24: Old Age Sets in Early 

Another Pre-write… sorry.

Alright, so I’ve had back problems lately; namely from the torture that I constantly put my body through by cramming myself into tiny airplane seats and sitting at poker tables for 12 to 14 hours a day.  And juuuuuuust when I thought my back problems couldn’t get any worse… they did! You see, I’m usually sleeping on hotel mattresses that have very little support for my back (at least so it seems), and that has caused me a great deal of pain over the course of the past month!

And I thought to myself, “Can I possibly be hurting any worse than I am now?”


So, there I was walking through the Deli at the Rio Casino in Las Vegas holding my tray “waitress style” with one hand while I reach for a Gatorade with the other hand when…


My back pops three times — each one progressively more painful than the last — and suddenly I cannot turn my head or back, cannot bend over and standing up and sitting down cause me to go into excruciating pain!

Just getting up out of a chair would cause a single tear to trickle down my cheek, and getting in and out of bed was nearly an impossible task (let alone finding a position comfortable enough to sleep in). That hotel room was my hell for two days!

But then, a wonderful thing happened!

One night my Romanian friend Mihai tells me that we are all going to get a private poker game going that night.  I went to the game despite my predicament, and I spent the night whining and complaining about how much pain I was in!  After getting tired of my whining, my South African friend Rousseau pipes up and tells me how one of the other Romanian players was previously a Chiropractor back in his home town!

Actually, he described him as a “Doctorrrrrr… of….. You know…. the back.”

“A Chiropractor?”

“Yes, yes… that is the word.  I don’t know ya language fa fackawl!”

Apparently, he was a practicing doctor in Romania, but the Romanian healthcare system doesn’t pay all that much, so he is actually making a bit more money playing poker.  Oh, and by the way he’s also about the size of a house!  This dude works out so much that he now looks like an upside-down pyramid.  I’m a pretty big guy myself, and he makes me look like an infant by comparison!

So I wait until the next day and try to find my new doctor — I spent a good part of the morning patrolling the hotel hallway waiting for him to appear, when I finally see him come out of his room and I jump on the opportunity!

“HEY! There’s the man I’m looking for!”

He looks around as though he thinks I am talking about somebody else…

“I heard that you’re a Chiropractor!”, I said

“Who tell you this?” he replies…

“Rousseau… He said you’re very good!” I say

“Ahhhhhhh… Rousseau, he give away my secret! Yes, I am back doctor in Romania. What you need? Do you have pain?”

I tell him my story about my instant pain at the deli the other day, and he takes me into the hotel Gym, tells me to lie face-down on one of the yoga mats and puts a rolled up blanket under my head.  At this point, my gay-o-meter was higher than I usually prefer, so I was starting to wonder if I had made a mistake.  But, I decide to trust him and do as he says.

He starts doing some pushing on several different nerves throughout my back, legs, arms and neck to find out where the pain is coming from.

Nearly every spot he pushes on causes me to yell with pain.. the kind of pain that could make a dead man cry.

He says, “Okay, I think I have found the problem disk…” and begins to explain to me in very broken english what the problem is.  It was difficult, but through a mixture of hand and arm signals I was actually able to understand him, and I tell him to go ahead and do what he needs to do.

He forces me into a series of stretches and then does some forced “popping” of specific vertebrae in my back while continually telling me to “RELAX!”. Now, “relax” is a hard thing to do when a Romanian man who looks like a Rhino-Antelope-hybrid is working on your back, but somehow I manage to do it.

He does all of this popping and then kneels down beside me.  He places his knee on my oblique, just below my ribs and uses his hands to grab myother side just below my armpit.

And with ZERO warning, he simultaneously pulls back with his hands while thrusting forward with his knee!  It was quite possibly the most painful three-tenths of a second I have ever experienced.  And then — Nirvana!

He goes back through the nerve tests to see how much pain is there now…. IT’S FREAKING GONE!

I felt a sense of relief that I can only imagine rivals that of a hooker after a negative test result at the STD clinic! I got up and started jumping around like an idiot — So he grabs me by the shoulders to stop me from moving around, and tells me to be careful because the disks are only re-seated and they will take a few days to go fully back into alignment.

He then advises me that I will also be a bit sore for the next day or so (and he was correct!) and sends me on my way!  He was going to do all this for free, but I couldn’t let him do this, so I gave him $100 for his help (I figure that’s probably what my co-pay would’ve been, anyway), and he told me that if I start to feel pain again that I should tell him and he would re-align my spine once more.  What a godsend this man was!

And now… pretty soon, I will be getting back on a plane; which assuredly means more back pain.

~ Roy “weekendkeyboardwarrior”