I swore I’d never touch marijuana. Here’s why I finally did – Detroit Free Press

A sharp pain developed between my shoulder blade and spine, like I was being stabbed in the back with a pencil.

I thought I pulled a muscle while weight lifting, although it might be a stretch to call it weight lifting. I’ve reached the age when it’s more like glorified stretching with some weights.

So I stopped “lifting” and devoted all my time to the elliptical. I was getting addicted to working out before the pandemic closed down my Planet Fitness, losing weight and feeling better than I had felt in years.

But when I went to spring training in February, I started experiencing a tingling sensation in my right hand and a sharp pain in my elbow. I thought I had an elbow injury. Maybe from throwing javelin for four years on the track team in college. Or maybe, it came from years of throwing batting practice to my son’s travel baseball teams. Or maybe, it was from using the elliptical too many days in a row.

Jeff Seidel during Detroit Tigers spring training at TigerTown in Lakeland, Fla., Monday, Feb. 17, 2020.

I listed my symptoms to one of the Tigers trainers near a dugout on the back fields at Tiger Town.

“It doesn’t sound like an elbow problem,” he said. “It sounds like a nerve issue.”

He nailed it.

Seven months later, I’m still dealing with the pain, which has grown far worse and more frequent. At times, it feels like somebody is hitting my hand with a hammer. At other times, I’m so weak I can’t open a bottle of pickles.

The pain has left me lying on the floor in the press box at Comerica Park and forced me to try marijuana-infused gummies for relief — something I never thought I’d do. 

Surgery is just a few days away.

Nerves from hell

After the pandemic shut down everything, it took months to navigate the health care system to try to figure out what was wrong. Everything was moving in slow motion and backed up, from setting up appointments and going to different doctors to getting a batch of X-rays, nerve tests and an ultrasound.

Finally, an MRI revealed that I have a bulging disc in my neck along with three messed up vertebrae, which has caused all kinds of pain and strange symptoms. Two fingers on my right hand have been numb for about six months. That’s been the only consistent symptom because the pain moves around, depending on the day.

At times, the pain is dull and aching, almost impossible to pinpoint or describe. It’s deep and constant, as if it is coming from my bones.

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