The symptoms began in Madrid, in January: occasional spasms in my right leg, an ache in my right buttock, furtive searches for a place to sit down to relieve the pain. I suffered from severe sciatica twenty years ago and was certain that I could manage it now, as I did then, by walking, exercising, and even better, losing a few pounds. But instead of getting better it got worse. By the time we went to Barbados, in June, I began to dread standing and walking, and in Chicago, in July, I was in agony, the pain so excruciating I wanted to scream and punch holes in the wall.
Then the doctor visits: primary care physician, neurosurgeon, anesthesiologist, radiologist, orthopedic surgeon, long consultations with Dr. Google, even a chiropractor. A MRI showed a synovial cyst in my lower lumbar spinal column and I was desperate to find a non-surgical solution. The radiologist might be able to aspirate the cyst and the anesthesiologist might be able to temporarily ameliorate the pain, but one and all said that surgery was the only sure cure.
The idea of getting cut on made me despondent, and my mood worsened when I realized we'd have to cancel our yearly trip to Buenos Aires: no grilled steaks at La Cholita, no sitting in Plaza Vicente Lopez soaking up the late winter sun, no strolls down Avenida del Libertador. Instead of escaping the Texas summer heat, I moped around the apartment, unable to do much of anything except sit, lie down, and wait for my date with the scalpel.
Finally it was my turn; I had the surgery about four weeks ago and I'm glad to say it went exceedingly well. My orthopedic surgeon, Jason Tinley, is a talented young doctor who removed the cyst and used some bone grafts to help stabilize my spine. The surgery took about an hour, in late morning, and I was able to go home around 3 p.m. The sciatica was completely gone and I was able to resume my walking exercises almost immediately. I am tickled beyond words that Terri and I can once again walk the Trinity Trails; just yesterday we did about three and a half miles.
I have a few more weeks of exercising and recovery before we're ready to travel again, but lucky for us there are three great exhibits going on at our local museums. The Kimbell has "The Kimbell at 40: An Evolving Masterpiece", 220 pieces from their permanent collection displayed in the chronological order in which they were acquired. The Amon Carter has "To See as Artists See", late nineteenth and early twentieth century American works from The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. Finally, The Modern has "Lucian Freud: Portraits", an incredible collection of paintings in its only U.S. venue.
Oh yes, about the Waldorf Salad. Sam's Club sells big tubs of the delicious, addictive stuff, but it's seasonal and I was pleasantly surprised last week when we found it in stock again. I consider myself a Costco type of guy, but Sam's Club's Waldorf Salad is so good I got a membership just so I could buy it a few months each year.
Let's hope my next blog post takes less than three months to write and is datelined from someplace other than Texas. I haven't taken many snaps lately, but I have my eye on a new camera and if I buy it I'll have to go somewhere to test it out.