Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sciatic Vocabulary

A NOTE BEFORE READING: If you find certain four-letter words (specifically, the ones that begin with “f” and “s”) offensive, then take a break from my blog and come back next week. Otherwise…

A few years ago in January, I woke up on a Sunday morning with fun plans for the day. But in less than a minute, I realized the hours ahead would not be quite as entertaining as I had anticipated. I couldn’t move. Or rather, I couldn’t get out of bed without using my arms to mobilize my right leg and hip. Something was very wrong, and the pain was unfamiliar.

Once I had made it to my feet, I inched my way into the kitchen and prepared some coffee. And once my cup was prepped, I did what I always do when I don’t feel well. I called my mom.

I realize that might sound childish coming from a woman my age, but the fact is, I have always been relatively adult, and so I deprived my mother of ministering to a certain amount of child-like behavior back when my height would have made it appropriate. I think she likes it when I call her with complaints of a stomach ache or whatever. And in this instance, although I couldn’t describe my ailment precisely, I had a strong need to whine to her and hear her voice.

I should mention, before I revisit the conversation itself, that my mother rarely cusses, and she has never, to my knowledge, dropped the “f-bomb.” She’s heard it, of course. From me. From my sister. Even from our late Dad (who felt particularly comfortable using the word once my sister and I had set a precedent). So I don’t mean to imply that Mom lives in a bubble. In fact, she is the very person who shared with me this little piece of etymology: did you know that the “f-bomb” is actually an acronym used by law enforcement in the UK? It represents for unlawful carnal knowledge.


So that’s my mom. A font of information and a woman who stands by her scruples.

I was pacing in my living room when I called her that January morning. After the difficulty getting out of bed, I knew that sitting down would probably be an unwise idea. Particularly as it would need to be followed, at some point, by standing up.

“Mom,” I said, genuine concern in my voice. “Something is wrong. I don’t know what it is.”

She asked some logical follow-up questions, and as I paced, I frequently felt extremely sharp pains.

“Fuck!” I blurted out, after one especially sharp jolt.

“Shit!” after another.

I continued to try to describe what I was feeling --

“Fuck! Shit!”

-- and how I didn’t recall doing anything particular to cause it.

“Fuck!” (the pain jolts kept coming…)

I shared that I’d been exercising quite consistently in the past month --


-- so having some sort of sudden physical problem like this --


-- just didn’t make sense.

There was a pause in my tirade, and my mother waited a moment. Then, she asked the irresistible question.

“Are you sure it’s not Turrets?”

POSTSCRIPT: As you might have gathered from the title of this piece, my ailment turned out to be sciatica. Avoid it if you can! (It’ll fuck with you.)

1 comment:

raindance said...

No need to apologize for calling mom - there is no age where mom can't make things better!

i love this sentence part "child-like behavior back when my height would have made it appropriate". made me grin!