I can’t say it was completely purposeless. I did need to buy a few groceries. But I didn’t have to walk. And I took the slightly longer, scenic route. No phone call, no smartphone welded to my hand, no podcast in my ears. I love podcasts. I’m a Gimlet member. But I’ve lately realised they have become my TV. I was listening to podcasts from rising to falling asleep (literally), pausing only to read, write, work, or interact with other human beings.
Again, I lost my downtime. Looping through Facebook, Twitter, and Slack notifications is another indicator. I have preoccupations these days. Quintus is nearly blind. Tounsi seems to be epileptic. Trying to regain proper use of my lower back and hip, which have been limiting for most of this year. Earning a living and ensuring I can stop working someday. Catching a nasty cold – of course, with all this going on.
After this walk, I am happy to announce that my back is better than it has ever been since March. My lower back has ceased being a wall of bricks. It actually moves. That means I can walk without pain and without fear. It’s not perfect yet, there is still work, and my hip still hurts.
How did I get there? I suspect skiing blocked my back quite a bit for starters, and then I had a judo accident in which I fell very hard on my knee, hip joint bent 90 degrees. I thought I had squashed the head of my femur. For the first 36 hours I could climb up a step with my bad leg. I was on crutches. It took me five minutes to extract myself from the car – passenger seat, it was too dangerous to drive as I wouldn’t have been able to do an emergency brake. On the second morning, I woke up and I could walk up the steps again.
But that wasn’t the end of the story. Two months, one chiropractor (never again) and two osteopaths later, we figured out I had suffered a pelvis upslip. I had no clue until then that stuff moved in the pelvis. There, picture half of the pelvis slipping up into the wrong place and staying there. For two months. More osteo. More waiting. More osteo, who sent me back to my doctor. And now, physio. I am amazed. After just a few weeks I feel like I’ve been given my back again. Oh, it takes work. Daily exercises. Painful massages. We even played around with needles last time. But it’s working. I cannot express how happy and relieved I am. Being able to move is so important to me.
I am also thankful for the wonderful healthcare system we have here in Switzerland. For the fact I have doctors and other healthcare professionals who have had me as a patient for nearing 20 years, and who approach medicine as a partnership. Who listen.
I was listening to Fresh Air yesterday, on the prescription drug epidemic that is plaguing the US. I had already seen this BBC video on the path to heroin through prescription drugs. And I wonder. If I had been living in the USA instead of here, would I have been one of the so many people prescribed opioids for lower back pain? It makes me shudder to think of it.
So, I went for a walk. I didn’t have to stop and sit because my back was hurting. I didn’t have to take my steps gingerly over the roots in the forest for fear my back would suddenly yell at me. And now, an hour later, I am not being punished for my temerity.
Tomorrow I will go skiing.