“You should write a book.”

That’s what my friend and co-worker Arun Batchu said to me earlier this week.

I’d said something clever that captured the essence of a problem we were facing, about the forces that produce the situations we find ourselves in, and what we need to do to get the outcomes we want, and he shook his head in wonder and told me I should write a book. It’s possible that it was a clever ruse to get me to stop talking, but I don’t think so.

So, I’m going to write more essays that capture my insights into the way things work, and how to do them better. Maybe that will turn into a book. Maybe it won’t. But either way, I’m going to do it.

Wish me luck.

Ow, my spine!

More baseball soon, I promise. I have two games to blog, but I didn’t have photos of the scorebook. Lame excuse, you say? Hey, it’s my blog. Suck it up.

At any rate, an update on my own health. I’m finally dealing with my neck and back problems, and I had a consultation with a nurse practitioner, who recommended an MRI, since it had been 18 months since the previous one. I got that done last week, and this morning had the followup discussion with Mark, the nurse practitioner. The upshot is that I have problems in two areas. C4-5 is the original herniation, which is still there and flattening my spinal cord. Yay. This is probably the source of my recurring pain on the left side. The new thing is that I have “severe disc degeneration” at C5-6. This is affecting my right side more than the left, and starting to cause shooting pains in my right arm. Yay.

The narrowing is really obvious on the MRI. In a normal spine (and in the parts of mine that are normal) there is a buffer of cerebrospinal fluid around the spinal cord, about the same thickness as the cord itself. In the C4-5 and C5-6 areas of my own spine, though, this buffer goes down to nothing, and the bones of my spine are actually squishing the spinal cord. This is what’s causing the pain.

In the long term, this pressure will increase, as I get older and my spine continues to deteriorate, and it will (eventually, hopefully not soon) cause pain, numbness, tingling, and increase my risk of spinal cord injury in the case of say a traffic accident. My sister Deborah went through something very like this, and Michael struggled with arthritic changes in his lower back – and, of course, Mom has had back problems since forever. I guess I just need to fit in.

Right now, this is treatable (we hope) with steroid injections. In the long term, I’m probably going to need surgery to relieve the pressure. For now, that’s in the future, but I am planning on getting an MRI every two years to monitor the progress.

Some part of me thinks I should be freaked out by this. But I’m not.

I guess I don’t have enough energy left to worry about this. It’s not cancer; what do I have to bitch about?