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Of Mice and Men and Voltoren

August 2, 2014

Over a month ago I severely injured my back here in Italy while repairing a wooden fence that had been destroyed by last winter’s six meters (18 feet) of snow. No, obviously we don’t live in southern Italy but the rather in its most northern extreme. Repairing the fence first required “bucci” (holes) for the fence posts. However, here in the Dolomites there is a layer of hard rock just below the soil. This meant that I first had to borrow a tool to break the rock. I can’t pronounce the name of this tool but it is an enormous length of iron sharpened to a point and weighing about 60 pounds. Okay, it’s a pal de fer.

Okay, so far so good. I got pretty handy with this massive steel rod as I learned how to draw it up in front of my face and then plunge it earthward with all of my force. Each hole took about 30 minutes to complete. After the first dozen holes, I noticed that my teeth were hurting in addition to various rarely used muscles and nerves. I completed the entire project, taking care not to injure my delicate back.

I settled back into my routine and we headed down to Lake Garda for some R and R. While lugging a case of wine to my car, pow! The back was out big time.

Of course I did what any good American would do: I ate lots of Ibuprofen chased by some of Italy’s best wine. However, after weeks of pain and additional injuries, I finally limped in to see an Italian doctor. She was a complete professional joy and she immediately prescribed cortisone shots and a medicine called Voltoren to calm the nerves and help me sleep as I had not slept in 12 days. As she administered the first cortisone shot, she casually mentioned that my wife would have to inject the Voltoren into my ass every night before bed. No biggy. I love and trust my wife.

First Night: Did not go well, really. A half of syringe of air fluttered from my right cheek with little theraputic outcome. It seems my wife is a bit nervous around needles, blood and boney butts.

Night Two: I instructed, loaded the syringe myself and helped guide the missle in. Nicely done if not considering the three inch bruise!

Night Three: Better but with a matching hemotoma.

Night Four: Nurse Ratched was losing her nerve and we both agreed that I had little “speck” (ham) to hit in the first place. However, a nicely placed shot….. ouch!

Night Five: No way! I limped back to the doctor and explained that Americans really don’t have the proper training to jab their spouses in the ass with long needles. She nodded to Nurse Ratched and concurred.

So here I sit (well okay, stand) tonight pondering on pain and international medicine. The next time there are holes to be made in rock, I think I will simply sit it out and maybe even pet the rabbits.

Read author Allen E. Rizzi’s latest books available at

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  1. Now I know the true meaning of “a real pain in the ass.” My condolences.


  2. allenrizzi permalink

    A bit better now and getting off the cane as well. Even the needle marks are going away. Thank you Nurse Ratched…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. allenrizzi permalink

    I finally learned the name of the instrument that ruined my back. It’s called a “pal de fer” which is Nones for “steel rod.” And, oh yes, the back is still bad.


  4. Reblogged this on allenrizzi and commented:

    I hark back to 2014 before my successful back surgery. Here is the preamble. (BTW – That iron rod is called a “pal d’fer” in our dialect. 😎


  5. My husband would have to administer his own shot too! Nothing worse than a bad back, is there!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your wife is not the revengeful type, is she? One pain in the ass deserving retribution?

    Liked by 1 person

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