Friday 12 May 2023

Back Pain by Henry Lewi, glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc

 The back pain had been a constant feature of his life for the last few months. Normally he was fit man, going to the gym on a daily basis, ate healthily and walked everywhere, but now he was getting less and less mobile. In the last couple of months his normally grey hair had turned white, his posture had changed and the back pain was relentless. It was located up between his shoulder blades and he found it difficult to get comfortable in bed; sitting in a chair was miserable. He’d visited his GP who put it down to arthritis and old age and told him to take some anti-inflammatory painkillers. A scheduled appointment at the local hospital was eighteen months away so he decided to go ‘Private’ as they say. Unfortunately he was not privately insured so he figured it was going to cost him an arm and a leg but so what if it got rid of the pain, he’d sort out his finances, sell the car or cash in part of his pension.

The private consultation with the specialist was as expected, ‘we’ll organize some tests such as X rays, MRI of spine, get a few bloods and organize some physiotherapy’ intoned the Consultant, he seemed to be reading from a script, ‘Back pain 101’ he thought.  ‘Not sure why your hair has gone white the consultant added, maybe it’s a vitamin or magnesium deficiency which could be linked with the back pain.  Let’s look into it when we’ve got the blood and MRI results’.

 Dutifully he went of and had his X Rays, MRI and a whole host of bloods, which included something called a metabolic profile. His next appointment was a couple of weeks away and during that time his back pain increased; one night when he tried to settle into his favourite armchair and found he couldn’t fully lie back, as the curvature of his spine had increased. Looking in the full length mirror in his bedroom – he was now having to walk upstairs almost on all fours. He thought he could see what looked like two bony protrusions between his shoulder blades, ‘what the hell’ he thought.

 At his next appointment the consultant looking at the X Rays and MRI stated, ‘never seen anything like this. It looks like you’ve got new bone growth forming alongside your thoracic spine that appears to be growing outwards from the spine. I’m going to refer you to the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital at Stanmore, I’m sure they can figure this out and deal with it appropriately’. Jokingly he added,  ‘If I didn’t know better I’d say you were growing vestigial wings.

‘By the by, your blood results are all OK so I’ll pop a referral to a Dermatologist in the internal mail and see if they can give you some idea as to why your hair has turned white, but don’t hold your breath’.

 By the time he was seen by the Specialists at Stanmore the bony protuberances had significantly enlarged and had now penetrated his skin giving him an appearance of having two spikes on his back. The specialists could shed no further light on the problem, other than this was benign condition, possibly some form of genetic bony growth and yes they did look like vestigial wings, and yes they’d be happy to remove the bony growths. 

'Come back in a month once you’ve had time to think about this and we can organize the operative treatment, meanwhile here are some helpful booklets on ‘Managing Back Pain’; ‘Your Back Operation’; And ‘What To Do After Your Operation’.'

 As he travelled back, he was lost in thought, debating the issue of an upcoming operation, and on arriving home he noticed that propped up by his front door was a long tall parcel encased in its distinctive Amazon packaging. 'Wasn’t expecting anything,' he mumbled to himself, and looking at the label he clearly saw that it was addressed to him with the correct address. There it was on the label Mr. Michael Angel; there was no doubt that it was for him.

 Opening it the Archangel Michael drew out his flaming sword from the Amazon packaging as his wings finally burst through his clothes and spread out. 

About the author 

 Henry is a retired Surgeon and member of the Canvey Writers Group. He has published a number of stories on the CafeLit site. 
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