Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Life - Not Training

My self-medication didn't work out too well. My back spasmed slightly later that night, and the next morning as well. My legs went limp each time, and along with the missus's worried glances, I booked an appointment with my doctor the next day. The fact that he saw me only an hour or two after I called meant that this back thing was kind of serious.

Mind you, things could be worse. I like my doctor. He's enthusiastic, friendly, and knows his stuff. In a lot of ways he reminds me of the doctor that operated on my late mom, one that I hold in high esteem. Not only does he seem to bleed medical knowledge, he's also open about how things work in the insurance world, an important factor in this country. He always keeps in mind the insurance company's ability and willingness to pay for things (as well as mine).

As expected, he eagerly listened to my back spasm stories, a smile on his face, nodding enthusiastically, asking some pointed questions (which, among other things, made me realize my legs collapsed when my back spasmed), and plotted out a plan to check things out.

"There are two things we can do. One is to do nothing. The other is to do some tests. Since you had bilateral somethings (I don't remember what the word was but it meant both my legs went limp when my back spasmed), and it occurred multiple times, we can call it a recurring bilateral something. And then we can get you an MRI, which is what we need to do to check your back."

And it was so. I am awaiting my turn to experience the tunnel known as the MRI thing. I went through a pretty thorough questioning process mainly regarding whether or not I have any metal in my body. I realized that MRIs are those really powerful magnetic things that suck in oxygen tank, screws, and whatever miscellaneous ferrous things happen to be in the area, and one thing you don't want is to have such a machine suck a ferrous thing out of your body.

For the life of me I can't remember if I have some fragment of a brake cable stuck in some weird forgotten part of my body, like in my heel or something. I guess I'll find out at 1 PM Thursday. If some small bit of steel goes ripping through my body... well, I just hope it doesn't.

As a bonus I used this back thing as an opportunity to start drinking heavily. I'd like to lift, but I can't, so I tried to do something for my sanity. I had two drinks on Sunday (a bottle each of lager and cider, mixed together) and one drink on Monday (about 1/4 cup of white wine, courtesy a Bethel racer - yes, Brian, we finally cracked open the bottle from this year!). I think I even had another 1/4 cup of white wine on Tuesday.

No, today is Tuesday, and I only had coffee.

Anyway, all this heavy drinking is part of my secret training plan. A few guys have told me how they lost 15 pounds when they stopped drinking. I figure if I try and drink a bit, then I'll lose 15 pounds when I stop. Hopefully at the end of this week I'll be 15 pounds lighter.

Isn't that how it works?

Maybe not. As the missus pointed out to my pretend dismay, they probably drank a little more than, say, three drinks before quitting. Hey, maybe the three drinks are worth a quarter pound. Who knows? Whatever, I have a new goal - drink the rest of the bottle of wine before it turns into vinegar.

And lift a bit.

In the meantime, I've converted some of the folks at the hardware store to cat loving folks. Not that they didn't like cats before, but they're so inured to the idea of small mammals being pests (mice, rats, chipmunks, squirrels) that cats are just one step above that. Nevertheless they showed a bit of progress. I saw that they'd put up pictures of Hal, Riley, and Mike, letting everyone know that they're up for adoption, and that they are "adorable". In addition one of the owners happily reported that her (grown) daughter fed Grey (and whoever else) on Sunday, and that she herself fed them on Monday. I fed them on Tuesday and managed to requisition a few bags of cat food about to expire in a couple weeks. Due to be tossed anyway, they'll feed the cats for a month or more.

Finally, with the temperature overnight expected to be about 20 degrees F, I left a cat bed, an upside down box with an opening, and moved some stuff around so that the crawlspace would be a bit more pleasant. I was getting pretty anxious as the temperature dropped but when I went crawling under the building, I found the area surprisingly warm. So my heart lightened up and I set up what I hope will be a nice area for Grey and the two other cats (which still need to be caught, fixed, and released).

I've also been spending some quality time with their kittens, the ones at our house. Last night my back really bothered me, driving me out of bed at some inhuman hour. I felt most comfortable on the floor on my hands and knees with a blanket over my back. After sitting like that on the living room floor for a bit, I realized I could have some friendly company if I moved upstairs. I gingerly made my way up to the kittens' room and got back down on my hands and knees.

Bella, Hal, and Riley zipped under this new, heated, interactive shelter. Mike, usually aloof, decided to hang out on the blanket's fringes.

And for the next hour plus I watched as one kitten after another sprawled out in the warm blanket, purring (even Riley, who rarely purrs, purred up a storm), stretching, kneading, yawning, rolling, and generally acting like happy, content kittens.

They fell asleep finally, all but Hal, he being the most active of them anyway. My back felt better, probably simply because it felt good to have all these adorable cute felines curled up next to and on top of me, but I finally had to get back to bed.

I let Hal down gently - he was busy running around on my back - and lifted my body from over Riley and Bella, both females looking up sleepily as the roof suddenly lifted from their world. I left them the blanket, covering up all but their heads, and they sleepily accepted this substitute, at least at that moment. Mike barely batted an eye, dozing on his paws only a foot away.

I made my way downstairs and crawled back into bed, my back protested every bit of the way. The missus murmured something indecipherable and I murmured something equally indecipherable back. Content, she went back to sleep.

My back ached but I felt tiredly happy and content. I closed my eyes and waited for nothingness to wash over me. Yeah, I need to train a bit. I need to lift, to get fit, to feel taut again. But for the moment, right now, this was fine.


Mike said...

So if women weaken the legs, cats must weaken the back.

Hope it's only a temporary thing, good luck with the metal too.

Anonymous said...

Hope everything goes well!


Anonymous said...

Cute story (cats, not back). Hope your MRI goes well. I just had my first one and it wasn't all that bad.

Brian said...

Hey Aki, glad you finally got a chance to enjoy the wine! Ironically, I too yanked out my back this morning at the gym (didn't stretch the hamstrings before squats); so I may need to crack a bottle open as well!

Good luck on the MRI. I'm sure things will come out well.

- Brian