Coffee heat rising


The honored Back has been out of commission for a week, taking a hip with it. This, I think is the worst back outage I’ve enjoyed since Anna the Ger-Shep was a pup, when she put me in the hospital by charging a passing mammoth pick-up and trying to bring it down by the oil pan — dragging me with her. Yesterday I was in so much pain I could barely walk around the house.

This predicament is not helped by the allergies to aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen… Nor, we might add, by the stress-inducing blood-pressure conundrum.

So crippled up have I been that I’d pretty much decided this must be It: the osteoporosis in that hip has decided to assert itself, so now must be the time for a hip replacement. Holeeeee shit! Just what I need to make my life fun.

This conclusion: especially because if I did anything to hurt myself I don’t know what it was. Or it wasn’t very credible. The pain started after I walked three miles one afternoon: two alone, and one with Ruby the Corgi, who goes right along at a fast clip. But that puts us into the “not very credible” zone (not to say the Twilight Zone…): I walk three-mile stretches all the time and never induce any back or hip pain. That is the proximate event…but we have no evidence that it was the cause.

WhatEVER! Yesterday I was seriously crippled up.

That didn’t stop me from accepting a last-minute dinner invitation from my son last night. Managed to get the pooches into the car, but he had to get them out and, later, put them back in.

And herein lies the interesting development:

Over dinner last night, I fell off the accursed Water Wagon with a resounding thud. Lost track of how much box wine I swilled, but it was plenty. At least three glasses, but when you’re refilling a few drops at a time, it’s kinda hard to judge.

By the time I got home, the back hurt a little less. Yes, I had done a set of physical therapy exercises at his house, whilst he was cooking. But…they haven’t helped one little bit over the past week or so. So there’s no reason to think they would have helped then. Probably the grape-derived anaesthetic was what did the job.

Meanwhile, let us say I happened to acquire a little jar of herbal pain-killer. You’re supposed to rub the stuff on your bod’ to evince a magical mystery rheumatiz cure. Right.

Welp, any port in a storm. So I smear this stuff on around the sore joints.

This morning, I roll out of the sack, spend an hour or so fiddling with the dogs and killing time, and then take my blood pressure — an annoying procedure scheduled twice a day. I expect to spike high, because alcohol does jack up your BP.


Now, I’ll say: yesterday the BP was relatively low (not on target, but not alarming) throughout the day: Average 128/79 despite one reading of 136/84. But still: that was after three weeks of booze-free living. And…in the absence of the, uhm, analgesic herb.

It’s unlikely that said herb’s active ingredients will be absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin. Human skin is fairly impermeable. Although nicotine is absorbed readily, most chemicals that we come in contact with — detergent ingredients, for example — are not. Nevertheless: an average systolic below 120? And two readings at 116/7n? Shortly after ingesting a different chemical well known for its capacity to inflate blood pressure score?

To coin a phrase: holy sh!t.

Throw open the Hypochondriac’s Treasure Chest (i.e., the Internet) and google the active ingredient + blood pressure. And damned if there isn’t a study — in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, which has an impact factor of 12.5(!) — showing that the stuff did in fact reduce blood pressure in a small test group. The authors theorize that the result was caused by the ingredient’s tendency to reduce stress.


The back is somewhat better this morning — still hurts, but walking up the hallway no longer requires bracing oneself against the wall. The fact that it’s getting better suggests (maybe) an injury, rather than crumbling bones. This morning after a hot bath, I rubbed a bunch more of the magical  mystery cream into the hip joint and lower back, and also into the mastectomy scars, which are fine during the day but in the wee hours hurt enough to wake one out of a sound sleep. If the active ingredient actually does absorb through the skin, presumably by this evening I’ll be relaxed enough to reproduce those figures — preferably without benefit of the vino.

In herbi veritas?

8 thoughts on “Ouch!”

  1. You know I’m stunned by your b/p scores. Mine are always over 140 systolic and when I was keeping track last year, was once at 200 systolic. My primary care physician wasn’t upset at all. She said only take it once a day (what difference does that make?) and she finally caved in and added a diuretic to my other b/p med. Also, her assistant does not take it correctly but I’m too embarrassed to tell her, so it always comes out normal in the office.

    You have inspired me to drag out my machine and start taking it again. But I always worry I’m going to come across as some crazy old lady hypochondriac.

    • That really IS high, w/ all due respect to the Honored GP. Cardiodoc says (correctly: looked it up, me being the type i am…) that the new guidelines are to try to keep the figures under 120/80. Here’s what the AHA says:

      Remember, though: the AHA does receive funding from Big Pharma, which stands to profit handsomely by persuading doctors to put every Baby Boomer in the country on BP meds. Also bear in mind that the previous guidelines were 10 points higher: Under 130 was considered normal, and that is still true in some countries: The Brits also regard a person’s BP as “high” when “your blood pressure readings are consistently 140 over 90, or higher, over a number of weeks,” whereas the AHA regards ONE reading as enough to convict you of hypertension. These confounding issues do make it very hard to assess what you should do if you’re a patient who is the least bit skeptical and who does not want to be taken advantage of for someone else’s profit.

  2. Dunno, Funny – the magical mystery cream has kept me from having a knee replacement for over two years. Hope you are as lucky!

    • Hmmmm… Well, but I can imagine it working on a knee. But for your hip??? How would a topical cream get thru’ not only your skin but (in my case, anyhow) a generous layer of fat? It would have to penetrate several inches to reach the bones.

  3. Is anybody going to tell us what the magical mystery cream is?

    Gold, heroin, powder from ground up unicorn horn?

    • It’s an ingredient in a plant that recently has been legalized in a number of states, including Colorado and Arizona, and that the Republican leadership would like to re-criminalize in all states.

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