Friday, March 12, 2010

I am 48 almost 49...

I am 48 almost 49…

When I get up from lying on the carpeted floor, I sense my weight and my lack of conditioning. I rise to one knee, I pause to balance, I shift my weight forward and exert both legs to lift my torso upward. The pain! Not too severe, jolts through my knee. I grunt to help with the effort, I waver slightly in my ascent, and again I was able to overcome the immense gravitation pull on my body.

Getting to the floor is easier, but I am not sure with less effort or potential damage to my knees. I stand erect and position myself in the approximation of where my torso will land; I slowly bend my knees which turn into buckling. They cautiously but forcefully hit the carpeted floor with a slight skid. I can feel the compression in my knees from the impact, then the thud of my torso hitting my target.

Shortly after comforting myself, the aching my right shoulder starts. It is not the type of aching which is annoying but can be ignored. It is more like a grind aching – maybe even pain, the type which cannot be ignored – kind of like the pain one feels with a toothache. If I leave my arm in this position the high pitched ache gets worse. Over the years I have learned how to lodge a pillow under my arm in such a way which brings down the screeching pain to a low monotone bass. Something I can withstand for a reasonable amount of time. My favorite way to watch TV, read a book, or write is on the floor on my stomach – well it used to be.

When my right should developed the ache, I attributed it to an accident I had while riding my bike. I crashed and the brunt of the fall was directly on my right shoulder. When I got up, I could not move my shoulder, it hurt and I knew it was badly hurt, but luckily at this point it was one of the low wave pains. Ironically, I was on my way to a Chiropractor appointment.

The Chiropractor made sure my arm was not dislocated and took a couple x-rays, which revealed I had a hairline fracture in my shoulder blade. Since the accident, I have been limited to how much I could use my right arm – I am right handed too. I could not throw baseballs or footballs for very long and exit swimming practice early before my arm would flair up It was a long time before my right shoulder felt close to normal, but it never recovered fully.

My shoulder was never examined by a MD. I never had a follow up appointment to make sure my shoulder healed correctly. I simply learned to live within the limitations I had developed.

Up until the last few years, I had attributed this chronic pain to my bicycle accident. But I noticed something about my body. I noticed if I slept on either side, the shoulder I slept on ached. I also noticed when I raised my hands and put them behind my head, my favorite TV watching position, both shoulders felt like they were glued in place.

Family history. Oh my goodness, my memory revealed to me. My mom – it’s her fault I say in jest, but apparently I did inherit some of her genetics, one being arthritis. I remember my mom having significant should issues throughout my childhood. In fact, she was told not to do anything physical which caused her to raise her arms above her head for any duration. Today, this is when my own shoulders seem to act up – interesting coincidence.

After years of believing my accident on my bike was the cause of my suffering, this new revelation has redirected my blame from the accident or lack of quality care to that of inheritance. The accident may have escalated the onset of arthritis, but it was not the catalyst.

We Jump years ahead into history. I am a dad of five children. Two of my children have been harmed by genes in part from me. In both cases, there were events in their lives which I believe escalated the early onset of their illness.

As I worked through my shoulder injury from seventh grade, the accident was not recognized as the initial cause, but it became a problem of my own and by some peoples my own inhibitor which I just needed the fortitude to work through.

This very same attitude is being attributed to my son and daughter. Those around look at them as the source of the problem and they put all the pressure on them to correct ‘their’ problem and just learn to be ‘normal’. Yet, they have no more control over these issues than I do with the ache in my shoulder. The can as I have, recognize their limitations and work around them, find ways to cope and improve, these won’t heal, they won’t go away, and every time I lie down on the floor, my shoulder will ache too.

I am 48 almost 49 and I often sit down at a table and a numbness creeps into my right arm, from the shoulder down. It hurts, like a low hum, you know it’s there but not bothersome enough to do something about. It’s kind of like the how your foot feels right before the pricking pin feeling kicks in. I operate just fine, but I have to admit there is a small nuisance which comes with it.

I get a pinched nerve in my ankle every once in a while. It is so severe I cannot walk, although sometimes I can walk if I do so on the side of my foot. And from time to time, when I lay down on the floor without shoes, my foot rolls over and puts pressure on the outside edge of the ball of my foot, this causes it to inflame. Last year, twice, something in the heal of my foot became inflamed and I could not tell you even with a wild guess how it happened. The doctor joked seriously maybe I should just stay on anti-inflammatory medicines!

And a couple years ago, I was running on my treadmill and a flash of heat went across my ‘good’ knee. Within a few days I could not move without sever pain to myself. I slept in a chair for several nights because it was the only position the pain would reduce to low enough to allow for periodic sleep. I went to the doctor, he had no idea. He sent me to a specialist, he had no idea, so he sent me to have a special x-ray taken of my knee. This all took several weeks. By the time I got back to the doctor to review the results of the x-ray, my knee had healed itself. The result, I had arthritis in my knee – or did.

So I am 48 almost 49 and getting up and down from the floor is strategic. I have a tail bone with a cracked or broken vertebrae, thanks to a dumb event at five years old, my right shoulder aches and goes numb, both shoulder grin with pain if I raise them above my head for a period of time. I get inflammations for what seems to be no apparent reason. My knees feel as though they will explode while squatting, I have to wear 1.5x reading glasses which sometimes make everything look better!

I am 48 almost 49, I am down to my last dollar and I am starting my life over. I still carry the wounds from the past, but just as I have always done, I will work around them and/or strengthen them, but they will not stop me from moving forward, this I write.

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