End of a chapter

On Monday I went to Montpellier to see the surgeon who performed the thermocoagulation procedure on my back. Sadly it was to report it had not worked.

The idea – so far as I could understand the medical explanations in French – was to burn off the nerve ends in the offending part of the spine, in my case in the last two lumber vertebrae. It is regarded as a non-invasive procedure with no known side effects, though with apparently about a 50 per cent success rate.

Unfortunately I am part of the other 50%: I still have the pain further down, in the sacrum area. It really is not the most acute pain I have had, but it is chronic and wakes me up every two hours during the night.

The surgeon, Dr Dhenin, was very sympathetic and regretted he had not been able to help. As the arthritis in the lumber vertebrae is not yet “catastrophique”, we agreed that there was no point discussing further surgery. So he wished me good luck with an indefinite programme of physiotherapy.

So Charlotte, my lovely physiotherapist, continues to massage my back and go through a series of exercises to try to improve the mobility in the sacro-iliac area, as well as introducing new exercises (now I am safely over last year’s three dramas) to restore some strength to my abdominal muscles.

Biology was on my list of most disliked subjects at school (art, biology, needlework, cooking and gym). The first two shared a requirement for artistic dexterity and visual memory (all those names of bones and flowers…) which I did not have. It is ironic that now I am getting Charlotte to give me lessons in anatomy and I attempt to grasp some understanding of the three -dimensional images I see on the internet.

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