Friday, February 19, 2021

50 Days Of Annoyance

This is an update, but not the usual one.  There are effects of injuries that aren't strictly sore muscles and healing ribs...

I've spent more time in bed these past 50 days than the previous 2 months.  Usually, about 10-13 hours per night.  While I may be healing and can get around better now, my body still reminds me that I'm not going on long walks for a while yet, and I may never golf or bowl again.  Not that I've done either for several years, but it is probably not an option anymore.  

I have to be careful lifting heavy pans.  I can feel it when I lift a full mug of tea above my shoulder (I have a M/W on a raised shelf and may change that).   Lifting Marley feels like lifting an anvil (he's 18 lbs now).   I still have to be careful on stairs.  

The right clavicle will never be the same.  The orthopedic surgeon was being optimistic when she said that unless I was a pro athlete I didn't need surgery as "I could do about anything else normally".  So, this is a bit awkward and I don't WANT to sound sexist or questioning her judgement (though I am), but I don't think she understands how much stress men (and some women) put on their bodies in some hobbies.

BEFORE I fell, I did a lot of things that pulled on most muscles and left me sore a few days.  Partly (for me) it is living alone and HAVING to do everything myself.  Partly, it is WANTING to (otherwise, why do it?).  I can hire people to do hard work, but I don't want to.  

Unless the shoulder improves dramatically in the next few months, there are a lot of things I used to do that I can't anymore.  I won't be digging up and chopping out invading tree roots entering my garden beds. I won't shoveling out a trailer full of mulch to add to the garden soil to keep it enriched.  I won't be climbing the ladder to cut off droopy tree branches.

There are some psychological effects of reduced mobility.  Some of you understand that personally.  This is MY first experience with it.  I sit a lot when awake and I mentioned staying in bed many hours.  When awake, it is just easier to sit.  Oh, I move around regularly (cook dinner, do laundry, water plants, clean litterboxes, take trash and recycling bins to the street, etc.  

But I sit more because I'm depressed.  I don't (think) I mean clinically, I just can't do much these days and it is frustrating.  I actively want to, I just can't.  Carrying around a stepladder on ice is just too much for now.  

And I probably lay in bed more hours because "why get up"?  The waterbed is warm, soft, and comfortable.  And The Mews collect around me much of the time.  It is easy to just lay there in relative comfort.  It's more comfortable than sitting in the easy chair, and sitting in the easy chair is still more comfortable than walking around.  

As I said, I still "feel it" when I walk.  There is a difference between "can walk" and "comfortable walking".  One day, I will just notice I am walking again normally.   Or not.  There are just somethings you have to wait to find out about.  And some things I can do well enough and some things that make me hesitate...

For example, I looked at the birdfeeders today.  I have gone out in serious snowstorms to refill them in the past.  I got myself up to fill the thistle feeders yesterday.  Well, they are reachable from the ground.  But I looked at the 8' high black oil sunflower seed feeder and hanging suet cages.   

I sighed at having to carry the stepladder to the feeder (it feels heavy these days) but went into the basement to fill the tub with seeds and open 2 containers of suet.  No suet left...  I went upstairs and added suet to my shopping list.  The cardinals will have to find seeds at neighboring yards tomorrow.  I feel very guilty.  

Before I fell, I had a flock of 6 male cardinals and some number of females (they are harder to see).  I wasn't able to refill the feeder for a month+ afterwards. I refilled it once and was empty in a week.  Most have moved on.  Or maybe died (that's the "guilt" part).  I hope they are finding another neighbor who feeds them.  

They can probably find some seeds, but suet is high-density calories and they need that in Winter.  When the sleet stops tomorrow, I will put a pan of seeds on the deck rail.  They'll find it; I've done that before.  And go shopping...  But I bet suet is hard to find now.  

On the other paw, that means people are putting suet out for the birds and that is a comfort to me.  As long as they get it through these days when I can't provide it well, they will survive.

It was about time that I started to feel age creeping up on me.  I am glad it took a while, I am grateful for all those years.  But just as our pets have to go over The Bridge sometime, I am feeling "aging".  

Aside from the effects of the fall, I already had a "trick" right knee. It will just suddenly weaken randomly. I have some routine muscle cramps in the calves and thighs in bed, and rib cramps while awake the past few years.  More annoying then anything, but painful.

I have the occasional "finger-clench" finger thing that probably is a sign of oncoming Parkinson's.  It used to happen only when I did hard-gripping of heavy tools.  Now it surprises me when I haven't done much work.  My Mother had the "clench" and lead to Parkinson's, and it seems to be genetic.  So that seems to be in my future.

I'm grateful for all the many years without any problems, but age does catch up to you eventually.  This fall from the ladder is probably not going to help anything, LOL!  Hey, all you can do is take what life hands you...

Well, I better end this for today...


Meezer's Mews & Terrieristical Woofs said...

Oh, yes, I feel for you Mark. It is very hard to go from very active to dependent on others, and to slowly...very slowly, regain some sort of independence...but at a different level.
You face it squarely and bravely.

I had that thing with two of my fingers, it happened and sometimes still does...from similar activities as you describe. Using knives and tools esp those tools one used in heavy garden chores...its 'trigger Finger' and its from an inflamed/trapped tendon, a sign of an arthritic condition, not surprising in older adults such as us. I had surgery to correct the trouble, and 'release the entrapment. Now I hardly notice this anymore, except for using a lot of cutting tools in the yard. Or cutting hard things in the kitchen. (I have to shake the tools out of my hands, and then massage the finger/palm until it relaxes.)

I hope your bird friends will forgive you, and yes, it is more than likely that others are also feeding them.

I had several bluebirds of all things frequenting my feeders these past few frigid days. And oodles of others. I will try to show them in my next post, this weekend coming.

Take care! I know you are:)

Megan said...

Yep - it's a challenging: an emotional/psychological one just as much as a physical one. Keep pushing forward, noticing your improvements. See expert help on specific exercises you might be able to do to strengthen yourself. (What have you got to lose?)

Sydney, Australia

Brian said...

Just keep moving and eventually all will at least seem somewhat normal.

pilch92 said...

I can understand your being frustrated because you were so active before. Plus I know you don't like to have to ask for help, but sometimes we need to as you learned. I am sure your neighbors would fill those feeders and get you some suet if you asked- and would be glad to help.

catladymac said...

I have "trigger finger" too. I've had it for years now and no other symptoms so you may (hopefully) be wrong about the Parkinson's link.
Maybe find a lower setting for the bird feeders. I am finally down to two, but that was mainly because I was feeding the raccoons. With no more dogs to walk up back to feed I tried to limit the bird feeders to every other day, but the weather is too dire right now. Winter wrens were snacking on some cat food chips, but the cats were somewhere warm and weren't interested in snacking on the wrens. I used to shlep 50 lb bags of dog food. Now I have trouble with 20 lb bags of bird seed and jugs of litter, and am thankful for 15 lb bags of Cat Chow.
I think your assessment of your depression is probably valid. I have been treated for it for years and my doctor reminds me that there are times when being depressed is an understandable reaction - I lost 4 cats in the last year - they were all the same ages, 10+, so I take even more comfort from my remaining cats.
You are still healing, don't sell yourself short on that. Friends of mine in nursing have long told me there is no such thing as "minor" surgery because if the effects on all the body's systems.. You haven't had surgery but you have had the traumatic equivalent.
But it's probably a good idea to stay off ladders.

suzanprincess said...

I've learned in my now later years that patience is a good thing, and practice really does help learn it! I've also learned that the body heals quickly at first, but it can take months or years to get back to "normal." Parts of me are still getting better even three years after an accident; other parts will never be the same, but I've learned to adjust to the difference. As for depression, whether clinical or situational (I have the former all the time, the latter sometimes), for me medication has been my saving grace, and I can adjust it as needed. Depression of either type is pretty common among older folks, many of whom never receive help for it; I'm so glad I discovered the benefits decades ago. You seem to be so sensible about restricting your activities as needed in order to heal better and to not reinjure--keep up the good work, even if that means luxuriating more in the comfort of warm waterbed and furry comfortors than you've been used to. Wishing you well, ThreeCatMom (who's also now feeding outdoor ferals and neighbors' cats, plus skunks, opossums, raccoons that I wish I could be shed of and a lone year-round hummingbird)

Lola The Rescued Cat said...

Losing mobility can be very frustrating. Please take it easy, and take care of yourself. Take comfort in your kitties.

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