If you call me, see me or otherwise interact with me during the next few days, pardon me if I come across as grouchy, out of it or some odd mixture of both.

I will be out of the office this afternoon and working from home Wednesday, so — hopefully — by the time you do catch up with me, this won’t be the case. However...

This afternoon I’m getting a shot. In my back. At around the junction of my L4 and L5 vertebrae near the lower end of my spine.

I’m going to have taken a muscle relaxant beforehand. I’m currently taking one each night before going to bed along with two 650 mg tablets of Tylenol each morning and with the muscle relaxant at night.

So, that’s where the possible “out of it” might come into play.

The shot’s still going to hurt. Like hell, most likely. It’s also going to pump me full of steroids.

So, that’s where the grouchy part might come from.

Needless to say, it might be a very good thing I’m staying at home Wednesday. We’ll see about Thursday.

The hope is that the steroid will calm the heck out of my lower back. I’ve been suffering a lot of back pain lately — not sure what caused it other than weight gain and getting older — and I’m ready for it to be gone, if at all possible.

By injecting the steroid directly at the L4/L5 spot, it should help the lower back pain, especially on my right side, some associated pain down the right thigh, as well as up the right side of my back and, perhaps, some problems I’m having with my left foot, although we think there’s a bone spur there. The L4/L5 junction is where the nerves split off to your left and right legs, apparently. If I understand correctly. Which I probably don’t right now.

Oh, what fun!

And somehow I have to get Friday’s paper out?

There’s a punchline here somewhere. Anyone know where it is? Anyone?

So, if you were wondering, that’s why I’m not covering county council tonight. Thank goodness for livestreaming. If I’m awake and coherent, I’ll be watching it live. Otherwise, I’ll play it back tomorrow and try to put 2 and 2 together and, hopefully, not come up with 5 ... or 3 ... or the square root of Pi.

So, if you are feeling up to it, cross your fingers and toes that all goes well today so that tomorrow will be a better day, etc., etc., etc.

New phone numbers

A good while back, after the C-I, Lee County Observer and the Blythewood and Fairfield County/Winnsboro Country Chronicles were purchase by Paxton Media Group, I told you that we would be updating our phone system.

Well, that day has come.

We are keeping our main phone number, (803) 432-6157. For the moment, when you call that number, you will get the recording that we have been using for the last couple of months. I would suggest using that for general phone calls for when you’re not sure who can best help you with your particular issue. Just leave a message, and one of us will get back to you as soon as we can.

However, if you do know who you want to talk to, we now have individual, dedicated phone numbers here at the office you can use.

I can be reached at (803) 310-7724.

For sports, Tom Didato can be reached at (803) 310-7725.

For advertising, Betsy Greenway can be reached (803) 310-7726

You can even reach our publisher, Dale Morefield, at (803) 310-7727.

Here’s some interesting behind-the-scenes features about our new system.

We can set things up so that our new phone numbers automatically ring our cell phones so that we can answer while we’re away from the office. Even if we don’t pick up, you’ll still be able to leave a voice mail for us on our respective office phones.

We also have the ability to have voice mails emailed to us so that we can listen to — and respond to them — from out of the office as well.

Now, I have to admit, I’m not sure if I’m ready to be bombarded with office calls when I’m not in the office. On the other hand, a lot of folks around here have my cell phone number anyway, so it may not make much of a difference.

I should also mention that if you need to talk to someone about line classifieds, you can call Kristie Ross at (803) 339-6863. If you need to talk to someone about a circulation or subscription issue, call (803) 339-6865.

Another behind-the-scenes thing with the new phone system is that as part of one of Paxton divisions, we’ll be able to call each other — or anyone else in the division, which includes North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia — with just four-digit extensions.

Now, that’s a bonus with which I can live.

Martin L. Cahn is editor of the Chronicle-Independent, Camden, S.C. He welcomes responses to his columns and our editorials at mcahn@chronicle-independent.com.