a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Back on the Back Subject

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Back on the Back Subject

SUMMARY: Yes, subjecting myself to this subject again.

If you've heard it all before, you may move along, nothing to see here.

My Life With Crapback is so prevalent  in my thoughts because it's so prevalent in my life.   Feels sometimes like I'm in limbo, as I seem to have improved as much as I'm going  to and my body is up one day, a little down the next, up one week, a little down the next, not getting much of anywhere any more.  Still, I have made a long, long journey upward from two years past!

Instead of having to go only to movie theaters where a friend can pick me up at  home and drop me off a few feet from the theater entry (and there aren't that many theaters like that here) so that I could hobble miserably through the entry and to a seat, I can now, as in the old days, park at the far side of the parking lot and cruise on over on my own.  But, in the old days, I could sit there carefree.  In the in between days, I could barely sit there if dosed up on painkillers and carrying a cushion or two to provide expert support here or there. Nowadays, carefree sitting just ain't gonna happen: I am either placing my hands under my hips or thighs and pushing up, or leaning elbows on both armrests and pushing up, to keep the weight off the spine, and adjusting frequently.  This, of course, is hard on my shoulders.

STILL -- I can walk into a movie theater! Across the parking lot! And sit and watch a movie more or less normally, munching on popcorn. As I did yesterday morning.

My paper-sorting days have been few and far between in the last 3 years or so (you know, taxes, bills, records of all kinds, interesting personal keepsakes, etc.) because it's hard to do that while lying or even merely reclining.  For over a year, I don't think I did any of it.  Now I am trying to catch up on those years.  In the old days, I'd just sit on the floor and sort things into stacks all around me  and power through all of it at once.  Now, sitting on the floor can be painful. Leaning this way and that to toss papers onto various piles is definitely painful after a short while.  So it has to be when I haven't already been sitting for too long or doing other activities that aggravate the back.

BUT this last month I have actually been able to make progress.  You know--work 20-30 minutes, maybe somewhat longer, then take a long reclining rest on the couch with ice on my back. But I'm DOING it.

My quality of life during these past 3 years has been so different from the first 95% of my life that it's hard to even accept that it is me that this is happening to. Hard to accept that it's not likely to ever get better.  Walking--I have to keep walking, and walking a lot, but not walking too HARD or overdoing it.  Have to keep doing this wide variety of exercises and stretches--knees, hips, shoulders, spine, core muscles...  and it's not merely a matter of toning up, it's a matter of surviving a normal life.

BUT lately I can actually function for a while  while skipping those physical therapy regimens, instead of needing them to even be able to get out of bed in the morning, and again to get dressed, and again to get in or out of the car, and so on.

And, hey! I can go grocery shopping!  I have to be vewy vewy caweful about how much weight I lift at a time for larger objects or shopping bags, but I can DO it! And walking normally?  Remember a couple of years ago when I could move around a store only by putting all my weight on the shopping cart and gliding carefully, smoothly, slowly? [hmm, was going to put a link to that, but can't find it in Mr. Blog. Must be on Facebook.  Will investigate later.] When getting something off a higher shelf or lower shelf required that I ask someone?  Can DO it now. I have to bend or stretch or twist carefully, but it has become a habit through necessity that I don't have to think about it too hard as I get through the store.

And I can drive--well, for whatever reason, driving in MUTT MVR has not been completely excruciating even at the worst of times-- getting in and out, now, that was a different subject for many long months.  But now I can get in and out of the car; I've adjusted how I do it and if for a moment I forget (which I hardly ever do any more), it's not going to lay me flat out for the next half hour as it used to.

My point is that pain and careful living are my constant companions, but that those are SUCH an improvement over agony and life-on-hold in a drugged stupor.

Every time I decide to take a stroll around the mall for exercise, or stoop carefully to pull a few weeds, or vacuum a room, or carry my own laundry upstairs, it still feels like a small miracle.

If only there were a big miracle around the corner. I keep on keepin' an eye out. As Scarlett said, "Tomorrow is another day."


  1. Oh boy. I knew it was bad, but I didn't know it was that bad. Wow. I'm glad you're somewhat better but I hope for that miracle right around the corner too so that you can enjoy some of the things you used to do again.

    1. Thanks, Dawn. This has been an... interesting... journey.