Saturday, May 29, 2010

Four Steps Forward, Three Back

A week ago yesterday, when I saw the physical therapist, she upped my exercises, put me on the stationary bike at no traction (I could only last six minutes) and said, "Don't lie down, don't lie down, don't lie down."

When I went to see the special, first time since right after I got out of the hospital, I had to admit that I truly hadn't realized how sick I was. And he agreed. I seem to be doing well, though he assured me that another colonoscopy would still show inflammation. The prednisone, now down to 5mg for two weeks and then I'm free of that, will be supported for another six months by Asacol which I've been taking all along. I see him in another three months. And, "Oh, by the way," he said, "don't take what the physical therapist says too seriously." The message was, "You were very sick." I asked if my mind will be back in another month and he couldn't assure me that it will. It all takes time, I gather.

And, after that I had four good days! Walking slowly but without pain. (And lying down when I needed to.) Unfortunately, I did the exercises given to be by the physical therapist. I had been doing them every other day, but thought --- what the hell, I'm feeling good. I should (oh, there is the should that has so poorly guided my life) do them every night. The 4th night, I had an instinct that I shouldn't do them, but I was watching "Biggest Looser," a program that Krissy watches and that causes her to cry. Well, if they are forcing myself, I should, also, I decided, even though it didn't seem to pleasant to lie there, lifting my left leg up and down. 

Since I can NEVER tell if I've injured something until the next day, I didn't know that I wouldn't be able to walk for the next three days without pain and the cane, having transferred the misery to the other buttock.

Naturally, this Friday, as in yesterday, the physical therapist said that she couldn't do much for it but put on heat, ice and some electrical stem because this new injury would need to be evaluated again and she'd need another prescription. (She did a bit of evaluating and it's clearly muscular.) I do understand -- she can't just go poking around if a doctor hasn't seen me, etc. But I could have cried. This time the three days was too tedious. The pain is hardly anything to write home about, but my spirit was a bit broken and I actually felt cranky.

She said that I should cut down the exercises, every two or three days, and don't do this and don't do that one, and don't lie down.

I am better today (at least from noon on, before that it was tough-and-go) probably from the ice, heat and electrical stem. But only slightly. However, I should be walking more easily by tomorrow. 

I haven't put up my Tuesday Poem, read any blogs, done much of anything but lie here for three days and a half days....     

Krissy has a great knack with Craigs List. Amazingly, if you look at the photo of her, you will see a cat carrier in which Mr. White, who she'd been feeding, is happily in here. A capable woman, a cat lover, came, picked that bedraggled old thing with green eyes up by the scruff of the neck, gave it a shake and it immediately fell in love with her and stopped trying to scratch. It folded itself neatly into the carrier and waited patiently until she drove it away. I am in awe of Krissy's ability and glad that she was right, that somebody would be willing to come to the backyard and take that cat away so we could go outside without getting the terrors and wearing boots.

The most interesting book, even though I hardly understood it, that I've read is by Steven Pinker. Fortunately, my supplier, Warren, had an extra so that he's given it to me and I can reread it, underlying certain sections and still not understanding it because grammar is something I picked up by ear. I find it unnatural to follow his very interesting logic.

I've been reading a lot of books that I can't follow, like two by Richard Feynman's, but they are so full of his remarkable spirit, the stubborn clarity of his mind, the curiosity, that I hardly mind that I don't understand the physicals. The Oliver Sachs book about his trip with a group were hunting for fungii in Mexico was equally baffling because I don't know the anything about this distinctive preoccupation (though I love to read things I don't understand and applaud that so many of us are involved in esoteric, specialized preoccupations that we find commonplace). I'm not particularly fond of Sachs, though I once thought I was. He just can't compare in the department of moral clarity that Feynman occupies (pardon me for saying this.) I liked the memoir by Hildegard Knef more than the one by Jill Kerr Conway which made me envious for the confidence I never had when I entered college. (I don't know how to delete the second image of it...but again, what the hell.)

I did get back to editing a very long poemish thing that I wrote that summer, which seems quite strange and remarkable. And hope to get back to reading blogs. And to walking.................................


  1. You sound as if you have been very busy, Melissa, despite your ill health. I feel for you. I could not endure such enforced stillness, I'm sure. You strike me as someone who would have previously kept busy and to be forced into solitude and physical privation is cruel.

    I have not read, let alone heard of, the books you mention, though I know of Oliver Sachs. I've only read his 'man who mistook his wife for a hat', which I loved years ago, but from reviews I've read, his style is idiosyncratic, his personality a touch odd and I preferred Jill Ker Conway's first memoir, the one about her childhood when she still lived in Australia to True North.

    Take care now and keep writing, whatever else you can or can't do. Keep your mind ticking over. You'll get better soon, I'm sure. You sound as though you are a fighter.

  2. Was Sachs looking for fungi or magic mushrooms? It sounds like of the 'trips' my friends and I made back in the early to mid 90s in Cuba, travelling just outside Havana to find out if there were any magic mushrooms in the countryside, near the northern coast (there weren't any, as far as I'm concerned and they were all playing up about getting high)

    I do wish you better, healthwise.

    Greetings from London.

  3. "Listen to your body," was the best advice I ever heard from a physical medicine specialist.

    I'm trusting that little by little you'll get your strength back, dear Melissa.

  4. Dear Melissa,
    Your curious nature is inspiring.
    Hope you're back to walking soon.

  5. I'm with Mim. I have NEVER had any good come of listening to a physical therapist. The last one I saw told me I was holding my violin wrong. Really? From a non-violinist? After I've been playing for more than 50 years???

    The body knows. Yoga is good too. Yoga is good to the body.


  6. Thank you, thank you....
    I'm glad that I miswrote what Sachs as looking for --- ferns! A group from New York that meets monthly to talk about and look for ferns and took this group trip to Mexico to collect and search, to photographs. If I hadn't made that mistake, The Cuban wouldn't have told us about the magic mushroom hunt..
    honestly, holding the violin wrong?
    thanks, thanks!!!

  7. I loved Surely, you're joking Mr Feynman, or was it you must be joking Mr Feynman. Among other things it was an indictment on a school system that has continued to turn to fluff over substance.

    anyway - glad you enjoyed it - although I'm not sure I'm ready to accuse him of moral clarity!

    Look after yourself, and if you're eating poison. Stop. Casein and gluten intolerance are real. When I was researching my own illness (BSc hons) I was absolutely horrified about how the medical profession has misused the scientific information.