The latest in the battery of tests after my spine surgery is called EMG or Electromyography, as it’s known in medical circles. My surgeon said there may be a few more, but he didn’t want to worry me because everything involves needles and pain.
After the surgery on August 31st, I’ve been dragging my right leg and foot around like the Frankenstein monster, an after-effect that may or may not cure itself. However, my wife said I had it down pat if I wanted to try out for any film parts.
The walker from the hospital was a cheap affair with the tennis balls that kept getting in the way; it was so 1980s, so I purchased one of the new walkers with four wheels, a seat, and hand brakes like the old English bicycles from the 1940s. Now I could obtain a speed of at least 5 mph, and dragging the leg and foot didn’t matter.
The older people on the square seemed impressed and gave me a thumbs up when I whizzed by. Next, I challenged an old lady with a motorized electric scooter to a race and beat her to the stop sign. She was reluctant to part with the $20 bet, so I let it slide and bought her a gin and tonic.
While lying on the exam table, I noticed the medical gown had a pleasant aroma of lavender which helped soothe my nerves.
The young technician said the electrodes might hurt a smidgen and make my muscles react involuntarily. Unfortunately, she was correct; as the electricity increased, I jumped around like a frog in a 7th-grade science class hooked up to a 24-volt battery. However, the pain wasn’t too bad because I had taken a 50 mg tablet of Tramadol before the visit, so I was a bit loopy and perhaps more compliant than I should have been.
After twenty minutes of shocking me into submission, she unhooked me and said the Doctor would be in shortly to administer the needle test.
” He’s going to stick needles into me?” I asked.
No one said anything about needles; by now, after 3 years of operations and cancer, I should be used to needles; but I am not.
The young Doctor came in, asked me a series of questions about my spine surgery, then said, ” well, let’s get this over with.” How comforting.
I looked him dead in his highly educated eyes and asked, ” is this going to be a bit uncomfortable,, or will it hurt like Hell?” “Oh, it’s going to hurt like Hell,” he said. At least he was honest.
The first needle was about 6 inches long and went into my calf. It didn’t hurt too bad; the second hurt like hell, the third even worse, and by the time he stuck me with the last one in my lower back, I was telling him I would give him a hundred bucks to stop. Obviously, he doesn’t need the money.
He called my wife Maureen into the exam room and told her everything because she is a nurse and won’t forget. They did their “secret medical handshake,” and we went home.
I got a message from the surgeon’s office this morning that I need to come in next week for some more tests that involve needles and other machines.