Back pain saga

“If I woke up in the morning and nothing hurt, I would think I was dead.”

 Well, when I get up, I know damn well that I am alive because the lumbar area of my back never fails to remind me of it.

I wake up with pain every morning and I carry it with me all day long… maybe to a lesser extent during the day. But like a faithful pooch, it never leaves my (right) side. It always waits patiently and follows me wherever I go. The only time I get some relief is when I sit down or get drunk.

It all started a few months ago… I woke up one morning with excruciating back pain and it took me about 30 to 40 seconds to completely stand up. I first thought that the hurting would disappear the next day or within a few days, but I was wrong. The pain didn’t go away and became a permanent guest. It also forced me to walk like Quasimodo in the early hours of the day.

To get some relief, I first tried Ibuprofen; after a few dozen pills and no pain remission I gave it up. I switched to pads, hot and cold… no appreciable results. I moved to creams and lotions including horse liniment… nada.

I finally went to see my regular physician. After a brief visit, he recommended stretching exercises. I tried it, to no avail. My doctor then prescribed an MRI. I spent about an hour in a white tunnel listening to strange noises and I kind of liked it, but it did not reveal any specific problem.

My doctor then suggested some injections… OK, go for it, I said. It absolutely did not work, and I then suddenly realized that the poor man did not know what else to do anymore. Since the pain persisted,  I turned to cannabis oil. I did some research and upon reading some favorable comments I decided to give it a try.

I turned to my regular supplier (Amazon) and started by ordering hemp oil. I tried it for a few days with no appreciable results and gave it up.  The pain was sneering and laughing at me.

Then I decided to get some CBD ointment and after some research, I turned to Charlottes’ Web, where I purchased some cream that is supposed to work wonders.

 If this ointment fails, I will probably address the occult powers and celebrate a black mass with the hope that somebody out there will listen to me. Hope never dies. I will probably keep searching for a solution until I cross the river Styx.

“Technically I’m still young but according to my back pain I’m actually 97.”

To be continued…


San Rafael mêlée tournament

Sandra and Louis

Thirty-eight people gathered yesterday in San Rafael for a late season mêlée tournament. It was foggy and cold, and the weather did not improve much for the rest of the day. But the lack of shade provided an ideal setting for photography.

The games did not start until 10:00 am due to some late arrivals and last-minute changes to the players list. I for one, due to a stubborn back pain, was very ambivalent about playing and ultimately gave my spot to somebody else. The Moirai, or Fates, (the three goddesses of destiny) had decided that I should not play and take photographs instead. And so I did.

As usual 2 games were to be played in the morning and 2 more games in the afternoon. The mêlée format is attractive to beginners and dedicated pointers alike  for it gives them a chance to be paired with stronger, or dedicated shooters. And as proven in this tournament, pointers were the real heroes of this event and were instrumental in bringing the bacon home.

In Pétanque, pointers are like infantrymen and shooters are like the artillery. As any general will tell you, no battle can be won without the infantry.  Louis Toulon, a member of the winning team, told me himself that Sandra’s excellent pointing was a major factor of their victory.

The event mercifully ended around 3:00 pm and laurel leaves crowns (and some cash) were awarded to the 4 best teams of the day.

Despite my aching back, I managed to hop around the field to cover the action. At the end of the day, I ended up with over 500 shots that I had to review, correct or discard… an extremely time-consuming operation. I tried to keep the number of photographs published under 200 but I did not  succeed. Sorry about that.

Anyway, here are the finals results:

1st place: Louis Toulon and Sandra Shirkey
2nd place : François Moser and Robert Brown
3rd place: Colin Kennedy and Tamara Efron
4th place: Bernard Passemar and Teri Thiebault


PS: Be sure to check My photos section to see how the day went on.

Be aware that because all the photos were taken with 3 different recording devices, they are not in a chronological order.

Hard of hearing lament

“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!”

Young woman with hearing loss or hard of hearing.

This is the first line of a speech by Mark Antony in the play Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare.

Well, Mark Antony, I am willing to listen, but unfortunately, it becomes increasingly difficult for me to lend my ears to anybody. Particularly to people who speak in whispers, who talk too fast, or  mumble.

And I am not alone. According to the National Institute on Deafness “Approximately 15% of American adults (37.5 million) aged 18 and over report some trouble hearing. Mar 25, 2021

 I don’t deserve this. I never went to any thunderous Rock concert whose only goal is to ruin your hearing or to any Far-right rally.

On average, rock concert decibel levels are between 90 and 120 db. This decibel level is concerning as it can threaten your hearing health. Sounds above 85 dB are considered harmful to human hearing.”

 It is more than obvious that Rock musicians are in cahoots with hearing aid companies. Make everything shake, they preach  and you  shall get a nice cut of our ridiculously high profits.

Hearing aids are extremely expensive, but my main complaint is that they don’t stay in your ears.  No matter what, soon or later, they will attempt to escape… and they do it the English Way. You don’t feel anything, but two thousand dollars (a piece) just disappeared catimini. And it can be replaced only once! After that, you are on your own.

The other day I went to see the latest James Bond flick (No Time to Die) and the sound in the theater was so loud that I had to cover my ears… But when I uncovered them, I still could not understand much of the dialogue. And the plot was so far-fetched that even if heard it I would not understand what was happening. I like Daniel Craig, but the movie is more about car chases and shooting than anything else. We left before the movie ended.
Why don’t they have subtitles in movie theaters? This way  we could cover our ears and still enjoy the show.

A quick word of advice: if you absolutely want to see this movie, first go to the Internet  and read the script. It might help you (a little) to understand why all these people are trying to kill each other. On second thought, with the abundance of guns in America, you probably can stay in your neighborhood and witness the same carnage for free.

But every cloud has a silver lining.  Sometimes, not hearing what people say is a big plus. Why clutter your mind with insignificant gibberish?