Whitley's Journal

Crawling to Nirvana

One of the great blessings of being human is that we walk upright. I don't think it's something that evolved over any length of time; we just started doing it. As a result the human back is kind of thrown together. Or maybe if somebody designed us, they were too busy with other things or at war or whatever, and just didn't get the back done right.

So along comes Whitley Strieber. happily unaware of what is about to happen. Last Sunday, I spent the morning biking with my wife, planning to take in Looper in the afternoon. I go to the store to pick up a couple of things, stroll out feeling like a million bucks--and my back explodes. In my left hand I was carrying maybe a two pound bag of groceries. I was wearing good shoes. I am in good shape, well exercised and not overweight.

The pain was so terrible that it was actually kind of fascinating. The right side of my back from my thigh to my mid-back seemed to have burst into flames. I actually hollered and lurched, just like I would if my pants had caught fire. In a split second, I went from a state of normal well-being to being a total basket case.

I shuffled slowly to my car, actually hallucinating strange red flashes as I crammed myself in. One great thing about a Prius is that it has superb seats, so I leaned it back as far as I could and still manage to see, and crept slowly home. The lumbar support was a real godsend.

I managed to get to bed with Anne's help, and there began the saga that is just now showing signs of ending. I got hold of my doctor on Sunday, who prescribed hydrocodone. I rarely take any drugs at all, so this really knocked me for a loop, but didn't help the pain. Finally, I just embraced it. I opened myself to it and let myself be grateful for the challenge it was bringing me. It responded by dancing on my back with golf shoes.

On Monday, a masseuse came and got lots of good motion going. Then came Tuesday and the trip to the MRI scan. My son drove us, and it turned out that the passenger seat of the car was even more comfortable than bed. That is to say, I got a little sleep in the car, instead of the sweating, stabbing, burning nightmare I had been enduring. I decided to just live in the Prius. I could go to drive ins for food. But, of course, this is far from practical.

My problem was that I couldn't really lie down, sit up, stand or walk. So what's left? Living OBE? The people at the MRI place were great. They had a wheelchair. Halls too tight for a gurney. (This was not in a hospital). Sat down in it for a second. Might as well have been sitting in a campfire. So I ended up where we all started, which was on all fours, crawling through the medical establishment like a dog.

It was fine at the MRI lab. Not too many people around. My wife and son there to run interference. A nice nap in the incredibly comfortable MRI scanner. Usually, they're scary because they're so narrow and noisy. I asked the guy, 'could I stay in here for life?' He said over the intercom, 'not a problem. That'll be ten million dollars.' So, home we went.

Yesterday, time to see the orthopedist. She read the MRI and said, “you have a good back.” I said, “What are you talking about?” She said, “It’s going to be fine.” She explained that I had a couple of nerves that were swollen, and prescribed a course of treatment.

Then it came time to go home. I tried the wheelchair again, but it was bonfire time, so I gave up and crawled out of the office and into the lobby. So far so good. Just me and Anne. We got in the elevator.

We were on the ninth floor. It stopped on eight. People got in. Nobody said anything. I considered explaining that I was looking for something. On seven, more people got it. A few murmurs. A few snickers. Six, five, four, more, more, more. Was it the only working elevator in the building? In west Los Angeles? In all of California?

I decided that we’d stumbled into an elevator riders’ convention.

People were shuffling around. I was taking up way too much room. Then came three. The doors opened. There was a woman with a loaded double stroller and a five year old in hand. We are face to face. He yells out, “that lady’s dog looks like a gorilla!” The doors close.

For a couple of seconds, there is strained silence. I know that I have to say something. I come out with, “Does anybody have a dog biscuit?” Finally, the strain is gone and the elevator roars.

We get to the lobby. For a while, I lie down. Anne waits for our ride outside. I use my cane as a sort of flag. I am pretty miserable. Half the people stepping around me are doctors. They keep asking, ‘did you fall?’ I reply, ‘I’m a back,’ and they go on their way. They’ve seen backs before, obviously.

Finally, our ride, in the person of a healer called Phil Marcus, appears. I crawl out to my Prius of blessed seat design and we inch home through the usual carmageddon.

Phil is worth a whole journal entry of his own. More. Today he took me very, very deep in a healing that is going to have a powerful place in my life and remembrance, no matter if it helps my back or not.

I am in pain now. I am in great pain. I have been in the house of pain since Sunday. What do I do with my pain? We love each other, we laugh together, we join heart to heart, me and my pain.

So be it.

how horrible and terrifically funny. So sorry for you. Pain of body is a great tenderizer, I figured out, and you feel for others aches and for elders' aging bodies - not refering to yourself here - thereafter. For myself, I would end up talking and cajoling the part of my body in pain, see how beautiful you are! Hush now, it will be alright, it will be okay, you'll see. How wonderful you are! haha, well we are no longer together, for now. Sending thoughts of comfort your way.

Whit, get on inversion bed ASAP (aka teeter totter you see on TV) it will do wonders for your back it will pull apart all the vertabrae. Things will pop in places you didn't know were out. I've had back problems since a car accident and every now and then I go hang upside down. Hey you were practicing on all fourl no you can hang upside down like a bat!!! ACE

Oh my goodness - you cracked me up with that story!! So sorry for the pain - hope your nerves settle down very soon!

Swollen nerves...normally I would think old age, but when Whitley is feeling normal in one moment and then feeling burning pain in his back the next, one can't help but think if this could be a psychic attack.

It goes without saying that everyone wishes Mr Strieber's pain to pass.

The last time I had back spasms so bad that my entire body would convulse and freeze in a moment of searing, limitless eternity, I entered into a time of great change, for the better, once the pain passed.

After the pain passed, everything got better and better, all the time.

Keeping my eye on Mr Strieber's insights as he rises out of this torment. Sun Dance ceremonies jumped to mind as I read this enheartening journal entry.

Good luck and good healing, Whitley, on your way to Nerve-ana!
Amazing how you're able to navigate through the agony with such hilarity!

It's been my experience that it's best to follow Doctors orders in instances like this. The back is nothing to mess with.

Pain is there for a reason, to keep you still while your back heals. Although pain pills help, they can also lead a person to believe they are ready to resume physical activity, when they aren't, and this can result in further damage. Muscles, grow back in time... nerves don't...but the body, will try and heal itself, it has that innate capacity.

I no longer ride bikes much, something I used to do, because I found that it puts too much pressure on my lower back, and made certain Yoga postures, more challenging for me. I have done Hatha Yoga since I was 19, and usually practice about 3 hours a day, for the last 40 years. In that time, I have learned some things about recovery from injury. The hardest part for me is doing nothing.

Sometimes, as we age, we have a delayed response to the results of physical activity. Sometimes we can injure ourselves, days, even weeks, earlier and not feel the results, until much much later.

All analgesic's inhibit healing, and discourage, nerve synapses from linking together. I prefer instead to mediate on the pain.

On a deep level pain is there to be enjoyed. Enjoy the experience as much as you can. Recovery, can offer it's own unique pleasures.

Be well.

sorry whitley, but by the time you were in the elevator i was laughing out loud and didn't stop. feel sorta guilty about it, but that was too fantastic. hope that treatment works fast - and please tell us more about your healing session.

I had a severe back injury about twelve years ago that damn near crippled me. It was the night before my wife and I were going on vacation and I decided to do some back stretches— violent and quick twists that knocked one of my vertebrae off line. I remember going to the airport feeling a slight twinge in the middle of my back which quickly got worse until, by the time we were in the Bahamas, I felt like I had a knife stuck in my back. That constant pain, by far the worst I had ever felt, was with me for several months. But, looking back on it, I experienced a valuable and necessary lesson that is with me up to this day. Instead of going for surgery I opted to visit a chiropractor who healed me but also taught me the importance of the spine and its holistic properties. Now I am fully deep in chakra work and I don't think I would have ever gone down this path if I had never wrecked my back in the first place.

Very comical, metaphorical, and touching!

Wow. The elevator. Whitley's back. Going down the elevator. The crowd on the elevator. Got some kudalini energy going there, Whit? :-) Sounds like a reminder to get back down to earth and experience the joy of the mundane and those little every-day things that we take for granted. Like that crowd that has been meditating with you for the last couple of weeks. More and more are getting on board the elevator. You invited them, right?

You started on the 9th floor. Triads. 3x3=9 Ah, perfection, and the number of patience and meditation! You get to floor 3, and a woman with two in the stroller and a 5 year old in tow get on---3 little ones, huh? Also, 5 year olds are typically brutally honest and just blurt out what pops into mind. I'm sure the mom was embarrassed and did not quite know what to do or say. (I remember when my older son was little, we were at the pool of my apartment complex. A very large, morbidly obese man jumped into the pool, sloshing water up the sides and over the top edge of the pool. With all the volume he could muster out of his mockingbird mouth from his hummingbird body my son proclaimed as he pointed, "Look, Mom! A whale!" We left post-haste and also avoided the pool thereafter.)

So much more going on with this series of events...

Great story, and thanks for sharing, and I wish you a speedy recovery!

P.S. Totally forgot to mention...Whitley, this is also about time...You were on your to see 'Looper' when all of this began, correct? :-)

I hope you feel better soon! I've had really good luck with soft tissue/nerve issues (hubby too) with really good chiropractic work and physical therapy (excellent too). Soft tissue issues and nerves are right up their alley.

As soon as I began to read this post...I thought "Kundalini".
I am housbound therefore the computer and television are my companions.
When I get on the computer I often find myself wandering from one site to another and in the process find some wonderful information.
I must have it somewhere the woman I am reading currently about the Chakras and moving Kundalini.
I will search for it and send it on to you if you like...and probably will even if you don't like:)
Oh, find a good Reiki healer...let them do some work on you...and I don't know why I am saying this but a Reflexologist...works on the feet. Feel better V.

Here it is www.elcollie.com
She has since passed on and her friends keep her site going.
I promise you lots of interesting information if you should choose to read what she had experienced in this lifetime. V

I just thought I would mention a book that helped me in the 1990's: Dr. John Sarno - "Mind over Backpain"...The episodes I had with that pain reminded me of the two years in my childhood I had hives. Allergies that came and went, but two years of Benadryl while attending the 4th and 5th grades!

I had "flank" pain a couple of times associated with "kidney stones", they can be so small as to be invisible to x-rays yet incapacitating!

My best wishes Whitley...

My father owns a Prius. Whitley was not kidding when he said that the Prius has comfortable seats.

So do ScionXBs. Same parent company...

"Now, suddenly, I had it and I understood it. It was not long, just a few pages. But it contains core truth. Structural truth. I am going to let it rest for a little while, then I am going to publish it as a journal...in a few days." Looking forward to it!

Sorry to hear you are having back pain Whitley.... been there, done that! I have had it come out of now where as well. It is absolutely excruciating pain....enough to make a grown man crawl on the floor and be glad of the relief! You have got to wonder if someone doesn't have a voodoo doll in the area! You do get a new perspective when you are so close to the ground though.... often transformative as you describe. Severe pain gives us a new perspective on the world. Perhaps from that vantage point, we see the world looking down on us as we all do to our fellow creatures from time to time. It brings us full circle "back" to the sin of “denial of the right to thrive...” In one way or the other, it breaks our “back.” I’m feeling good, I am feeling on top of the world and then “Damn, I have done it again!”

You may find this interesting: http://en.gloria.tv/?media=22060 (Malachi Martin interview). I'm thinking of Your way to deal with pain and the visitors, You have probably already heard it but he has some opinions on meditation and opening Our minds that are different than Yours (I think). Best of wishes. Pain is temporary, glory is forever (I think).

In the last few months about half the people I meet are having their backs give out, including myself. Could we be going through sympathetic pains the Earth is experiencing? I hope you feel better soon!

In the last few months about half the people I meet are having their backs give out, including myself. Could we be going through sympathetic pains the Earth is experiencing? I hope you feel better soon!

Btw. Stretch out those hamstrings and hipflexors...

Last time I had a back as bad as that I remember falling to the floor and having to crawl along the floor the nearest radiator in order to get some relief - the pain was so bad I saw stars!

...anyway, look on the bright side, you still have Looper to look forward too :-)

Wishing you a speedy recovery.

I prayed/meditated for you, my sweet man. And was tickled to have the opportunity to do so. BTW I listened to your Dreamland address the other night, and was so wound up I could not sleep and had to do a 12 hour day at Hospice on no sleep! But I woke my husband up and said " I don't care what it costs or if I have to drive my myself 8 hours to Memphis, I am GOING to the Dreamland Festival next year! I have GOT to meet Whitley Strieber!" He just looked at me like I was out of my mind, and said "OK." I've been a subscriber since the beginning. I think it's about time we met, and I want you walking upright so I can get a hug!! Peace, Whitley and thank you for all you have taught me over the years.

Back pain is a bad un.When i first came to Miami i suffered bad back pain that was like sharp knives sticking in between my shoulder blades which would wake me up in the early morning and i would have to dive out of bed and stand up.
I got it because i was a Banquet server that had to carry 12 plates on a tray on my shoulder.I was also a person with no health insurance so had to wait for about a month to go to Camillus house who diagnosed that my only problem was my muscles had become extremely tense and gave me muscle relaxants.

tee hee I thought looper was an aka for liqour or alchohol. Dedgum if my day was ruined by a back explosion like yours i definanately would have been ingesting more looper. But as far as Betty Andreasson's book given to her by Qwauzga or --their is several different spellings for this particur being, this is phenomenal ! DO TELL! This will be too cool! Can't wait!

When lifting.;.;.; Never lift and twist at the same time (even 2 lbs could do it) or you will re-activate an old injury.

This is now hardwired in my brain since old high school wrestling injury where lightning shot up and down my back just to the left of my vertebrae... took 2 weeks to "heal" walking straight up and down consciously.

Hope you feel better, DoHickey

I know your pain. I once hurt my back stepping off a curb. I thought I had blown a disk. It felt is if vertebrae were grinding a nerve. It was incredibly painful, and as you said, there are very few comfortable positions to assume.

It turned out to be a deep muscle spasm irritating a nerve. No damage whatsoever.

my first thought to: Kundalini.

Whitley, I'm sorry about your back pain. I have a similar experience in that I'm in decent fitness, but recently experience groin pain...can't figure out why...it's subtle but chronic. Nonetheless, I hope Whitley's on the mend and I look forward to more conversation w/the fans of unknowncountry.

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