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Of Mice and Men and Voltoren

October 7, 2020

(Looking back to my back surgery.)

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. Sounds so difficult and painful. Wishing you a full and speedy recovery.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, I wouldn’t take kindly to being called Nurse Ratched, but this does sound like a pain in the butt! I hope the surgery has solved the problem. I don’t envy you your post holes one bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am so sorry for your back injury:((

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hope the cortisone shots helped. Not fun. Thirty years ago I had a water skiing accident. I waited ten years for surgery. Last week I had 12 cortisone injections. They have helped but you really have to have a great Neurologist doing the shots. Good luck to you and your wife. It isn’t easy to hurt the person you love. Take care and rest your back. Pet the bunnies, or just lay in the bed. Hope you heal soon. Love to you and yours. 💕❤️Joni

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Congratulations! Your blog has been included INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at
    Thank you, Chris
    I understand the pain only too well.. wishing you a speedy recovery.

    Liked by 1 person

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