dem bones – foto by Smith

Things to never say #1: “Well, it can’t get worse.”


Wrote this senryu two years ago:

63 Years of Wear & Tear

Pain walking, pain not
Pain sitting in pain pain’s lot
Pain sleeping, pain knot

Well, it done did gone and went way worse. Wrote this lame blame this morning:


I am
lurching through the night
bone grinding against bone
spurs sparring spurs
cartilage cushion crushed
I limp up
lump down
lurch left
list right
all pain in pain of pain with pain
pain awake
pain asleep that makes me wake
pain standing
pain sitting
pain in sex
pain without sex
pain in text
pain in talk
pain in treks
pain in bulk
they always say “no pain, no gain”
which means I must have
one hellish train of gain
planetary planes of gain
bunches of bad game gain
pure unplain gain
great grating gain
straining gain
stained gain
mirthless girthless gristled gain
bad breaking brain gain
cough awful exploding gain
tear in eye gain
no scope or hope in future poke of lessening pain
grimy gain way off the aim
in my long wrong way fight
to lack of lite
what can I say
in this lame writ lip
severe osteoarthritis of the hip
and I thought I was so cool too
but no hep cat’s hip to beaten tip
of meatless meeting zip
in bone groan zone
for dark is the day
too short the night
this unfair affair
this just not right
which clouds my eye
which dims my light
which fogs my brain
in pains full fright
leaving me angry

For six and a half years I had hope I could walk my pain away, or exercise it out, or hot soak it well, or simply rest it right; but last week the doctor and the x-ray said no — there’s not only no cartilage left between hip joint and leg ball but I’ve actually ground the bone away so every step bone grates against bone sending massive pain to brain.

Somehow the knowing I couldn’t fix it myself dropped me into minor depression, even made the pain worse because now my mind knows it’s bone scraping against bone with each movement of standing sitting sleeping walking.

But now there’s hope — vague of course, but perhaps a hint of light at the end of my dark funnel. My socialist Medicare coverage began this month and now I have an assessment session in 15 days and they’re talking hip replacement so I may find the what when why where of not being here but rather some better there where I can fair care, mes frères et soeurs.

And whatever else ensues, I’m asking the doc for some serious habit-forming narcotic pain pills to ease the operation wait.

This all started when my overweight mother collapsed on the floor September 2004 due to a blood infection in her leg and I tried to help her up. Unfortunately I picked her up wrong because I couldn’t bring myself to lift her properly from behind since I’d be grabbing her tits so lifted awkwardly off center and damaged myself.

Been in ever increasing pain since twenty-four hours a day seven days a week. Especially after walking 10 countries on three continents for 31 months with backpack weight slowly wearing away my ever decreasing protective cartilage until each step ground bone against bone creating bone meal that won’t heal. Call me Bone-Head because I always thought it was just damaged muscle so kept on trucking.

But the heck with all that. Fix the flux, go through the pain of replacement and rehab, learn to walk again, lighten my load and take those dancing lessons I promised Lady if ever I healed.

Here’s my chance to get my life back and be me again.

pain is just skin deep – foto by Smith

3 Responses

  1. And soon, with replaced bones, we will call you Le Bionic Smith. If I ever get a cochlear implant, we can be robotoid friends…

  2. ah… sometimes knowing what the problem actually is leads to a solution. And sometimes timing is everything. Had you known this earlier you would not have been able to do anything about it. But now the advances in this sort of joint replacement are remarkable. My brother-in-law had this surgery probably 5-6 years ago…. and has no regrets. Nowadays they have you up and walking on it almost immediately.. and with therapy and no complications you are better than new in about 3 months. Hard to believe but true. My Mother had knee replacement last March after my Dad passed…. and seeing the whole process really is a marvel. She was home on her own after 6 weeks of physical therapy… she still gets some now to keep the knee strong and work a glitchy tendon.. but she is back to golfing and doing all she did before.
    so there is light at the end of your long tunnel of pain….

    good poem by the way.

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