I have always lived by the simple rule that if you don’t go to the doctor then no one can find anything wrong with you. I have therefore only gone to the doctor in times of greatest need, i.e. debilitating pain for which drugs are essential. Even in the case of pain, more often than not I have taken someone else’s drugs or got the doctor to prescribe drugs without actually seeing me.
Until today. After last year’s broken back (see “Max on drugs” – 30 June 2005) and then my recent two back episodes in the space of one week, I went to the doctor in hopes of being given some exercises or physical therapy or a referral to a chiropractor. But no, the doctor (an associate of the Jester, but not the Jester himself) sent me to the hospital for x-rays. He also looked at my self-imposed drug regimen, which I had of course recorded, and not only did he approve, but he asked me if I needed more of anything. I got more codeine to replace what I had taken from AG. It looks like I might be getting prescriptions for more of everything else when I go back for the x-ray follow-up.
I got home and took the x-ray doctor’s diagnosis out of the envelope with the pictures of my spine. Needless to say, medical Czech is not my language speciality, so the translation was slow and painstaking. Then there is the problem that I don’t understand the English either. The good news is that my spine is straight and my bone structure is fine. The bad news is that I have Schmorl’s nodes, signs of spondylosis, and chondrosis in my L5 vertebra. Hooray! – more things of which I have never heard.
Next stop: Google. What did medically ignorant people do before Google and Wikipedia?
Schmorl’s nodes: herniations of the intervertebral disc through the vertebral end-plate. The disease is self-limiting and usually does not require extensive treatment. Usually due to trauma.
Spondylosis: spinal osteoarthritis; a degenerative disorder of which aging is the primary cause.
Invertebral (osteo)chondrosis: a degenerative process of the spine characterized radiographically by the presence of vacuum phenomena, disc space narrowing and reactive sclerosis of the vertebral body. Also due to aging.
AG had said everything would start falling apart as soon as I turned 40. Why did she have to be right?