Many people do not understand Cauda Equina Syndrome. People ask me all the time, “How’s your back surgery doing?” To be fair, all they remember is that I had back surgery. I understand that. It’s not like they are family or close friends. I don’t remember the details of acquaintances’ medical problems. So, for all of the folks in our lives (those of us with CES), I offer up this illustration as to what happened to us. What to say when you're asked this...
CAUTION: Disturbing picture ahead - it isn't real, it is from a TV show - Hollywood fake!
Those with CES have literally had a crushing injury. It is as though we were changing a flat tire on our car when a jack slipped and the car fell on us. The back surgery is akin to getting the car removed from on top of us. So when we’re asked, “How’s your back doing?” or “How’s the surgery coming along?” it is like asking us “How’s everything now that they've gotten the car off of you? Feeling better?” No, it isn't, (DUMMY).
I don’t say this bitterly or maliciously. None of us had ever heard of Cauda Equina Syndrome before we were stricken with it, so why would they know the details?
This is just for a little education. So many people don’t know how to deal with a friend or family member who has been stricken with a debilitating disease or condition. That’s ok, we don’t know how to deal with it either – we’re working through that.
It really doesn't matter how you ask the question, what matters is that you’re there, and that you care.
What to say when you're asked a question which shows lack of understanding? "Diolch yn fawr. I appreciate your caring and support." Enough said.