Friday, July 4, 2008

Round Four

I would make a terrible boxer. Not that I've ever really tried, but if I were thrown into a ring and couldn't get a tko in the first round I'd find it pointless to continue. It isn't that I run low on patience from time to time, it's that I simply never had any.

Tuesday I began my fourth round of steroids for a back problem I've been battling for awhile now. I say awhile now, because frankly, I didn't know there was a back problem until it got the best of me. Snuck right up on me. Had a little back stiffness a year ago after being sick in bed for awhile. Had a little more back stiffness in February after driving home from Boise. Then around Easter I started experiencing numbness in my left foot. By numbness I mean complete lack of feeling in my entire foot and up the outer portion of my leg toward my knee. The funny thing is, okay not at all funny just bizarre, that I didn't even realize there was a problem until the first week of May when pain in my upper left hamstring started bothering me. I just thought maybe I'd pulled a muscle while riding my bicycle.

The fact that this is round four speaks volumes to my general state of mind. I'm grouchy, continuously frustrated by the pain, finding the limited range of motion discouraging, and this isn't what I planned for my summer.

Next week will be my ninth week of physical therapy. I'll finish the latest round of steroids at the start of the eleventh week of p.t. I do these exercises every day, some of them three or four times a day. Stupid exercises, some of which make me feel like a complete idiot. I went from being most comfortable standing, leaning, or laying down, to not being able to lay in my bed without feeling like I'd been stuck in a trash compactor. I can't sit in a car for more than a trip across Pocatello (which takes ten minutes on a high-traffic day). Sitting on a stool is out of the question. I sit on a ridiculous looking yoga-type ball at my desk at work. And I waddle.

This summer I was supposed to go on a last-hurrah type road trip to northern Idaho with my kid brother. One last summer adventure before I leave Pocatello for graduate school. Had to cancel. This summer I was going to wrap up the Stallings Collection. Because I can neither sit at my desk for very long or concentrate on anything but the pain, I'm making little headway there. I have to retake the GRE to boost my pathetic math score, but I can't schedule that until I know for certain I can sit at a computer (and still) for three hours straight. I was hoping to get at least three research trips to Boise in this summer and my grandma's 100th birthday party in Ogden is around the bend. Both seem to be out of the question.

I think I've been relatively easy-going about this entire back ordeal and rightly so when there are so many more serious health problems that I don't have to deal with and am thankful for, but something about starting this latest round of steroids has pushed me right over the edge. I like having a plan. I like knowing that a+b will always equal c. I've never been a fan of that line in the Lennon song, "life is what happens to you while your busy making other plans." I simply wanted eight weeks of physical therapy, one, maybe two rounds of steroids, and these silly little exercises to fix the problem. End of story. Surely I have every right to complain and be frustrated.

However, I'm not giving up. I'll march over to p.t. again on Tuesday. I'll take the Prednisone in the morning, every morning, until my tapered dosage chart says otherwise. And I'll pull the cushions off the couch, lay them on the floor, and hope something about that combination gives me the firmness I need because there is no way in hell I'm letting this go to round five.

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