April 10, 2024
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April 10, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

I was in bed for most of this week, which isn’t as awesome as it sounds.

I blame my back. I’ve had back problems on and off for a couple of years now. But what you don’t realize until your back hurts is how much you actually use it. You basically use it to balance your entire upper body. Without it, your upper body would just keep flopping over sideways and backward. Class pictures would be ridiculous.

I think the worst part of my day, by far, is putting on socks. No matter what else happens in my day, it can only go up from there. Tying shoes is pretty bad too, but I can sometimes dance into them. It’s harder to dance into socks.

In June, my back started hurting even more. Then, one grey Monday morning, it took me forever to climb out of the car after carpool. I got about halfway to the house when my back seized up and I collapsed on the lawn. And then it started raining. Probably just over me. So I painfully crawled up the stairs and into the house and kicked the door shut. I spent the next several minutes on the floor, air-drying and contemplating my life choices. Then my wife called. There was no phone on the floor.

So after several rings, I finally reached up to my desk and got the phone, and she said, “Mrs. Weiss called to tell me that she saw you crawling into our house in the rain.”

Wow. Thanks.

Once I had the phone, I decided to call a chiropractor. I said, “I need to make an appointment. I can’t get in and out of the car.” And he said, “Okay. Come by in 10 minutes.”

“Ten minutes? I can’t get in and out of the car.”

The chiropractor put me on what looked like a medieval torture device, and he stretched me out, and then he gave me an ice pack and sent me home. He also took my blood pressure, and when I asked him if it was high, he said, “Of course it’s high. You’re in pain.”

So I went home and used the icepack, which thawed out pretty quickly, and then my wife directed me to a bag of raw cholent beans that she keeps in the freezer because it stays cool longer. And over the next few days I thought I was getting better. But then one Tuesday morning my back seized up—while I was putting on socks.

So my wife went off to work, and I spent the rest of the day trying to get out of bed. But I couldn’t. I just lay there alone all day, with that second sock halfway on, alternating between having spasms and attempting to find a position on the bed that would relax my muscles enough so I could get up.

Then at some point in the afternoon, my wife called to find out how I was doing. It took me about 20 minutes to reach the phone, which was on her night table. And then, once I was there, it occurred to me that I hadn’t eaten all day. Luckily my wife has an ample supply of pareve chocolate.

Then I finally called my wife back, and she said, “How are you?” And I said, “Better. I ate your chocolate.”

The next day (Wednesday), I spent a lot of time abortively attempting to get up. I also called the chiropractor. I asked, “Do you do house calls?”


“Well, can you prescribe something for the pain, so I can come in?”


Apparently, chiropractors don’t prescribe pills. I’d assumed they were just back doctors, but actually, it’s a whole different branch of medicine that doesn’t believe in medicine.

So I called the physicians’ office, which I hadn’t been to for so long that my doctor had died of old age. Really. (Actually, he didn’t tell me why he’d died. Doctor/doctor confidentiality.) Point is I was no longer in the system.

So they asked me, “Do you have your insurance card?”

And I said, “It’s in my pants.”

“Well, where are your pants?”

“On the other side of the room.”

“Can you go get them?”

“No. Can you?”

“We don’t do house calls.”

But at least that day I had supplies in my bed, thanks to my wife and kids. I had my tefillin, I had some standard pain pills that weren’t helping, I had a sleeve of crackers because the pills that weren’t helping have to be taken with food, I had a garbage bag for my cracker sleeve, and I had a room-temperature bag of cholent.

By Thursday, I could finally sit up about half the times that I tried, and I could get up on my hands and knees pretty comfortably. So I asked my wife if I could just go to the doctor that way. She said no, because apparently it’s not socially acceptable to crawl into a doctor’s office full of sick people on your hands and knees, even if you’re constantly remarking to those people that you’re not contagious.

I don’t know why I had to come in. All they did was make sure my blood pressure was high and then ask a bunch of questions that my wife could’ve answered. But they did give me Percocet. Percocet is a powerful pain reliever whose side effects include confusion, lightheadedness, being hooked on Percocet and a humongous turnip following you wherever you go. Why do I have flippers?

By Mordechai Schmutter

 Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia, The Jewish Press and Aish.com, among others. He also has five books out and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].


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