By Mary Anna Violi | @Mary Anna Violi
It was foretold in the stars before my birth. It loomed large on the maternal and paternal sides of the family. Growing up, I watched my father periodically hobble around after work, easing himself into his wingback dark green leather chair, where he remained planted the entire evening. My mother called him “Rigoletto” after Verdi’s opera character of the same title. The aforementioned Rigoletto was a hunchback.
Not that my father staggered around in chronic back pain, but when the pain surfaced, he set off to the chiropractor. He derived great relief, he claimed, from “Dr. Quack”, as my mother called him. Her aspersions cast upon the chiropractor arose from Mama’s fierce loyalty to her three brothers who were all Indiana University [IU] School of Medicine graduates and interns at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Early on I adopted a live and let live attitude towards the chiropractor. Loathe ingesting prescriptive medications, this explained Daddy’s willingness to undergo chiropractor treatments.
Mama, on the other hand, suffered from various maladies throughout her life, but from middle age on arthritis plagued her in her hands, neck, and back. She was from a family of nine brothers and sisters; Daddy was from a family of six siblings. Every one of them on both sides of my family suffered from disc pain [Mama’s side primarily] and osteoarthritis [both Mama and Daddy’s sides].
When I came into the light [an old Italian term for “being born], I didn’t have a chance of escaping osteo pain. Five years ago I couldn’t understand why it felt like my thigh was on fire. After enduring agonizing pain for a week, I awakened one morning to find I could not turn. The pain reduced me to tears, so searing it was. My maternal cousin, who is an orthopedic surgeon [three of my maternal first cousins are also IU Medical School graduates with Mayo Clinic interning under their belts. A familial trend has manifested itself, gentle reader], ordered an MRI for me. This MRI illustrated an impressive ruptured disc. Yes, I had entered the twilight zone of disc-dom among family members. The icing on the back cake too was a lower back full of osteoarthritis. In the immortal words of my father, “Oh, my achin’ back!”
Ciao for now.