I guess the story begins with overall muscle weakness. As I have said before, the inactivity of the pandemic was not good for my back. I became hunched over. There have been a series of problems this year. The first was back spasms that appeared at the end of the day. They began to abate when I returned to my commute. Then about 6 weeks ago I started waking in the middle of the night with truly frightening back pain. This was not intermittent. It was 7 days a week with no relief. I would not call myself brilliant, but whatever gifts I had were dulled by really horrible sleep patterns. (Plus I can’t do caffeine.) I remember one night I considered waking my spouse and asking for a trip to the ER. When I went back to sleep I dreamed that he took me seriously and starting packing for the trip. Eventually I devised a treatment with a NSAID ointment and heat that allowed me to go back to sleep
I did seek medical counsel. It took a while. First attempt to prescribe didn’t work. The third doctor, however, said something that rocked my world and gave me some practical things I could do to get better. She told me that my gait, unsupported, was causing back stress that was coming out in the middle of the night. As I picked up a cane, immediately things began to change. I am taking a lumbar support brace very seriously. I am doing the best I can to walk with either a cane or a rollator. This is harder than it looks. Several times recently I have noticed my cane is on the other side of the kitchen. This is a particular challenge because the pain relief is not immediate, its in the overnight. I am working on letting it sink in, walking unsupported is hurting myself.
This caused me to reflect on the gift of having a problem that I can do something about. There are actions I can take each and every day to get better. So much of what goes on our lives we are powerless over. I am grateful to have something to do.
This also changes my perceptions of my disability. I am now out as someone who needs support in order to walk without pain. I simply have to accept it, and work with the process. I don’t know if PT will allow me to get less paranoid about NEEDING support. Time will tell.