The embattled Member of Parliament for St. Peter, Asot Michael, has returned to Antigua and Barbuda after undergoing emergency surgery on his lower back.
The parliamentarian told OBSERVER media, after he returned to Antigua on Sunday, that it was after a visit to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota for a check-up with his mother in June, he was told he needed the surgery immediately to correct the herniation and subsequent rupture of his L5 and L6 lumbar discs.
“It wasn’t something new. I was suffering for years because I was supposed to have surgery in January 2014 when the discs were herniated, but I put off the surgery to take care of my constituency and my subsequent responsibilities as a minister and they ruptured,” Michael said.
He said, over the years, he has been dealing with the excruciating pain of the back injury by using “strong pain killers.”
“I just kept putting it off. I put the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party over my health,” he added.
“I have been on pain-killers for the last four years, whenever it hurt me. And rather than doing the surgery because I did not want to have any down time as minister, I would go to New York and take steroid or cortisone injections twice a year.”
Michael indicated that he had another appointment for March 16 this year at Mayo Clinic but canceled because the prime minister called early elections.
By the time he got to the clinic for the surgery last month, Michael’s discs were not just herniated like in 2014, but they were protruding, pressing on the nerves outside the spinal cord.
He said it explains why he used to walk with a slight lean.
He said he had an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) done on June 28, and he was slated to have the emergency procedure on the following day. The surgery was followed by a 10-day recovery period and for the next month he is required to walk with a cane. Physiotherapy is to follow once his body heals from the invasive surgery.
The MP said that he has “a lot to thank God for” because doctors had discovered that the cartilages on the discs were ruptured.
“I could have become crippled and not ever walk again,” he explained.
“After what Sir Lester Bird went through, I was fearful of doing the surgery,” Michael said as he noted that his labour party colleague and former two term prime minister is unable to walk on his own following back surgery some years ago.
Meanwhile, Michael said he is looking forward to being in Parliament on Thursday as he continues to represent the people of St. Peter.
“I will be going to visit my constituents soon and having a branch meeting with them, if not this week then next week,” he said.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)