Saturday, August 20, 2011

Obligatory “Old Karate Injury” Story

Our regular readers and devoted followers -- you both know who your are, right? -- have no doubt noted our sporadic publishing schedule of late. Well, there's a reason. Let's go back to this time twenty-four years ago, to 1987 ...

I had begun training in karate for about a year, and was on my third of four "belts" or levels of proficiency. It was during the warm-up exercises one evening, that I must have twisted and/or pulled something as had never been done previously. My right leg ached a little for the rest of the class. I left the dojo and went home, thinking little of it, until ...

I woke up the next morning, hopped out of bed, and collapsed. My right leg was aching, and I couldn't walk with it. For the next two or three weeks, I was out on sick leave, applying heat and cold packs alternatively to both the right knee and the right ankle. The relief was temporary, but it was obvious that something else was going on. It was my chiropractor who finally figured it out.

The sciatic nerve is the big thick nerve that runs from the pelvic area all the way down the leg. The one for my right leg was being pinched near the source, at the joint where the sacrum meets the illium. (It actually appears that I know what I'm talking about, doesn't it? The picture to the right helps.) I was feeling pain in my knee and my ankle, but the problem was in my lower back. Through a series of daily exercises, highlighted by chiropractic treatment, it was eventually cured.

For a few weeks, I had to go to work on crutches. Riding in the vanpool was difficult. In my experience, most people who ride in vanpools are rather sedentary by nature. In my case, these idiots wouldn't even give up the seat nearest the door. Imagine having to crawl all the way back in crutches. I was in a lot of pain when it happened, but they didn't care.

Over the years, I've had problems with soreness in my right leg, especially when driving great distances. Without the proper thigh support for the driver's seat, the strain eventually leads to discomfort. I didn't always have cruise control for my car to alleviate it, since I couldn't always afford one where it came standard, and the dealer wouldn't install it, pointing me to a place thirty or more miles out of town. In the past year or so, my leg has bothered me more, usually after shoveling a lot of snow around my car (a task I now pay others to do). There is also the recent development of minor arthritis in my lower joints. Nearly a month ago, the old injury came back with a vengeance. I'm on various medications to manage the pain, and an MRI is scheduled for this Wednesday. At the very least, it may only be a lower back spasm, which can be treated with medication and physical therapy. The worst case scenario is a herniated disk, which is usually corrected with surgery. I hope to avoid that at all costs.

I wanted to be able to work from home, what with my agency pushing teleworking. But most of my work lately has been as an on-site photographer, and the three or four people to whom I answer at any given moment can't seem to get their heads together on this one. All told, you'd think that would leave more time to write, wouldn't you? Well, there has been a lot to do around the house, and it takes a lot longer when you have to walk any great distance with a cane.

There is one good thing about all this, which is that I continue to lose weight. At the beginning of May my weight was 220. It is now down to about 202. My goal is to lose five pounds a month every month, and keep it off, until the end of the year.

Exit question: is life giving me lemons, or melons?


frival said...

For what little comfort it's worth, my wife had surgery a few years ago for a herniated disk and once she followed the doctor's orders and did her PT she recovered quite well. As with any surgery there is still some stiffness around the incision area from time to time, but that terrible pain in her leg is now a thing of the past.

Dad29 said...

You have the gift of suffering. Pray for us who don't have that.