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This post is about a week in a clinic in Budapest. I have screwed up my back, and I don’t know what to do about it.

The morning brought pain. Not the dull kind, but the one that makes you want to scream. I managed to get out of bed and brush my teeth. Then I laid down on the floor and rolled around, trying to stretch in a way that would make the pain go away. It didn’t work.

At some point I noticed that I couldn’t lift the big toe on my left foot anymore.


I put on some clothes. Went outside. Found a supermarket. Bought a bottle of water and a two muesli bars. Walked past a Chinese restaurant. Thought it might be a good idea to eat a bit before whatever came next.

Eleven hours later I found myself with a needle in my arm, wearing a dotted gown, laying in a hospital bed. It was located next to the window of a three-bed room of the neurological department of the Semmelweis university clinic. The room was dark, and on the other end of it there was a man who was already asleep.

I looked at my things. I had one friend in Budapest, and she had brought me my toothbrush, a few clothes, and some food.

My home in Germany suddenly seemed very far away.


The next morning a team of neurologists stood at the end of my bed. It was like on TV: they had clip boards in their hands from which they read my name and my condition, then they asked me about my situation and softly suggested that I might need surgery.

Disc hernia.

I said no. I called home and talked to a bunch of people about my situation. Some said I should give the surgery a try, but not here in Hungary. Others said I would be fine without it.

A bit later a physical therapist appeared. She did some tests on my body and concluded that I had a very light condition and that I needed nothing but rest and exercises. “This is nothing!” she said, “and besides, you’re very lucky that your MS isn’t giving you more trouble!”

I liked her laugh.

hospital mospital

I spent the following week in the clinic in Budapest in a weird state of limbo. Most of the time I was just in my bed. the food was horrible, so I felt very lucky when my friend showed up with provisions.

A few times a day I would do the exercises that the PT had given me. Once a day I would walk around a bit in the corridors. Sometimes I would talk to the other patients. We all hated the food, but that wasn’t the worst thing. The psych ward was close by, and often we could hear screaming.

The doctors paid me visits every day, and it seemed as though they were trying to warm me up to the idea of getting surgery. The PT laughed it off when I told her: she was as optimistic as ever.

I didn’t know what to do.


a week in a clinic in Budapest:

  • DorisLe

    Really sad and bad news. I hope you made the right decision and are getting better!
    Why do hospitals look and feel like prisons? How can people feel confidence that everything will be fine when all you see and hear and eat is depressing?
    Stay positive, you will be okay again!

    Best wishes


  • carmen pรฉriat

    i had my second disc hernia a few days ago. it is so painful. the first one happened nearly 6 years ago. a long story cut short: my chiropractor told me not to have surgery. so i didn’t, just had am infiltration against the pain. and he and my husband performed “distraction” to give that nerve some room. so it helped. and i will do the same again. be patient. let time heal.


  • natalie

    oh no! Iโ€™m so sorry Chris. I agree w the PT about the surgery. I hope youโ€™re all better now & walking along, pain-free.


  • Wanda Ballard

    I just saw this! And hope you are feeling so much better! Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers ๐Ÿ˜ž


  • E

    It’s always best to avoid surgery if you can. If you are a believer… I’m praying for you…if you aren’t… I’m sending good vibes your way.

    -a LONG time follower and fan…you got this


  • Hristo

    Damn, what a change in scenery.

    I hope you’re better by now. In my country doctors always push for surgeries – as a saying goes, for the hammer everything is seen as nails. You’ve probably gotten a second (and third) opinion by now – sadly this has to be done frequently around these parts to get a clearer picture.

    Hope you get well soon!


  • Benjamin K.

    Around 40 many spines give in, if not looked after properly. I adopted qi-gong to keep it at bay.
    I had hoped your walking would be the soulution. Cold pulling the cabosse be the problem? If you sent it ahead for 200 km and took a backpack or a childrens buggy, you could see if that helps?
    Get well soon!


  • Peter

    Hi Chris,

    So sorry to hear! Get well soon.

    Physical therapy and chiropractors can help a great deal. I have an early stage stiff big toe and manual therapy has been a huge help with drastic improvement in just a few weeks.
    Most doctors just look at the problem but not the whole body as a system. I think you always paid attention to the signals of your body – continue to do so and find someone who does the same and is an expert.

    I hope you are not around Budapest anymore, but if you are, let me know, I know a great chiropractor and manual therapist.


  • Norman

    take care chris!


  • Change

    Become a woman Chris, get a boyfriend and he can pull the cart from now on


  • Joshua

    Pt over surgery

    Adjusting actions is humbling
    Glad you have the resources to rest in


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