Saturday, May 13, 2006

It's the darnedest thing ...

Most of the intense pain that I was having over the last few weeks has subsided, at least for now, but I'm having much more trouble walking and moving. How weird is that? I'm not sure how or why this should be so; it could be the Neurontin that I am taking for sleep has kicked in as its off label use against chronic pain. It could also be that the pain has just decided to go away for a while, except to make cameo appearances when I move or try to stand or cough or breathe. Either way, I'm happy to have a break from the more intense pain, happy to give my poor beleaguered liver a respite from the constant onslaught of chemicals in the form of Tramodol and Tylenol.

Here's something else, it is getting harder and harder for me to hold myself even semi-upright without something to lean on. It takes all my energy to do so when walking, and then I have to stop every few steps to breathe, and usually have to keep my hands gripping my thighs to keep from crumpling in half.

As you know, I recently got a cane. Once I got over the shame of using it, I found it helps me to get around a bit better; I can actually walk over to the gym and use the recumbent stationary bike that Dr. Balderston recommended, though I must be a sight to behold: it takes me a full twenty minutes to walk from our apartment door just shy of 10th Avenue on 24th Street to the NYSC at 8th Avenue and 24th. I take a few steps, then stop and lean on the cane with both hands, panting. I can't even think about how long it is going to take me to get there and the possibility of painful spasms if I step wrong on the way, or I'd never go; I numbly put on socks, gym pants, sneakers, t-shirt, and go.

Then there's the maneuvering I have to do to actually get on to the bike once I'm there. This action, along with any other movement, like going from a standing to a sitting position or vice versa, makes me look, I'm sure, like one of the heroin addicts you see in the park or on the subway, all their concentration devoted to making one small movement, like lifting a hand to scratch a nose, performed in the most careful and deliberate slow motion.

I've been forced to decelerate everything. If I am twenty feet from the corner and see the light is about to change, I can't run to catch it; I must be satisfied to get to the corner, and, resting on my cane, watch the cars and trucks go whizzing by as I wait for the light so I can shuffle across the street, hopefully making it to the other side before it changes again. I stopped to rest yesterday by the park on 24th, just behind the Clearview cinema and was able to see a robin yank a worm, still wriggling, from the ground. A few paces down I watched as two squirrels chased each other, oblivious to me, around and around a tree trunk and then off into the bushes.

I've never been an especially patient person, in fact I'm pretty much very IMpatient most of the time. Now it takes me twenty minutes to walk a distance that used to take six, but somehow I'm ok with that. I'm more tolerant. It's the darnedest thing.


Anonymous George said...

Damn. I feel like you are a war correspondent, or a polar explorer, but for a different planet, sending a scratchy, static-y report I catch on my shortwave in the middle of the night. It is so hard to imagine so different EVRYTHING is... But, easier since you send the report. Thank you!

(PS- I just finished Ernest Shackleton's "South" - his account of the 1915 failed attempt to cross Antarctica. ANd, i am ALWAYS thinking about war. Heh. Eye of the beholder.)

2:04 PM  

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