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Paul Benedetti: When four hours feels like forever

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15.06.2019

Four hours.

That is how I parcel out each day, into four-hour sections: from the moment I wake up in the morning to the time, often to the very minute, I go to bed. I carefully calibrate each day so as not to screw up. Because screwing up is bad. Sometimes very bad.

I have constant, intense pain in my neck that requires me to take carefully-timed doses of medication, without which I am immobilized.

So, the calculations are simple: drugs at 8 a.m., noon, then four p.m., 8 p.m., then bed around 11 p.m. while there is still time. And never, if I can help it, after midnight. Why? Because then, the hours have slipped by and gravity has taken its inevitable toll. By then, it is too late.

So, a little like Prufrock with his coffee spoons, I am marking out my life in four-hour sections, careful not to get distracted and go beyond the time limit. The source of my pain is unglamorous, boring really. No story of being injured in a hockey game or a rock-climbing fall. After two x-rays, three MRIs and one EMG, I learned my pain was likely the product of time and genetics. Two vertebra in my........

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