Finally went in for the full-bore MRI Thursday at the imaging center on Franklin Road in Roanoke.

Doctor came in with a long look on his face.

“You’ve got two problems,” he said. “Badly abused nerves at L1 and L2 and again at L3 and L4. The nerves shows years of abuse. Frankly, I’m surprised you’ve walked on them as long as you have.”  I explained that pain has always been part of my lifestyle, mostly because of a misspent youth, and admitted living on 2400 mg of ibuprofen a day for the last several years

He shook his head and  recommended immediate treatment of the worst — the L1 & L2. That meant putting me on my stomach, sticking a long needle into the vertebrae, and pumping it of pain killers and steroids.

That was the easy part. What he didn’t tell me was that the procedure would hurt like hell — far worse than any back pain I’ve had to date.  After about 15 minutes, my vertebrae were screaming and I was saying I had to have some relief (along with some choice cuss words).

He finally let up — when 80 percent of the procedure was finished. I laid on the table for about 30 minutes, waiting for the pain to subside. Then they helped me up to a chair where I sat for another 45 minutes, waiting for the burning and stinging to stop.  After another hour or so I tried standing. No go so I sat for another 60 minutes.

Finally, I was able to stand and put on my coat.

“I got about 80 percent of the procedure completed,” he said. “in most cases, that should be enough and you should start feeling better in 24-36 hours.  If the pain continues, we’ll need another treatment and this one will be on the L3 and L4.

I winced. Did this mean another around of pain?

“No,” he said. “I gave you the worst first because that was the big problem area.  Jut take an easy on the way home and lie down in the back seat if you can.”

I explained I couldn’t since I drove down to Roanoke from Floyd.

“You drove? Are you nuts? Don’t to it again. If you have to come back, have someone drive you.”

I drove home, cautiously, in some pain but made it without incident. If all goes well, I should be feeling better by Saturday and won’t need a return trip.

We will see.