Summer is almost officially upon us and the guys and girls up at the Broad Channel VFW on Shad Creek Road are once again extending an invitation to all to join them for their first BBQ of the season. Hopefully Saturday's weather will be filled with lots of sun and warm temps, so gather up your family, friends, and neighbors and drop by the Broad Channel VFW for some lively music, stimulating conversation, great food, soda, water and ice cold beer while enjoying a refreshing light breeze off the bay...under a tent or an umbrella or out in the sun. You can even visit the Post Canteen to catch up on the latest out at the U.S. Open at the Shinnecock Hills Golf Course on one of the large-screen televisions....so come on out and join the fun. BBQ starts at 2 p.m. - $20 for adults and $10 for children. Kiddies under 5 party for free.
Recently the chronic pain caused by spinal arthritis, stenosis and a bulging disc in my lower back had become so debilitating that my day-to-day existence had become a Catch-22 of a mutually conflicting regimen of anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs, muscle relaxants and that most accursed of all opioid pain medications, Tylenol with codeine. The anti-inflammatory I was taking had to be taken with food in order to avoid some really nasty heartburn. The muscle relaxant only served to make me drowsy to the point where I only wanted to sit happily in my recliner, meditating while examining my belly button lint.
The real problem came when I discovered that the codeine painkiller resulted in a continual state of constipation, which then required the use of a nightly laxative, which of course had its own side effect of stomach cramps. It seemed that all I was doing was eating, meditating in a chair and arising only when my stomach cramped up from the laxative signaling it was time to run, not walk, to the loo! What made matters worse, was the fact that all of the above, was doing very little to alleviate the chronic low back pain that was slowly driving me to the "dark side."
It goes without saying that, although I was not a happy camper, those family members (including the pets) who had to live in the same house with me during this time fared much worse. Grace and girls began referring to me as the "constipated curmudgeon" who constantly barked at everyone in between trips to the john and picking lint out of his belly button. It was not a pretty sight. Obviously, something had to be done!
Ultimately my training as one of Uncles Sam's Misguided Children (USMC) kicked in and I pulled up my big boy Depends and proclaimed to the world that it was time to do something about the situation. Initially, I discontinued the use of daily laxatives by designing a concoction I referred to as the "bowel banger" consisting of equal parts vodka, prune juice, Grand Marnier and lemon juice. Granted, the mixture is smooth and a little sweet, but it did serve to keep the plumbing open and allowed me the luxury of a cocktail (or two or three) prior to retiring for the night with a dopey smile on face.
Unfortunately, even though I had addressed the issue of stomach cramps and constipation with my nightly "bowel banger" aperitif, I was still dealing with some serious chronic pain issues. When Grace discovered that I was then contemplating a trip to Lourdes, France in order to bathe in the springs of the Grotto of the Apparitions, seeking a miracle cure to my lumbar problems, she finally put (both) her feet down and had me seek out the assistance of a pain management clinic.
Shortly thereafter, I was escorted, under pain of death, by Grace over to St. John's Episcopal Hospital where I underwent a lumbar epidural steroid injection, which immediately provided me with almost total pain relief so much so, that I was so happy, I broke out into a rather loud rendition of Madeline Kahn's “Oh, sweet mystery of life, at last I’ve found you!” (Young Frankenstein) while still on the gurney in the operating room. I think the staff at St. John's will be talking about me for awhile.
Although I was amazed and considered both the procedure and the outcome nothing short of a miracle, Grace on the other hand, simply stated that "I have been telling you for years that medicine has come a long way since the dinosaurs died!"
See y'all at the BBQ this Saturday up at the VFW!
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