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I am thinking quite seriously of seeing if I can get an appointment with my old orthopedist. He used to tell me flat-out that he couldn't do anything for me but prescribe, which was at least honest. He treated me with the same mixture of pity and contempt that most doctors do when you tell them you hurt and want narcotic painkillers, but he was politer about it than most.

Maybe I'll say I fell through the floor of a house. That is how I fucked up my back 17 years ago. The funny thing is that this story is far more plausible in post-K New Orleans than it was in undamaged Athens, GA, where it actually happened.

The worst thing about being in physical pain all the time isn't the minute-to-minute pain itself; it's the cumulative effect of it, which builds up and wears you out. Sometimes I look at a flight of stairs and have to give myself a pep talk before I can climb it, just because I am so goddamn tired. My God, I think of myself as "old" now even though chronologically I am not; what will life be like when I am really old, these problems are ten times worse, and government restrictions have made it even more impossible for doctors to provide any relief? (I don't look for any great developments in non-narcotic painkillers; I was one of the early patients to try that wonderful new invention, Celebrex, which cost me hundreds of dollars more than Vicodin, didn't do a damn thing for me, and was recently pulled from the market for causing fatal heart attacks.)

I still can't sit at my desk long enough to get anything of significance done; whatever work I've done over the past week or so has been done in bed. Hell, that's where Truman Capote did every bit of his writing, and ... I can't think of a good end to that sentence. I liked Truman better before I learned that he didn't invite Dorothy Parker, then in her seventies, to his Black and White Ball even though she all but requested an invitation.

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