Monthly Archives: November 2014

cheerfulness, for god’s sake

Okay, so I got depressed, so to speak. Not quite over the cusp of a truly clinical episode. But troublesome enough. The short lived termite swarm in May and June (which turned out to be harmless, but who knew at the time?) was punch number one. Punch number two was my first extended experience of June and July’s unrelenting heat and humidity. I needed and took a terrific vacation break by going back to Rochester, the old house on Woodbine, the two younger kids living there, the community of friends at St Stephens. Six weeks. I never appreciated how lovely the weather is in western new york in August and early September.

The time was well spent, including a couple of wonderful family and friend re-unions, a chance to play piano in the Craig Mullen ensemble and to play a gig with brother Tim in a neighborhood porch music event.

Little did I know that my enthusiasm to trim back the overgrown Rose of Sharon bushes in the yard of the Rochester house would lead to a hidden undoing once I had returned south. Add into that a wonderful but perhaps costly bike ride September 7th along the Erie Canal that ended when I felt a “pop” in my right knee. “Not good” I said to myself (spoiler alert, there will be no senior complaints about bowel problems) though there was no pain for many days subsequently which made me nearly forget the whole episode.

I had a fun three day drive back south, saw the Big Muskie in eastern Ohio, and was happy to use the car to load up lots of books among other things in the continuing settling-in at the Southern estate.

Three days after my return, just as I started to mow the overgrown lawn, I was mowed under by a great deal of unrelenting pain in my right leg. Two ER visits in the next four days (the local hospital in town and the “big hospital” in Gulfport) indicated a diagnosis of radiculopathy, which I heard as ridiculopathy, being completely foreign, lucky me, to the fact of needing to be dependent on others, having to use a cane, slowly, obviously.

It is now about two months after those early fateful days of being a sudden consumer of health services. Thanks to a terrific team of providers, especially in Physical Therapy, I have been cane free the past week at last, with a number of other slowly improving changes showing up.

Didn’t see this coming. I just re-read the first comments in this blog about hitting the ground running, ground running in its own direction. But enough about me. My world view may be more understanding of all those folks I see hobbling along, walking with enduringly odd gaits, swings of the leg and lower torso. I’m more aware of the small moments of movement. Stop, stand up straight, stay balanced, do the exercises, new goal for the day: keep up the work on loosening the ham strings.

So here is a related aside. In a conversation with a physician in Rochester who used to work in the south, I asked what he had observed about working with patients in the south vs the north, and after a short pause he said, in effect, “patients in the south don’t whine as much, don’t feel so entitled.” I have to be careful about making sweeping generalizations, but I must say I am enamored of my fellow PT patients and their sense of optimism, endurance, cheerfulness for god’s sake, and, being here, for God’s sake.