Friday, May 15, 2009

What's amusing to one is a pain in the ass to another

The sciatic nerve can be, literally, a pain in the ass unlike anything you have probably experienced. It’s like a hot knife that goes into the buttocks and then cuts on down the back of the leg. Impossible to stand up straight for more than a moment. Hard to sit, hard to sleep. Hard to. . .

Memory recalls the morning in 1951 when second squad, third platoon, was nailed down on a mountain finger in a Korean forest. Captain Grey and I were sitting with our back to a boulder while a Chinese machine-gunner tried to blow the rock apart. We were okay. But Todd, a smallish guy with us decided to make a run for it. He had to travel about ten yards down the finger and around an outcropping of rock. He made it to the outcropping when he got a machine gun slug in the ass. He let out a yelp, and then a series of yelps the like of which I had never heard before, and have never heard since.

Captain Grey and I thought it amusing. Sounds odd to say so. Afterwards I was to find that there is a difference when you take a round through the flesh, and when you take one that crashes through a bone. Those with the flesh wounds yell with pain. Those with smashed bones are too stunned to complain at first, and when the pain does come the sounds are very different, nothing comic about them.

I have been taking drugs given me by my Mexican doctor and the doctors at the Veterans for my excruciatingly sciatic pain in the ass that, while they do nothing for the pain, muddle my brain so that half the time I don’t know what I’m doing (again, not a straight line).

Today is Friday. Wednesday my wife and me were on the other side, I don’t even know what for now, but we were supposed to buy stamps to use to mail out the May issue of Smith’s Report. The pain is such that I can’t walk standing upright, but move around with my nose down toward the ground. So I gave her my Visa debit card and the list of stamps we needed and my pin number. I was so dopey I gave her the wrong pin. I’ve been using the same pin for maybe six years now, but I got it wrong anyhow. Inside the skull, it’s thick in there. Inside the Post Office she tried three times to pay using the wrong pin and the bank blocked the use of the card.

So we returned to Baja without the stamps. Yesterday she went to the other side herself using the buses and bought the stamps with a check that I managed to sign with my right name. This morning she and Hernandez finished stamping and stuffing the newsletter and because it is almost two weeks late we drove back up to the other side to mail it. I screwed up my macho and walked, if what I do nowadays is called walking, into our bank and got the Visa cards straightened out. The round trip took four hours, what would have taken 15 or 20 minutes if I could have dropped the mailing with my local mailer but could not because the newsletter would not have gotten to the other side until Monday, another three days.

And so it goes.

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