Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Year Ago

A year ago today (July 2nd) I woke up as usual and when I got out of bed and took two steps my right leg from above the hip to the toes suddenly burts in to pain so intense I couldn't stand or walk and had to lie down on the floor for 15 or so minutes until the pain subsided.

When I went to stand up, after two more steps it happened again and slumped to the floor where the pain subsided. I stayed there the longest time I could remember noting any movement caused pain. It was like all the nerves from the right hip to the toes were burning and yelling at me.

I can't remember now how long it took to just get to the bathroom but I couldn't stand, sit or walk. I did manage to use the bathroom and get to the living room couch where I stayed for some time before trying to get to the kitchen.

The whole morning was like that, lie down for a long time to get maybe a minute of doing something or going somewhere in the house. I did manage to get the air mattress out along with the light sleeping bag to put them on the living room floor.

I spent the next three days there, quietly lying there with the TV on and not moving anymore than I had so there was no pain. But any attempt to stand, sit or walk was met with the intense pain. By the 5th the time window was 3-5 minutes where I was able to get ready and get to the clinic.

They diagnosed pinched Sciatic nerve. Apparently I had pinched it to the left leg a year ago where the leg was weak and numb for nearly two months before going away. I may have pinched it again to the right leg a month earlier when the right leg went numb, but everything else was ok.

It took until early August where I could walk without a lot of pain. I discovered during this that addictive pain killers don't work on me along with drug to induce intense or excessive happy feelings. Those parts of my brain don't work normally so the Oxycodone was useless on me.

I took one pill and waited, and waited some more. Four hours later with the pain barely dented and feeling nothing else but slightly sleepy, I ended up reducing the pill to halves and then quarters to get some sleep but eventually stopped taking them where there's still over half the bottle left.

I wasn't until September I could walk any reasonable distance without pain and could sit or stand for awhile without more than mild pain in the lower back. But it left my front of my right leg from above the knee to the ankle numb.

That part of my leg is still numb and the left leg was left weakend with balance problems which persists today. At this time I can't rely on the left leg for anything which stresses, even small things like running up stairs two at a time. The left knee sometimes wants to buckle.

And while walking has improved the strength in both legs, it has not improved the numbness in the right leg except every now and then some of the nerves wake up to whine and then go back to being numb.

The hardest part is that the improvement is intermittent and sometimes doesn't improve but worsens. Some weeks it's like it was months ago but I know to just wait and sure enough the legs come back to where they are now.

It's just weird but clearly nerve related. I don't lift anything heavy and still find I can do anything which requires carrying anything in front (eg. laundry basket) without the back hurting the next day. And remember pain killers don't work beyond mild relief. Yeah.

The doctors initially said it would easily be 1-2 years before the Sciatic nerve improves and longer to get back to normal, if it does, and exercise is the only treatment. That may not be true as I'm research other methods than drugs or similar conventional medicine.

Anyway, that was a year ago today. A year later, it's obviously better but it has taken its toll on my physically but more so mentally. I still haven't gotten through the lesson of human fragility where one day you're fine and the next you're not.

My goal is still to get back to running (they don't recommend) and hiking with some weight. For now I'm restricted to 15-20 lbs and even that hurts some days for hours afterward, so hiking is out too. And that's the mental side, it changes your goals and plans.

That's the state of affairs a year later.

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