The new and improved Cal Bryant

Published 2:30 pm Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Please extend me the courtesy of being just a wee bit on the weird side this week.

No, I didn’t get caught-up in the media battle between Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity and MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann and agree to undergo waterboarding as a benefit for charity.

I haven’t fallen on my head, resulting in memory loss.

Nope…none of the above. My wild, weird, whacked out mind is linked to medication.

Have I mentioned yet that I’m on medication?

Did I say how good it made me feel?

Ever since straining a lower back muscle on New Year’s Day while moving a tool box in my barn, I’ve experienced pain on and off over the past four months. The discomfort seems to be worse during the early morning and early evening hours.

I’ve tried a heating pad, Advil, muscle relaxers and even prescription strength pain killers. All have helped ease the pain, but the problem persists.

I had a routine follow-up visit with my doctor last week. For the regular readers of this space, you may recall my diagnosis one year ago of being a Type 2 Diabetic. Thanks to a diet (I’ve lost 34 pounds to date) and medication, my blood sugar level has returned to a normal level.

As far as my lower back pain, which sometimes travels down my leg, my doctor said it was perhaps connected to a sciatic nerve that may be irritated. She prescribed a steroid to ease the pain and swelling.

Whatever those little white pills contain, it works…in more ways than one. The pain has eased significantly, but the biggest effect is that I haven’t felt this good….just buzzing along….in a while.

However, my calm, cool public demeanor has changed. Take last week for example. While shopping, the girl at the check-out counter asked for my phone number, apparently an effort to track their customer base. I responded by asking, “are you that lonely?” She looked at me as if I were on drugs, which I was.

At another store I was asked for my zip code at the check-out counter. My answer….“what’s up with that; are you going to ship me this 12-pack of Diet Sun Drop I just purchased?”

Another retail stop resulted in another bizarre exchange. The clerk asked if I was interested in a year’s subscription to Sports Illustrated or if I would like to register for a cruise to a resort island. Nope, I just wanted to purchase this pack of sugar-free gum. I let the clerk know that when I placed my item on the counter, the shopping experience is over.

I was asked for my valued customer card at another store. I wanted to know why I, as a customer, needed a card to prove my value. I honestly thought the green money I was pulling from my wallet to pay for the purchase would prove as “value.”

This drug has bought out a new me and I like it!

Cal Bryant is Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index. He can be reached at or 252-332-7207.