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Monday, March 28, 2016

Photography while lame, shameless theft of a Lee Friedlander idea.

 A couple of weeks ago I had a severe and sudden attack of sciatica. A lot of pain going down the back of both legs and a case of foot drop in my right foot. My primary care doctor sent me for x-rays and an MRI. I have spondilolithesis (or a slipped disk) and spinal stenosis in my lower back (arthritis in the L3-L4 vertebrae). I could only walk slowly and my foot flopped. It basically means that there is quite a bit of wear and tear on my lower back, combined with arthritis. The extreme treatment is to remove the disk and inject bone tissue to fill the gap, fusing the lower spine and leading to a long, painful recovery. Short of that, one tries to get the back more in line and work on the surrounding muscles (back and abdomen) to hold the disks apart. While deciding what to do, I spent a lot of time in the garden, just sitting, next to my Datura bush (also called Angel's Trumpets). As ever, I had a camera with me and started to photograph these stems every day. Lee Friedlander created a whole book of pictures of flower stems in a vase, taken while he was housebound, recovering from an ailment. As they say, steal from the best.
 To add to the spinal story, I was a little better, but still weak down my right leg and still with foot drop, when I went for a massage that my wife gave me for Christmas. It was a great massage and I was left to dress. Getting off the table, I wrenched my back, creating pain and stiffness on my left side. I limped out to my car and drove home. By the time I got home the pain had started to go down on both sides. The next morning, most of the sciatica was gone, and, a week later, the foot drop was gone. Now, three weeks later there is just residual pain in my lower back, no sciatica or foot drop and a pretty pain free life. I have initiated a series of stretches and exercises that aim to strengthen my lower back and core muscles and these are helping already. Tomorrow I go to a physical therapist who will assess me and, I am sure, give me a more comprehensive set of exercises. A brief scare but I got these pictures out of it.


Martina said...


*insert here all the unsolicited advice you can imagine coming from me*


Get better! Take care!

James Weekes said...

Really, I am much much better. I have always had some lower back pain in the morning and I am back to that level. Every now and then an ibuprofen, other than that I am just like when you last saw me:-)))

Martina said...