Monday, April 18, 2016

An Impatient Convalescence

Getting old sucks.  Having your body "betray" you is not fun.  Not being able to do simple things like twist, or lift things or even break into a jog or run makes me feel useless and frail.  I hate this.  I am impatient to be better.  It doesn't have to be a complete healing, just enough relief to be able to move freely again.  To be able to hoist and carry a pack.  To get back to what I'm "supposed" to be doing.  Hiking.

Hike day (postponed):
Right now, I should be hiking up Chinquapin Hill towards Quarry Gap shelter, on a two day, 20 mile hike with friends that I have been promising to do this with for a while now.  But I'm not.  I'm sitting here at the computer typing this, with a dull ache in my lower back.  It's a dull ache now, but it likes to surprise me with a debilitating, stabbing spike of pain, whenever I twist the wrong way.  The potential for that to happen repeatedly as I carry my pack and hike for miles has caused me to cancel my part of this trip.  

Ginger and I have just returned from our morning walk in the nearby woods.  I like getting out there.  The soft ground and bird song restore me.  The easy movement using my trusty walking stick, help loosen my back.  Sometimes it feels really good.  This morning, I decided to cut the walk shorter than usual, because my back gave me a twinge as we started towards the woods.  I was feeling ok at the end, but thought the shorter walk would be enough for today.  Pretty sure I wouldn't have been able to do 10 miles with 30 lbs on my back.

There is a slight nip in the air and the breeze is chilly.  The sun is shining though and it would have been a good day to hike.  The coolness of the air tempers the heat you generate as you hike up hill.  But alas, I'm not there.  The need to get out there is still very strong, but I will have to wait.  The thing I hate to do.  

Next day:
It looks like the temperature up on Big Flat was about 25 degrees this morning.  Would have been a chilly night and morning.  I try to say that the weather doesn't effect my plans and for the most part, that is how I roll, but I'm not too sad that I didn't have to go through the warming process of getting camp packed and hitting the trail to heat up my body.  

I had been sleeping on the couch the last several days as it seemed our bedroom mattress was hurting my back more.  Last night I slept on my daughters old twin mattress (pretty firm) and I slept just as good as on the couch.  One day at a time.  

A few days later:
Well, sleeping on the mattress didn't work for some reason.  My back started getting persnickety again, just in time for my first physical therapy session.  I went back to the couch and that is where I'll stay for a while.  

My physical therapy session went well.  We talked about what was causing a lot of the pain, (tight muscles pulling on the spine, especially at the sacrum) and I learned some exercises to loosen those muscles.  Also, I was given a support belt that raps around your pelvis and holds everything stable and that seems to be working a lot.  It is supposed to be better than the normal lumbar support belt and it seems to be.  

I am feeling better as the days go by and am able to more about more, but it still seems like it is taking too long.  I am very impatient to get back up and running.

As I look at this from a different perspective, I realize I need to readjust my expectations.  My brother had  a very long convalescence when he had his leg crushed in an Iron Worker accident a couple years ago.  The accident was so bad, that is ended his career of building structures and bridges and all the stuff Iron Workers do.  It was over a year before he could get in a vehicle on the driver side instead of the passenger side.  There was talk on and off of amputation, but he kept the leg and even though it will never be totally fixed, he can now move around much better.  I can only imagine what he went through with his months and months of immobility and I mentally slap myself out of it when I'm feeling impatient to be "right" again.  

So, this rant has gone long enough.  I appear to be getting "better", but I have a feeling that there are some aches and pains that are here to stay in this aging body.  I will just need to learn how to deal with them and do my darndest to get back out on the trail, where I belong.  

Keep on Hiking, 

1 comment:

Windtalker said...

So sorry to hear about your back. I can sympathize, having a troublesome back myself, but certainly not as bad off as you are. Keep doing the stretching exercises every day. They work wonders for me, and hopefully, they will help you as well. Stay strong.