. The Odyssey of a recovering patient of the Orthopedic and Spine Specialists (OSS) hospital in York, PA; January 2019. (My hospital experience could not have been better. Surgeons, nurses, aids, therapists, and dietary personnel are all first-rate. But my body's reaction was another matter.) Prologue My L-five, S-one fusion done, This convalescing ain’t no fun! Canto I I went down to the OSS My vertebrae to coalesce. I hope this thing is a success But I must certainly confess That horrid heaps and hefty tons Of biting pain above my buns Do slice and slash my humble flesh Asunder, searing my nephesh, My heart, my soul, and rendering Me feeble and engendering A host of speculative fears That oft have brought my eyes to tears. Without my Norco this damned curse Would be indefinitely worse! Canto II But worse it waxed when new pains came Into my legs, I did exclaim With groans and screams that juxtaposed My agonies with dreadful woes. My sore afflicted, tortured great, With hurt that did excruciate Upon each nascent foundering And floundering foot-fall. The thing Was beastly so I shrieked. I cried And prayed the torture would subside. Sciatica did mobilize Its troops and seize its fated prize! Petitions would not dare abate; Was this, methought, my endless fate? Canto III That’s what I thought when I was sad And pain was my only comrade! But then (whence came a magic spell?) The hurt retreated fairly well When entered Gabapentin dose: Before too long a grandiose And glorious tranquility Ascended, as an apogee, And I reposed in peaceful bliss: A day (or was it two?) of this Euphoria that quelled my fears. But it was days, not months or years! Just days I said, until the dregs Of hurt and ache entered my legs! Canto IV And did that stark and stinging strike? It did indeed! And nothing like The trauma having gone before. “My dearest love, I now implore, Give me a break before I die And when I tell you, do not sigh: Oh, there’s a clot of blood, beware, Just like the former one, I swear! It hurts the selfsame way,” I said. She said, “I doubt it, but let’s head On out and see what malady This is.” Guess what! Not one but three Blood clots intruded on my bliss, For which I now chow Eliquis. Canto V But then I waited long and hard Whilst my poor psyche, scuffed and scarred, Was scarred some more until the clots Would dissipate. But that took lots Of blessed time and many nights With little sleep and many fights To occupy my waking time. I paced about. No sleep sublime Did put my weary soul to rest. I was downtrodden and oppressed Severe through each new day, and each Nightfall befell me like some loutish leech Until sweet Melatonin saved Me, gave me respite that I craved! Canto VI Instead of hours two or three Repose relented not for me For four or sometimes even five— Enough methought to stay alive. But morning now bewitches, while Awaking muscle twitches vile, Befouls my body’s rolling out Of bed. And so without a doubt When I awake and quiver for A moment, shake and shiver more Than fellows ought, I think, “The nerves Are nervous!” But the drug that serves To stop this stuff when I convene It, fails, by name, Tizanidine. Canto VII My twitching in my quaking back Is not a jingoist attack. It isn’t even quite a pain, A nuisance just, a tiny bane. But tan me hide!—Beneath the site Where surgeon’s scalpel once did bite Into my flesh, my vertebrae— The twain made one that martial day— Them selfsame bones did weep and wail, “Mehurts again, me does!” “Curtail This suffering!” I said that too! This strangest of the strangest brew: My back still hurts despite my dose Of Norco. Isn’t this morose? Epilogue It’s not morose; I know I’ll heal, But healing is a thing surreal! . . Jeff Kemper has been a biology teacher, biblical studies instructor, editor, and painting contractor. He lives in York County, Pennsylvania.