in my back, some genetic. The doctor then told me to put off surgery as long as possible because most people ended up in worse shape afterwards. I had so many problems over the next 40+ years. I developed a bad limp, sciatica down both sides, a torn muscle due to erratic walking, trochanteric bursitis in one hip and knee pain. The only thing that offered relief was opiods which I did not abuse, but if I wanted to walk, I had to take one. I only went out shopping, etc., before noon because after that, I had difficulty moving.

    My Dad also suffered from multiple back problems partially due to driving a semi for over 35 years. His doctors kept putting him off till he was too old to have any surgical intervention. The last 6 years of his life he wished he was dead from the pain and inability to move. He tried everything, as I had, which included acupunture, epidurals, steroid shots, physical therapy, etc. He died in so much pain and there was nothing any of us could do. Even the opiods at that point didn’t help. . . just made him sleep. I did not want to end up like that.

    One summer I ran into an old friend at the Shipshewana flea market. She had just had back surgery the previous Thursday. This was the following TUESDAY! She told me about her doctor and when I got back home, I called and made an appointment. He was in Indianapolis and we went down and consulted with him. He told me only surgery could fix my back and gave me lots of information and much to mull over. I decided I was going to do it, but I waited until the following spring so I could get in most of the followups before we headed back south.

    It is the single most blessed thing I have done for myself. Little did I know that 100% of the problems I was having were related to my back. I now have 2 rods, 6 screws, 3 implants with cages (disk replacements) along with 3 fusions. I can walk my 2.4 miles daily again any time of the day with not even an aspirin. I have no pain, no sciatica. . . the bursitis is GONE. I’m still limping a bit, but it took me 20 years to develop that so I’m learning to walk all over again. The doctor thinks some of the limp is probably habit and I agree. But the key is that my pain is GONE. There is nothing I can’t do. I still bend, tie my shoes, etc.

    So, I know you said you weren’t a candidate for surgery. See a NEUROSURGEON who specializes in back surgeries. He is the one who can move nerves, etc. He doesn’t just do “bandaid” surgeries. He will go in and fix and move things. My doctor told Terry when I was out of surgery that he was able to remove ALL the nerve impingements. None of this. . . let’s see how she does in a couple months and see if it helped. Also. . . new techniques are being developed every day that might help.

    And, I don’t like treadmills period. . . and I have one. . . in storage. Does your park there have a pool? Get in it and just walk in shallow water back and forth. It’s low impact, no pressure on your spine. . . it’s like weightless movement. Best exercise ever. Swimming burns more calories than walking and works more muscles.

    The right doctor can help you. I wanted to live more years but painfree, not in pain taking something for the pain.


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