Winter Mind Games

It’ll soon be Christmas and New Years. I’ll meet family and friends. I’ll be all right.

It’s past the winter solstice (Dec. 21), now the days are getting longer. There’s more light. I’ll be all right.

It’s a new year. I’ll eat better, exercise more, read better books and get in touch with long lost friends. I’ll be all right.

It’s the first of February. The worst of winter is over. I’ll be all right.

It’s the first of March. It’s still deep winter. I may not be all right.

PS. Every time it snows, an unknown stranger cleans my car off in the parking lot. I’ll be all right

 

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January, Muscle Spasms, and All That Good Stuff

The first 3 weeks of January went swimmingly. A molar had to have its cap removed, be re-drilled and re-covered with a brand-new $800 crown. Then I had a colonoscopy. Mention that and someone is sure to intone -‘It’s the prep that’s the worst!’  These people evidently skipped the actual procedure. Meanwhile the pump on the washer quit and the Sears man had to come back 3 -count ’em ladies and gentlemen 3- times. Each visit required a generous window of time and no one in the house could devote 6 hours every Wednesday to this pursuit except me. By the time the washer doctor pronounced the 2 year-old front loader healed, I didn’t remember what clean clothes smelled like.

Then things got rough.

I wake up at 3 o’clock to a terrible racket and stumble to a window. Outside large tree limbs writhe in the wind, the rain flies horizontally, lightning flares and thunder crashes. In January!! As I turn back, my right leg begins howling in pain. By 5 a.m. I have written a long journal entry, downloaded Michael Connelly’s, Black Box on my kindle and got well into the story. Only then does the leg let me go back to sleep.

Painkillers? I would lament the fact that I can’t take any of them (tender stomach), but since they don’t seem to kill my pain anyway, I won’t bother. Actually I lie, liquid morphine works very well, but as I’ve said before, it’s so hard to come by.

As for the leg, nothing a little exercise won’t cure, so I go for walks. I take up the rug and do tai chi in the living room as I wait for Sears. The right hip gets stiff and sore. As I take myself off to a tai chi class, the agony has spread to my lower back. But I am still working on the theory that it’s nothing I can’t work through.

By the time tea break arrives, I have been disabused of that notion. My right hip is beginning to set like cement. A minute too long and I won’t be able to bend to sit down to drive home. I turn the heat on in the Obus Form car seat. I crank up its massage feature to high. I resort to prayer.  In my driveway, I sit studying how best to get out of the car. I discover there is no best. There’s only pain.

Okay, no problem. I have ways to deal with pain. First the castor oil pack, lots of castor oil on a flannel and a heating pad. An hour later, look at that! I can walk. Only problem is I need a derrick or a crane to get me out of bed. Right, let’s try patches, lots of those patches embedded in this case with Chinese herbs, guaranteed to relieve pain, or so my past experience says. But no, not so much and, apparently, not wise to apply them on oily skin. Why not just pass out and sleep it off. An hour later, the pain wakes me up. Let’s try the tennis ball. First lie on the floor, wedge the tennis ball under the tight spot and relax into it.OMG!!!! Does the CIA know about this? It could be way more effective than water boarding! But I keep at it and a few minutes after I get up, a blessed relief floods over me. The spasm has eased.

I am so happy! And blissfully unaware that this will be the pattern of my life for the foreseeable future with one surprising twist. The spasm travels. While it seems most at home in the right hip, it is content to visit the right calf, the right knee and the right thigh, especially as I try to go to sleep. (How is that fair, I ask you.) Just for a change of venue, it zips up to the right shoulder blade, flashes along the neck and zooms down the backbone. At the moment, it has wandered right out of home territory and is visiting my upper left back.

The only time I leave the house for the first 2 weeks is to see the massage therapist and the acupuncturist. The treatments work wonders – for about 24 hours.

I get hysterical. Well, of course I do. I whine on the phone. I up my already high dose of calcium and magnesium. I meditate. I examine my soul to see what darkness lurks there.

Gradually, almost imperceptibly, the pain diminishes. I still have the travelling spasm, but I can head it off, so that it doesn’t become full blown.  I go back to tai chi class, only half of it at first. I find that one move, Creeping Low Like Snake, if done very, very gently, opens my back and softens it.

Instead of a marauding tiger tearing at my flesh, it’s more of a domestic cat now. Trouble is, I’m not much of a cat person.