Thursday, February 6, 2014

TENS Unit Fun - Electroshock Therapy

This is a repost of something that happened to me a few years back. 
Okay, bent over on Friday afternoon to pick up the cat....

SPROINGGGG!! Out goes the low back. Hurt all weekend, then yesterday a.m. I can't move. Go in to the doc and he does some manipulation (osteopath is a cross between a doc and a chiropractor), gives me drugs and sends me home for bed rest. Tells me I can use my TENS unit to help the pain. No problems, I've been here before.

For those that have never seen one, a TENS unit is something about the size of an old, fashioned pager with two leads coming out of it. Powered by a 9 volt battery with about 500 milliamps of power, it delivers white noise into your nerves via those two leads. The thing can be set to rise and fall with different frequencies. Each lead has two pads at the end to complete the circuit. Really works, but you have to be careful about how high you set it, it can make you dance a jig. 

This a.m., I'm feeling a bit better so I decide to head into work. My bride helps me put the TENS unit pads on my back, hook up the wires and turn the thing on. Instant relief. I get in the car (slowly) and start it up. Oh oh! Got heated seats in the car and they're turned on.

I remember something from my electronics class, its called induction. Can you say induction? I know you can. What happens is the wires from the heated seats induce an additional current into the wires from my TENS unit. This additional current then goes through the path of least resistance, namely the muscles and nerves of my mid back. Since the TENS is set on pulse, I now have enough current to heat an 80 pound car seat to 90 degrees pulsing through my low back. 500 cold cranking amps from the car battery coursing through my spine. For those keeping track, there are 1000 milliamps in an amp, so this is now 100,000 times stronger than normal. 

At the turn of the car key (heated seat switch was on), I start to do an impression of a mackerel on the deck of a party boat. I'm kicking the crap out of the underside of my dashboard and trying to reach either the key or the switch for the seats. My car is in neutral and the brake is off. Its rolling down the driveway. I'm holding onto the steering wheel and my movements are translating to the car. I roll out across the lawn with said flopping mackerel behind the wheel. Not good.

I am seriously flopping around, arms flailing like an octopus on amphetimines, trying to override the signals going through my body. Imagine driving whilst being tazed. Doesn't work too well. 

I crank the wheel hard over before I hit my neighbors mailbox, slide through the wet grass and finally pull myself forward in the seat and turn the key off. I think that's what happened. I really wasn't paying much attention. I may have just dumped the clutch. I don't know. I don't care. I was microwaving the hair in my armpits. My fillings were blaring a local FM station. My toes were trying to break through the wingtips. Then, it stopped. 

Okay, I'm alive. Like someone in a burning building, I know I have to get the hell out of the car. I don't know why. I just know there is intense evil associated with it. 

I roll out of the car, face down into the wet grass. Finally, gingerly, I  pick myself up, and look up. My bride is standing in the doorway with a worried look on her face. She screams "Are you alright?" In a shaky voice, I tell her what happened and she collapses on the porch... Now I think she's fainted with fear and stress, but then she comes around sobbing. Hold on, she not sobbing. She's laughing.... hysterically. 

I get to my feet. My legs are doing a drunken Jerry Lewis impression. My left arm keeps shooting straight out. My right butt cheek is doing the flamenco. I stagger back up to the porch, step over the insane, cackling lady who's holding out her hand doing a flopping fish impression, go inside and change (of course, we've had thunderstorms all night and I'm covered in muck), return to the car WITH THE TENS UNIT UNPLUGGED AND SITTING IN THE BACK SEAT, start the car and drive to work.

You know, sometimes it doesn't pay to go to work in the morning.

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