“Be kind, for everyone you meet is facing a hard struggle.”
“How you doing, Raven?” I asked on the phone earlier today. Sometimes, he answers “Hangin’ in.” Other times, it’s, “I’m all right.” And often, it’s, “I’ve been worse.” But he hasn’t been saying that lately. Today—and yesterday and the day before—he doesn’t remember when he felt worse. His feet are numb. His calf feels like it’s going to explode. His back is killing him. His hamstring is tingling. Yesterday, for the first two miles, he had to bend over every block to relieve the pressure pinching the nerve in his lower back.
“When are you getting your next shot?” I asked. Six months ago, he got temporary relief from an epidural steroid injection, which reduces swelling and inflammation.
“They won’t do it,” said Raven. “They say it’s dangerous because all my ligaments and tendons are too tight from running. It’s like steel.” His arthritis may also prevent the doctor from reaching the narrow space for injection. Plus, long-term treatment by epidural steroid injections isn’t recommended.