Saturday, 27 January 2018

Pain and a slipped disc

I cannot believe, after only a month into 2018, I am already having to give up my new year resolutions. I was exercising and dieting regularly, enjoying it, even, when suddenly on Sunday evening I felt my back 'go' as I was leaving the house to go swimming. All I'd done was bend down to switch off a radiator.
The pool was quiet and I did my 'regulation' 25-30 minutes swim without a stop - avoiding breast stroke - the enemy of those with back trouble. Back home I knew I'd have to reach for the painkillers and by Monday it was certain that I'd caused no ordinary 'trapped nerve'-type pain, to which I am prone. It was much worse. By Tuesday I was eating painkillers for breakfast and decided to remain house-bound, rather than aggravate my tender back by causing a painful contracting of muscles, due to the cold weather. By Wednesday Richard bought me a pack of OTC co-codamol, with so many health warnings the back pain seemed preferable to the dizziness, constipation and drug dependency which would rain down on me.

It all felt like the beginnings of a slipped disc - which I suffered 10 years ago - and I quickly abandoned all social and self-sprucing activities. I would not be able to move outside my own front door. Inside I could not get comfortable. If I sat for too long I couldn't leave my chair without pain, if I lay down I simply couldn't move out of the prone position and if I walked about, like a zoo-trapped tiger, I became weary. At most I was getting 4 hours' sleep at a stretch and had to take my pain killers an hour before I got up. If I didn't do this I could not leave the bed, the pain was too severe.

The cat is wary of me as I have grown two extra limbs. One, an extra leg, in the form of a walking stick, the other, an extra arm in the form of a litter picker. I simply cannot walk without support and I cannot bend to pick anything up.I am a sexter-dexter. 

 Thursday was my last day on OTC co-codamol. Hellfire and damnation to those who took those meds beyond three days. In preparation for the avoidance of a new hell I practised waking up at 6:00 am to take my painkillers,  getting washed at 7:00 and dressing by 7.15am But why?

At our GP surgery the walk-in-and-wait arrangements start at 8:00am. In my state I wanted not to have to do my pacing up and down in the waiting room, see above for my inability to sit, so had to be early ie first in the queue to see a GP. That meant getting there dead (?) on 8:00 am. I knew that would take me two hours' prep. 

On Friday, with the surgery in mind, I woke at 5.50 am, ate some ready prepared bread and jam to have with my tablets, took them and dozed while I waited for the analgesic effect to work.At 7:00am, a bit like going over the top, I girded my loins. I had to endure certain pain but had to move my damaged carcass. I managed to roll out of bed on my tummy, grab my extra leg, my walking stick,  and got in to the shower. I even coped with pulling on footless tights and a loose top. I pushed my feet into my boots, avoiding the need to bend, and froze because the heating hadn't come on. 

That's when my back reacted to the cold. It started hurting like no other day this week. I made myself a hot water bottle while the central heating came on and tried to get comfortable. When Richard was ready to take me to the surgery - about 7:40 am, I could barely walk and had to give in. I had simply expected too much of myself and I knew I wouldn't be able to cope with the cold outside and having to twist myself to get in the car. My back went into a mild spasm and I had to stay put. I was not going to be able to get to the surgery. Walk-in-and-wait is for those who can walk and can wait. I can do neither. I needed a home visit. 

A jolly GP rang me while I snoozing; I've had so little proper sleep this week I was glad of it. She knew exactly what to prescribe me and within moments Richard had been to collect the meds from the chemist. She said there was no way I could get to the surgery and made an appointment for me for next week instead. By then some of the 225 tablets I have on my table should have started to relax muscles and work on my back pain.

In trying to get to the surgery I had felt more pain than at any time this week. A simple act like walking into colder temperatures and wearing heavy boots has forced the muscles in my back to tense up. That night, feeling good in warm bath water, I undid all my hard work while trying to look after my back, and foolishly moved and bent badly. This sent sciatic
pain shooting up and down both legs. 💥 My whole back felt as if it were being pulled and  strained through a spaghetti ladle. Or I was on the rack.  And I had been on much stronger meds since 10 am that day. They should have made me feel better. 

At midnight I realised I was allowed a third dose of valium, for me its a muscle relaxant, not a cure for mental anguish. Mind you...  
That and another dose of stronger co codamol left me feeling more relaxed, but not sleepy. I hoped to doze off and wake at 6:00 am to take a double dose of naproxen, it's a strong ibuprofen, with codeine and paracetamol, and my ready-to-hand breakfast of bread and jam. 
By 7:00 am Saturday morning I anticipated getting out of bed, pain free. 🙏

My new year's resolution to swim and walk at least four times a week has been obliterated. I can barely walk upstairs. 

The only way I'll lose weight now is by dieting. There's no way I can do any exercise until I'm pain free. Last time I had a slipped disc I was told it would take 6 months to get right. In fact I believe it took a year. Maybe January 2019 is the time for a new year resolution: lose weight and exercise more. I just can't see it happening in 2018. 

And I thought I was trying so hard.

Boo hoo. 😡

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