Saturday, November 29, 2014

Laid Back

In general, when people talk about being laid back, you get the image of relaxed, at ease, coasting. And while Thanksgiving weekend is a terrific time to be laid back, it turns out that I'm taking this to an extreme. As in laid (flat on my) back.

I limped home just after midnight Tuesday after completing a 29-day road trip that I conducted while coping with lower back pain that I sustained in early October. I made it through on grit, ibuprofen, and Traumeel (a topical analgesic cream that features calendula, arnica, echinacea, hypericum, belladonna, and other homeopathic goodies). While you might think that the worst would be behind me after eight weeks, I've been locked in a battle with secondary pain that shifts fronts (or backs, in this case) every few days.

After the original strain in my lower back I was (understandably) very cautious about how I moved. If I held myself awkwardly or turned too abruptly I was susceptible to tweaking my injury such that my muscles would contract involuntarily and it felt like someone was jabbing me with razor blades. It didn't take many of those experiences to dread their reoccurrence. In consequence I was tensing the muscles near the trauma so much that I started experiencing secondary pain in the fatigued defensive muscles that was as much a problem as what I started with. Yuck!

As soon as one set of defensive muscles started complaining I'd adjust how I defended myself, with the result that the secondary pain would migrate to a new location. The last few days it's risen to the level of my ribs, such that I can't inhale fully without feeling like someone is jabbing me in the side with a sharp stick. It's hard to walk (and don't make me laugh or cough).

Ma'ikwe stepped in yesterday and took me to see a doctor. She's concerned both with my suffering and that there may be something more going on than a slow healing back. I gave a blood sample which showed that I'm slightly anemic (could it possibly be that I'm not eating enough sorghum?) and a urine sample which suggested the possibility of kidney stones. I'll be back into the clinic Monday to have a CT scan to get more data.

Meanwhile, the doctor prescribed a muscle relaxant (cyclobenzaprine) and a pain killer (hydrocodone), both of which provided immediate breathing room (literally) and I was pleasantly surprised with my vitals: 
pulse: 64
blood pressure: 120/80
weight: 187 dressed, which is down 20 pounds from two months ago

While I don't recommend lower back strain as a weight loss regimen, apparently it's effective. It's certainly taken my mind off eating.

Though the band of pain encircling my rib cage eased up a bit after an awful start this morning, I haven't thought about dancing once all day and I've got a ways to go before feeling spry enough to board a train at 6 am Tuesday to conduct a facilitation training weekend in Vermont that begins Thursday evening. I really want to go, but things will have to improve dramatically for that to make any sense.

If I stay home it will mark the first time I've failed to keep a commitment as a process consultant since I hung out a shingle in 1987. Ordinarily, when it comes to process gigs I'm not laid back at all, but maybe next Tuesday I will be. Stay tuned.


Cecil said...

I hope you feel better very soon! (And that it's not kidney stones...)

Rosemary Wyman said...

Wow. So sorry to hear the wolf caught you. Hint:as you age pay attention earlier and earlier for fewer repercussions. Hope you can hear what body wants you to integrate and heal up very soon. If it helps, remember you are well loved near and far. I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

Did they check on disk compression on spinal cord- a friend who had same symptoms had this problem