Monthly Archives: December 2021

A new stage in my disability

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.
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