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Of Mice and Men and Voltoren

September 30, 2021

My back this morning reminded me of this post from 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.

PS – When I returned to the USA a couple of weeks after this incident, I had a triple laminectomy and a double discectomy on my back.

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

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  1. Not sure my marriage would survive a shot in the ass episode like that.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yikes!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Scariest things I ever did with needles? vaccinating calves for the first time….thumping acupuncture needles into the ankles of my Boss, a Dr. of Oriental Medicine who, I KNEW, had to complete so many YEARS of training to pass her finals on such fronts! AND when a contractor I provided back up help for, said, when I picked up my packet of work, “Can you help me? I’m hurting so bad from my arthritis and I can’t hold it to give myself the shot – I’ll tell ya what to do…”

    Sigh – no one died, it all worked – medicine got in and needles didn’t break off in skin/muscle twitches – and accupuncture needles did what they needed to, so I’m told…..

    My ‘self-talk” all the while? “Do no harm, do no harm, pay attention – either it helps or it DOES No HARM!!” – – sigh –

    I can only say, I seriously, wouldn’t have let ya lug the case of wine, or drove and I would’ve been driving us to vacay or said, “nope! We’re staying home!” Ya know, that lugging things about and sitting in a vehicle are all hard on back injuries/jammed tailbones, etc… (oh yeah – I’ve had my share of injuries that left me crawling to the back seat of the vehicle of the person who was available to drive me to the doctor – one time, after ‘get ‘er done’ to clear the walkway/driveway of heavy wet, spring snow – sigh – knew I overdid, but nearly a day later? the spasms over took me – one came faster than I could recover from the last one – dropped me to my knees – crawled to the car – got delivered to Urgent Care and laid on the floor while waiting for my turn – LOL. DIDN’T CARE what folks thought –

    One shot of muscle relaxers for that area? The nerves calmed down for a time? Went home, slept it off and babied myself for the next week – never lifted anything heavier than a beer/glass of red wine – LOL.

    Liked by 2 people

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