It was eleven o’clock in the morning when I went out for my first walk in days on Wednesday (16 th). I had been suffering with aches and pains in both my lower back muscles and my buttocks. Walking actually doesn’t appear to aggravate the situation but on my return home four and a half miles later I felt awful. After preparing lunch I was glad to be able to sit down for a while . Raising myself from a seated position however has been really painful. It’s as if my muscles are on strike. As E has difficulty in getting about it is imperative that I am available to do the things she finds difficulty in doing. Even simple things like taking out the garbage or sweeping up leaves in the garden she leaves to me. When I am fit and well I take it all in my stride. Fortunately the major projects I have been engaged in doing have come to an end so I can take time out to rest but it isn’t always possible. I can hear my dad saying ‘you’ll just have to grin and bear it’. How right he was. It is no use grumbling or moaning when things need to be done and this is why I say it even when I am at my best. It is that time of year when certain plants begin to grow and especially those you don’t want like weeds. After all my efforts in removing bluebells (and montbretia) from the gardens two years ago there are still some which persist. On my return from my walk and before I went indoors for lunch I set about removing some I had seen in the front garden flowerbeds. I will be trying to curb my enthusiasm for finding things to do for my muscles’s sake, until there is an improvement of course.
During Saturday I had been suffering with pain in the muscles of my lower back or lumbar region. There had been no obvious reason why it came about for I had not done any strenuous work or put my back under any form of stress. As with other times in my life muscular pain usually arrived a day or two after the cause. Only a couple of weeks ago as I recall I had a similar problem. Everything was fine if I remained standing on my feet or if I lay down just as it was this time also. If I sat down I had problems trying to get off the chair or sofa. So Saturday wasn’t pleasant at all. Now it was Sunday and the pain had eased just a little but still let me know it was there when trying to stand from a seated position. Once up and about there was no problem and that is why I hadn’t been suffering after going for a walk. What could it be I asked myself? Then I remembered that on Friday I spent some time on the cross-trainer, the treadmill and the cycling machines, even though I had been for a long walk earlier in the morning. My guess though is that the cross-trainer was the culprit. I had spent much more time on that than the other two machines. As I wasn’t doing much more than a brisk walk on the treadmill and hadn’t exerted myself on the cycle machine it had to be the cross-trainer if it was any of them.
The combination exercise and movements on a trainer are not natural, nobody walks or runs as they do on a trainer. I said when I first bought the machine that I had to approach it with caution and slowly build up the regime over time. That I promised myself I would do after first using it and ending up with aches and pains a day or so later. I seems obvious to me therefore that I had forgotten to take my own advice but to be fair I had used it many times since that first time with little or no consequential problems.
So Sunday was also spent doing very little at all which was a good thing. I did some baking though, just to keep my hand in……ahem!
There’s always something going on in life as the saying goes though at this time those ‘somethings’ are not exactly what I have in mind. Another day passes by without anything further done on my projects but still I am active though in a different way. Yesterday we had bright sunshine and it was reasonably warm, only kept cooler because of the breeze. Today (Friday 11) it is quite cold, overcast and windy, a complete change. I would have taken a long walk in the morning but for the fact that I had to drive E to the hospital for her to keep another appointment. Instead, I spent time exercising on the gym equipment before breakfast and waited for E to be ready to go out. This time she was having steroid injections in her left foot in order to alleviate pain in some of her toes. Next week she has further appointments so now I have to plan my work, if I am doing any, around those times. Everything moves at a snail’s pace if I am out with E these days whereas years ago I sometimes had difficulty in just keeping up with her! Strange at it may seem her spinal problems (spina biffida) don’t appear to be causing her as much pain as the other problems she has. Until she contracted the back pain, shoulder pain and problems in her feet she managed to get around quite well. To be honest I don’t know how she would cope if I wasn’t around but I suppose she would somehow. It’s not all doom and gloom though, just something we have to cope with in our lives. I often wonder how we as human beings manage to survive the many health problems many of us face during our lives. If it isn’t one thing it’s another which strikes us unless we are very lucky though some of us are more vulnerable than others I guess.
I had arisen from my bed three times during the night but ended up finally getting up at almost ten o’clock! By the time I was downstairs it was almost eleven o’clock and not feeling in the least hungry I decided to skip eating and go for a short walk. It was Thursday morning. E would be going to the shops with her mom to do the weekly shopping together as they usually do after lunch, so I thought. She had decided to do the shopping before lunch instead. I put on my outdoor clothing and boots and off I went for a walk. I hadn’t been for a walk outdoors for quite a number of days due to my leg muscles’ injury and although I had been using the treadmill for some exercise I didn’t want to push my luck by going too far on the walk. As it happened I managed to go just over two miles with ease. I had missed the outdoor walks but now I knew I would be able to resume taking them. I am happy too that I can resume more serious exercising on the equipment though for the elliptical trainer I will need to take it very slowly. I had taken the route along the coastal road but stayed off the beach, that is the path through what passes for a beach alongside but well below the level of the road. There was an enormous amount of seaweed and all sorts of things washed-up together with many plastic bottles of various sizes mingled within it. It is such a shame that today’s society discard their waste anywhere they want instead of disposing it in one of the numerous waste bins provided. There seems to be little respect for the environment, their environment. I wonder what their homes are like. When I had walked over a mile I turned inland to return home, first through a local park then on through the streets to home. E was still out shopping when I returned. After taking a snack I sat watching television whilst waiting for her to return. I didn’t have to wait long and it was time to bring in the shopping. As she cannot carry much due to her condition I more or less bring it all indoors myself. I only mention that because carrying those heavy bags of shopping was making my leg muscles ache a little. It would be so easy to hinder the healing process and end up having to start all over again. I was careful not to let that happen.
Ever regretted having done something and paying the price for it later? I was browsing my dashboard here at Minkyweasel World and noticed a couple of readers had browsed and presumably read a post I had written two years ago in late December. You can read it here…(https://minkyweasel.com/2015/12/29/counting-the-cost/). At the time I was referring to the financial cost of Christmas and why people impose upon themselves the burden. Later in the post I talked about the real reason for Christmas. As often I re-read a previous article when someone else has taken an interest in it just to remind me of its content. Having re-read that article it reminded me of something that has happened to me a few times in my life, the penalty one pays after overdoing something. I wouldn’t call myself an alcoholic but have over-indulged many a time in my past. I hasten to add here that I haven’t touched a drop of alcohol in over five, or is it six years? There was a reason for my abstinence this last and final time though. I had never considered giving up the habit, I saw no reason to give it up completely. Whereas before I would ‘go on the wagon’ for a few years for one reason or another this last time was different. I was sitting at home seated quietly on the sofa and half-watching the television as I recall when I heard a loud voice speaking to me as if someone was standing close behind. Two words were spoken, ‘Stop drinking’, and then all went quiet again. I really thought that someone was standing behind me but I was alone in the room. My personal belief is that God was telling me to stop drinking. It wasn’t the first time God had spoken to me, there were two other occasions but they are another story. Many times I suffered from the after effects of drinking alcohol but repeatedly continued again once sober. I wasn’t addicted insomuch as I could take it or leave it, I wasn’t dependent upon it but perhaps had I not ceased I might well now be an alcoholic. Like many things in life there is often a price to be paid for our overindulgence. It is Tuesday 12 as write this and I can hardly walk a step without feeling pain. In fact I have been finding it difficult to stand up from a seated or lying down position since yesterday morning, my upper leg muscles won’t lift my body. My condition is slowly improving but in the meantime I have to remain patient. The cause of the problem is my overindulging activity on the new Elliptical Trainer followed by a stint on the Treadmill! Put simply my leg muscles were not used to the type of exercise the Trainer gives and although I was cautious in using it I wasn’t cautious enough. Now I have to wait for restoration before I can resume my exercise regime. Naturally I will have to resume slowly else get myself into more mischief! One step too far…..something to be avoided.
I had been itching to carry on with my garden project of installing a stone edging to the long flowerbed, which I should really name a shrub and tree bed for there are no flowers in it but for a few days up to and including the weekend it had been raining too much. I did manage however to do about an hour on Saturday before rain stopped me. That was a good thing in a way for in that hour I had upset my leg muscles again. I only felt the pain later when I had finished. I did no work on the project for there was something more important, more bluebells to remove! I looked in places I had previously removed them and found quite a few were now showing but mostly they were in The Mound. The same old story, I find one then another and before I know it I see them everywhere! They are one pesky plant to eradicate to be sure. I dug out a few bulbs but in a couple of places I couldn’t find any bulbs, only the long stalks reaching deep underground. I have the feeling I am never going to be able to get them out because they are so far down and beneath tree roots it would be impossible so I may have to resign myself to just removing the stalks when they appear during the growing seasons. It is what we were doing before I decided to dig them out. It isn’t as bad as it seems though for they have become far fewer in number now having dug most of them out. I didn’t get to the flowerbed where I saw the others but they are easy to get at and when I get the time, probably early in the week ahead as I write this on Sunday, they will hopefully be removed as soon as possible. Until I see others! The main work is installing the stones and cementing them in place but because of the problems with my muscles brought about by the work I will be forced to slow things down. It is a kind of race but one that has to be run slowly. There is less of an urgency in getting the edging done than there is with removing bluebell bulbs. If I leave digging out the bulbs for too long it will be hard keeping on top of things. None of them however will be allowed to grow and produce flowers because that is when they produce seeds and then all the hard work done to date will have been in vain. It is therefore a race against time to get them out as soon as possible after spotting them while it is the growing season.
Wednesday turned out to be a gloriously sunny day, a little breezy but definitely a day for lounging about on the patio. Alas I couldn’t indulge until after my lunch and that’s what I did for an hour or so. On Tuesday evening I began to feel the effects of all my hard work on my upper leg muscles which made it difficult to get up if I was either sitting down or lying down. Once I was on my feet it wasn’t too bad and walking wasn’t a great problem as long as I took my time. So I made the decision on Tuesday night to stop the work I was doing in the garden for at least one day to allow my muscles to recover. Being on my knees (on a garden kneeling stool) digging and manipulating the large stones to make an edging for the long flowerbed meant I was stretching and that must have put too much of a strain on my leg muscles. I am still trying to figure out why only my legs when most of the work was being done by my arms! I had an idea it might be associated with the nerve in my neck being compressed because of the unavoidable position of my head whilst doing the work. Essentially it would be the same as if I were bending my head backward and looking upward for long periods. Whatever the reason a few neck exercises helped and during Wednesday morning things improved. I was glad about that for although I had stopped working with the stones for the day there was a couple of other things I could do without putting any strain on my legs. For some time now I have thought about putting more soil in the largest flowerbed on the patio as the level in there has dropped due to settling. There is plenty of spare soil in the corner plot at the end of the long flowerbed but there might still be bluebell seedlings in it so to make sure I filled some plant pots and left them standing…
If there are any bluebells in there they will appear soon enough, either way I will be able to use the soil in a few weeks, removing anything else that might have grown in there too. I may fill more pots to ensure I have enough. I did that just before lunch but after lunch I gave the lawn its first cut….
Even though I waited until the afternoon the grass was still very damp so it took much longer than it would otherwise do. If I attempted to cut using the whole width of the mower it refused so I used only half the width with each pass. At that time the patio was in full sunshine (just left in the picture) and you can see it is that bright for the edge of the patio at bottom left is hidden in the glare. My day was done as far as work went and I got the chance to sit in the sun. My electrical work till then had dried-up but someone called to put an end to that. I would be doing that work on Friday weather permitting because it is outdoor work and the forecast didn’t look too promising.
Late on Saturday I was just leaving the wet room after visiting the toilet and suddenly found it difficult to stand on my feet! The muscles in my upper legs at the rear would not uphold my weight and I found myself in agony when attempting to move. The pain eased off a little and I found it much better later but after I’d had a late-night shower I again found it extremely difficult getting into bed. I still had problems the following morning but not quite as bad. I found it easier to slip on a pair of low-heeled shoes (3in – 7.5cm) and walk about in them rather than wearing slippers or flat shoes. I had a theory about this. For quite a long time I have worn very high heels exactly like the ones shown (5in – 12.5cm) for short periods on occasion when at home and I thought that perhaps this may have been the reason for my ailment but I now think otherwise, at least in this case. I had been lifting and carrying heavy things during the day and that resulted in my feeling aches and pains in the lower part of my back which subsequently moved down both legs affecting the muscles at the back of each leg between my bottom and my knees. E suggested it might have been a trapped nerve in the base of my spine and on reflection I think she was right. Thankfully I do no work on Sundays so I was able to sit and relax but I would have done that anyway whilst being this way. Things improved during the day so I was able to get about. E has been suffering with her condition for many months now and she has to use a walking stick to aid her. She therefore has limited mobility and now I know first-hand what she has to go through every day. I am fortunate in that I am in good health and suffer little apart from the occasional, usually self-inflicted, aches and pains through working too hard! That I do not mind but when it comes down to mobility not being able to walk about is a definite disadvantage.
Having written this on Saturday I thought an update appropriate. I am feeling much better as I write this on Wednesday night. It appears my problem was indeed caused by a trapped nerve in my neck! Some time ago if my readers remember I had a problem with restricted movement in my right arm in that I couldn’t raise my arm above my head or reach behind my back with that arm. I discovered then my problem stemmed from a trapped nerve in my neck. With that in mind I carried out some neck exercises and found my current ailment suddenly easing. I continued the exercises and the problem has almost vanished. Lesson? Do the exercises as a precaution as often as I remember. My heels? They are not a problem.