Writing left handed

Can Bad Karma Hurt Your Leg?

Well, this one takes the cake:

After waiting on hold for 15 minutes with the MRI Department at Penn in order to request a copy of my disc to take to my doctor at Rothman, I’m told I should have called the imaging department. So I get transferred to the imaging department only to encounter a woman on the other end of the line asking me for a copy of her father’s medical records.


I’ve been up since four o’clock in the morning (which is, unfortunately, nothing new) so my brain is a bit fried but I’m pretty sure that patients can’t grant other patient’s access to their father’s medical records… and then of course the call drops so I’m back on hold.

I would have blown a gasket except for the fact that the receptionist in the MRI Department at Penn is the only (and I do mean only) nice human being I have encountered since landing in the ER back in January, so I called back and politely requested to be transferred once again to the imaging department.

I even managed to retain said politeness when, in response to my request, the woman in the imaging department asked, “Well, have you called to request your disc?”

You mean like what I am trying to do as we speak???



The past few weeks have been… well… not exactly the champagne-filled, tulle-ensconced pre-bridal bliss for which I had hoped.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m still drinking plenty of champagne, and the Designated Wedding Craft Area (which now occupies about 85% of the ground floor) is never without at least three shades of tulle at any one given time (shades of white, mind you) but my sciatic nerve isn’t too happy about the back spasms to which it was subjected earlier this year.

And by “not too happy,” I mean it has taken over my life and turned me into a raging insomniac.

I won’t bore you with the details of the myriad ways in which my primary care doctor, my chiropractor, my acupuncturist, my physical therapist, my orthopedic surgeon, my pharmacist, the MRI folks at Rothman and of course my insurance provider have proven themselves to be completely incompetent over the past four months.

(I did that in a series of very-angry-but-still-very-well-written letters penned at 3:00am a few nights ago.)

But I will say this: it’s bad.

And as bad as I feel for myself, I feel even worse for PIC because he is the one who has to deal with all of the cursing and the crying and the thinking I’m going to vomit (Tramadol is bad, baaaaad news folks). Not to mention the existential monologues where I lay in bed wondering aloud if I’ve somehow earned bad karma because I do, on occasion, make snarky comments about other people’s choices in home décor or their interpretation of “appropriate” dancewear for a beginner’s salsa class…

At any rate, I’ve developed a great deal of compassion for anyone dealing with chronic pain because it’s awful and it makes you a crazy person. Last week, after a particularly bad night, I was so tired that I accidentally threw my iPhone into a trash can.

(Fortunately it was a very clean trash can and contained little more than biodegradable trays from a vegan cafeteria at the Navy Yard. And I was with my dad so he fished it out for me.)

Anyway, I’m not really sure where I was going with this but I just wanted to apologize, I guess, and explain why I’ve been MIA for the past few weeks.

Also I am embarrassed by and for my state and my country after yesterday’s primary. But at least I am finally on the books for a lumbar ESI (which is fancy-speak for injecting my spine with a steroid) in a week and a half and after a particularly thorough bout of self-pity this morning, I taught myself how to make fried mozzarella sticks, so that’s something.

10 Responses to “Can Bad Karma Hurt Your Leg?”

    • Kat Richter

      Yes. They’re basically medically necessary at this point. (I was tried to do South Beach diet for a couple weeks but cutting out wine and chocolate AND being so miserable is just not an option.)

  1. Amanda

    I feel your pain (literally). I’ve been dealing with undiagnosable health issues myself since December, and it’s incredibly frustrating to be told that everything is normal. I’m sorry, but not being able to breathe properly IS NOT NORMAL. Fingers crossed for you the ESI helps bring you some relief!

  2. Grace @ Cultural Life

    It sounds awful, and sleep deprivation is the worst — especially when it’s caused by chronic pain.

    I agree with no longer her landlord: lots of wine and chocolate (probably best not to mix Tramadol and alcohol though!). And “poco a poco”, as I remember being told when I was hobbling around in pain from torn ligaments. Your readers are cheering you on!

    • Kat Richter

      Thank you 🙂 And yeah, I am so glad to be off of the Tramadol (mainly because as you so rightly suggested opioids and wine are a no-no. But in my book chronic pain and not being able to drink wine are an even bigger no-no.)

  3. Debbie

    I’m so sorry you are dealing with relentless sciatica! Like the others, I feel your pain. I was living on Tramadol during the day and Norco at night a few years ago! Hang in there!! I hope the steroid shot gives much relief.

    • Kat Richter

      Thanks! I’ve heard Tramadol works wonders for some people but I guess I just wasn’t one of them. Onward and upward hopefully.


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