Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Jacksonville Beach

Five weeks ago I woke up with a very bad back. Sciatica down both legs, right leg enervated and weak. I went to my primary care doctor and got an x-ray and an MRI. I have spondilolithesis and spinal stenosis. The first is a slipped/rupture disk and the second is a narrowing, due to arthritis (read wear and tear due to age), of the vertebrae. Both of these put pressure on various nerves in the lower back. In extreme cases there is an operation that removes the disk and injects bone to fuse the two vertebrae. I did not want that. I went out from that diagnosis determined to walk and went to Jacksonville Beach. As I walked I heard a slapping sound. It was my right foot coming down with no control, a condition called foot drop, caused by impinged nerves. Yuck. I tried to take a lot of pictures but was thinking more of my condition. And yet, this came out of the walk. I like it and cannot explain why.

As a follow-up, I got a massage and, as I got off the table, wrenched my back, causing more pain in the left leg. I was discouraged. By the time I got home the pain had equalized on both sides and seemed better. By the next morning most of the sciatica was gone but the foot drop remained. As a week passed, the sciatica disappeared and the foot drop left. I was referred to a Physical Therapist in Jacksonville Beach and he has given me a regimen of exercises and poses to build my core muscles around the back. With fingers crossed I can report that the pain is reduced to a small area near my left hip and my core is already stronger after 3 weeks. I have learned where to be careful with lifting etc. We spent last week in Millbrae, CA, seeing my sister-in-law and brother-in law, who will be moving to Florida soon, I hope, and, even with terrible plane seats on the way out (very old plane), my back behaved. Yay!

Now that the organ recital is over I will tell about this picture. It was taken with the Sony a6000 that I bought at huge discount when the a6300 replaced it. It has the same sensor as the newer camera, a 24mp aps-c one that has gotten rave reviews since it came out. I got bargain priced Sigma lenses for it and have a nice kit. The Sigmas with this sensor return very clear files. Clear, in this case, is my own private definition, but means that they look like what I saw with no additions or enhancements. The camera is small and the lenses are in scale, as opposed to a lot of aps-c lenses that look like beer cans pasted on the front of the body. The camera is not an easy fit for my hand and shooting method and it will not allow me to shoot square (1:1) which I prefer but the files are truly lovely. It explains why Nikon uses the same sensor on some of their aps-c cameras.

Man, am I long winded. That's enough for now.


Martina said...

This foot drop thing sounds scary.
I like the photo, too. It's interesting. It's a story.
I am sooooooooooooooo glad you are okay and fine and everything now.

Carl Weese said...

I like the picture too. Glad to hear you're improving. I have a couple "compromised" discs and sciatic nerve vulnerability. Luckily, exercise seems to be the key to keeping it under control. Simple strengthening exercises and as much walking as possible.

The foot drop thing sounds nasty. I haven't hit that. However, when I had a procedure to correct arrhythmia five years ago, lying flat on my back for hours kicked in the sciatica so much that my left leg was completely numb and effectively paralyzed—no motor control—for about eight hours after I woke up. Then it just came back, like when your foot "goes to sleep," but raised to a higher power. No further incidents like that, so I hope your exercise program is successful too.

James Weekes said...

Thank you both. Foot drop was caused by a particular nerve being pinched and denying the muscle that holds your foot up when you stride a signal. When I got back into alignment it left in 5 days. I walk a lot and now even more. Sciatica gone. I am doing a large set of core exercises and go to physical therapy twice a week to learn even more. Hospital beds are the worst for people of other than normal size. As Martina will attest, I am larger than most and I know that you are taller than most. also, they want you on your back for some odd reason. That full leg numbness must have been unsettling at best. Anyway, all seems on the mend and I had a full morning in the gym today, spin class and all, no pain or stiffness. Yay. Just have to be careful in the garden, the tomatoes are about a week away from being ripe!

Carl Weese said...

Interesting. In retrospect, I know that my arrhythmia (first symptom fixed, but it can turn into whack-a-mole at any moment) began when I grew from 5'6" to 6'2" in just a few months when I was fifteen. (Going from an athletic little kid to an athletic tall kid, 120 pounds to 190 pounds, crashed my parents' food budget). Nearly killed me, put me in the hospital with fainting spells, and they at the time didn't come up with a good diagnosis. Moved up another two inches over the next few years, and then had the arrhythmia symptoms come back, right on schedule as I read the literature, when I reached about sixty. I suspect my sciatica goes back to the same ludicrous growth spurt.

The numbness was scary, not least because a bad result of the corrective ablation procedure can be, ahem, stroke.

If you have your core exercise instux in some sort of transmissible form like a pdf, I'd be curious to see.