Booted, Barely

Hey there, loyal blog followers. BHD here, barely.

No, not “nekkid,” but not nearly at my full capacity. But I am oh-so-slowly adjusting to my newly-imposed “down time” due to a torn ligament in my lower back.

I tell ya, for someone like me who is accustomed to running 1000% full-tilt forward, the imposed mobility restrictions are…

…painfully required but definitely not welcome.

Once an MRI confirmed that I had a worse condition than a mere back strain — that is, a ligament in my back has literally been torn — I have not been able to do much of anything. I tried to go to work earlier this week, but the pain and utter exhaustion got the best of me. I can walk, but it hurts. I cannot lift anything with my left hand — I lifted one flimsy piece of paper off a table and it sent shockwaves of severe pain up and down my entire body. I can not sit or lie down in any position comfortably. Let’s just say that I get into positions that hurt less than others. It is hard to describe.

My doc prescribed a muscle-relaxant drug that he said may help ease the discomfort. Unfortunately, that drug’s side-effects were worse than the problems created by the torn ligament. After two doses, I made the decision to stop taking it. It was making me “goofy” and caused a severe head-pounding headache that made it impossible to sleep.

When I told my doc my decision to stop taking the muscle relaxant drug, I asked what alternatives were available. I explained that I will not use narcotics. Narcotics are scary unto themselves and while the pain is bad, it is not nearly on the level of giving up my entire ability to function to the effects of narcotics. That includes codeine, too — that stuff causes me to have frightening hallucinations.

The doc suggested that a good alternative for pain relief is acupuncture.

He really does not know me. Let’s just say, “absolutely no way.” Nope nope nope… I will quit my bitchin’ and just deal with the pain as best I can.

Fortunately, my spouse is really there for me. Massages that he gives me are a regular and pain-relieving practice. He also has been carrying the load of household chores that I usually do, from emptying the dishwasher (I cannot bend over) to collecting the trash to much more. I forget how many activities are done while keeping a household running.

I also am very grateful for my family and senior pal friends who have rallied around. My family has called frequently, a sister took me for that MRI, and my senior pals have been bringing so much food that I’m ready to open a food pantry for an army of homeless people. I appreciate the support and caring concern and am truly grateful for the care and attention I am receiving. I am a very fortunate man to have so many people who care about me. What I want most, though, is my life back. My spouse feels the same way.

Right now, I am in a two-week “let’s see how you heal” mode. Both the doctor at the MRI center and my personal physician have said that I need to wait about two weeks to see if my injury will heal itself, or if I will have to have a surgical repair of the torn ligament.

I can drive my truck due to excellent lumbar support provided by the driver’s seat. And being drug-free, I am fully aware and can operate a vehicle safely. Alas, however, I cannot even think about riding my Harley. I have such limited mobility on my left side, I could not swing my leg over the saddle of my beloved motorcycle if I wanted to.

… and for the first time in a decade, I will be home over Memorial Day weekend. Alas, though, no motorcycle-related activities for me this weekend or for weeks to come.

I can — and do — wear boots each day, at least for a little while. Lately, though, my boot choice has remained my Chippewa hikers which are comfortable and easy enough for me to be able to put on and take off by myself (though it is painful to do that, at least I can.)

I cannot forget, though, to remember how very fortunate I am. I have a very caring and loving spouse. I have a great family and friends network of support. I have terrific health insurance and a great personal physician. I have a very understanding boss and loads of sick leave, so while I miss working (I really do love what I do), I can take time off as needed and not worry about an income hiccup. I have a comfortable home, and a good environment for recovery. I truly believe that …

Life is short: count your blessings and be grateful for what you have.

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