Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Bleak winter cold and a tragedy in Scotland

This winter just goes on and on. Walking on the Heath today, the icy north-eastern wind permeated my fleece-lined jacket and even though I was wearing hat, gloves, cashmere scarf and fur-lined boots, it was as if I had been dumped down on the Russian steppe. There were still rivers of ice along the paths. Yesterday it was such a gift to see the sun, even though it was bitterly cold for most of the day. Today it's grey again and the sparse spring flowering bulbs are attempting to show their faces above the tundra. There's a number of violet crocuses that can be seen, alternating with the green shoots of daffodils but the sky is leaden and it almost looks like snow again. Tomorrow we are off to sunny climes where it's predicted to be 36C on Thursday and 'Beth' is sweltering in shorts and t-shirt. Who's to complain about that!

A terrible story in the news today. An asylum seeker, obviously seriously mentally ill, imposed his will on his young wife and their 21 year-old stepson, and the three of them jumped from the top of a council block in Scotland. How awful. It was reported that this man was 'fine 90% of the time but off-the-wall the other 10'. I would have to think that it was the other way around. Or maybe not. Maybe you just have to be of unsound mind for that finite 10% in order to jump from a skyscraper. Or any building. But his family? Were they mad too? Could he have been so persuasive that the other two, in desperation for his sanity, decided to end their lives in this fashion?

While walking the dog yesterday (now that I can as my back is about 85% better), I bumped into one of my fellow volunteers from the local hospital. 'I read your book!' she told me. 'It was amazing...' (that's nice of her). She's going to recommend it to a friend whose daughter is also Bipolar, 'although not as bad as your son is...' My son is good at the moment. When he was around yesterday he told me that he now wants to return to university and take a degree that is challenging and worthwhile. 'I've done the teaching course and found that I could handle it and much more...' he told me. 'And I'm taking the meds properly.' Wow. Progress.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Back Pain - In the mind?

Apologies. I've been injured. That is my back - or it could be my hip/leg - has an injury. Is it an age thingy? I stepped out of my car to put my foot on the pavement last Monday week and, weeeeze, ping, went my back! I managed to get a quick appointment with the physio who thought it was something to do with my 'hinges' and treated it as that. Over a week later and it was worse. Oh, well, thought the physio, it could be a prolapsed disc. Not sure really. See a sawbones. Get an injection. Think of surgery. Ah, well, no, I thought. I'll get a scan and that's it. So I saw Mr. Magic yesterday. The fabulous D. who's managed to put me back together before now. Why I didn't think of him last week is beyond my comprehension. Let's say it was the pain.

So deep tissue manipulation, as well as using his x-ray eyes to understand my skeletal frame and the way that I stood and how I was experiencing these vast amounts of pain, he told me he thought that I had dislodged my leg from my hip. After an hour of maneouvering me this way and that, I could stand up and the pain had, the on-going intense pain, gone! Oh, boy.

You see, my body had gone into protection overdrive and I had seized up with the fear of pain. So that's why those scientists had written that backpain is in the mind! Now I can, to some extent, understand where they are coming from. The more your muscles protect the injury and the more you fear the pain and the tensing and anxiety that stops you from breathing properly, the more it hurts.

Well, I'm going to go along to the surgeon this afternoon and I'll go through my real and regular back problems but I'll tell him that I'll opt for rehab chez Mr. D. and forgo any thought of intramuscular steroidal injections or back surgery - for the time being, that is. Who knows what the future brings?

And Zach is still good. He finished the course. Passed everything with flying colours. Is now a fully-fledged teacher of English as a foreign language. All he needs to do is to find a job. Yup, that's all.