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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Summer of Joe

The Summer of Joe

A certain retired Air Force Sergeant over at just went under the knife for an operation which he is not describing (thank you very much) but sounds like an uncomfortable and a little scary procedure.  He mentioned the possibility of some time off from work to recover.  It reminded me of what I like to call “The Summer of Joe.”

Seinfeld experts will know what this title refers to. 

One April, years ago, at what then seemed like the ripe old age of 42, I suddenly felt a very uncomfortable shooting pain down my right arm.  I ignored it for several days and it did not go away.  I went to the Doctor and complained about a pain in the neck.  After he made several wife, mother-in-law, and kid jokes, he prescribed ibuprofen and a warm compress.

After a week, the pain persisted.  I could barely extend my arm enough to shift gears on my VW bug, I only used my left hand on the computer at work.  The muscles in my right arm were useless.

I went back to the doctor complaining that there was still pain even with the ibuprofen and heat compress.  The doctor grabbed my arm to check out my range of motion.  I pulled away.

“Maybe I’m not being clear enough, I cannot move the arm, the arm doesn’t  just hurt, it FUCKING HURTS.  It FUCKING HURTS LIKE HELL!”

“Well why didn’t you say so, you need to see a specialist.”

After several trips to a specialist, and a few myelogram tests, (see ) I had laminectomy fusion of neck vertebrae C6 that July.  I was forced to take 6 weeks off work to recover.

Generally when you think of recovering from a surgical procedure you picture time in bed, limping to the bathroom, daily physical therapy and a painful process you would not wish on anyone.

This was not the case for my recovery.  My neck felt fine.  The arm felt fine.  My arm strength was coming back.  I could walk, I could swim, I could read, I could nap. I could do everything except ride in a car or a train as a short stop, or any rear-end accident could rupture the fusion and cause serious damage. 

So there I was (sorry Sarge) completely healthy, in no pain, I just could not travel.  It was summer.  It was hot.  We were members of a pool club two blocks away.

It was “The Summer of Joe.”


  1. I've never heard of not being able to ride in a car, for fear of being rear ended due to surgery. That would be quite a doctor's note.

    1. Until the bone graft heals an accident could cause paralysis, at least that was the diagnosis 30 years ago.

  2. Actually, I had the same restrictions. I ignored them. Sometimes doctors don't understand you have a life. I said I would be back to driving the next week. The surgeon sighed and prescribed a vicious cervical collar, which I did wear for six weeks. I made a big ceremony of putting it in the trash at the end.

  3. Hahaha! Great story Joe. I am looking forward to the down time.

  4. Its almost like a friend of my son's years ago whose older brother got grounded the first day of summer vacation for the whole summer. Nowadays I would have been okay with such restrictions, rarely going out, heck, except for swimming, these days you can do just about everything without leaving the house, shopping, friendships (social media), even church :)


  5. I had a problem with my C6, too. My doc said the first step was meds, then steroid shots, and finally, if all else failed, surgery. The meds worked for me. DANG! You're telling me I coulda had 6 weeks off? DOH!

  6. I'm sure Sgt. will appreciate this rub. Yes he will. Bwahahahahahaha.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  7. I thought that was leading to a heart attack.

  8. Wow, all recoveries should be like that. More of us would line up for surgery.

  9. I hope you had some pudding skin singles in your recliner fridge!

  10. A perfect example of seeing the bright side, getting lemons and making lemonade.

  11. now that's the kind of recuping i could almost do well. :)

  12. I'm jealous, too! I have to ask...did you take a bite out of a big hunk of cheese?

  13. You've been laminated?? Ha Ha. Was it squishy and uncomfortable going through the laminator?
    Just kidding, I know what you had done. nice to be pain free eh?

  14. Talk about stepping in a pile of poo and coming out smelling like a rose :)


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