Are We There Yet?

Are We There Yet?
This is the sign that is over the front door of Aileen's and my house, our home, going OUT. Meaning that when someone leaves our house they are going into the ACTUAL Mental Ward.

I've always felt that way. When it is considered how much ugliness and killing and hatred there is in the world today, it actually makes perfect sense that this sign is over the door going out of the house.

Because that's where the real mental ward is.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Sprained Back

Waking up this morning I realized that I have somehow sprained my lower back.  Now I am trying to think back to the sequence of events and what I remember from yesterday is that when I was standing up doing my hammer curls with the 10 pound barbells, I did 75 curls.  And at one point I remember my lower spine.  Shifting slightly during one of the curls.  As I recall the sequence of events later that afternoon, all I had was some minor sensitivity.  But later in the evening when I was on the floor taking the back off of the air conditioner when I stood up the muscles of my lower spine would not allow me to hardly stand erect.  Originally when that happened I was attempting to trace my movements while I was on the floor and every movement I made around the air conditioner was exactly like I had always done, meaning that none of the movements was done in any way where it would have sprained my lower back or strained the muscles of my lower back.

Which means that earlier in the day when I was doing the hammer curls and I felt that slight shift in my lower spine that it was at that moment one.  I must have either pulled a muscle in my lower back which doesn't seem really likely.  Because what seems more likely is that I actually strained the muscles of my lower spine by doing those curls.

Now the hammer curl is a very peculiar movement.  Because you have the barbells in your hand and you put them against your upper leg with the inside part of your hand facing your leg.  Then as you lift the bar bill up from your leg.  You turn your hand so that the inner part of your hand holding the bar bill actually faces your upper chest.  This particular movement is supposed to achieve two things.  On the one hand, it's supposed to strengthen the outside of your upper arm while at the same time strengthening your lower spine.  But of course because my lower spine is actually fused to my hips, meaning the upper portion of my hips as a result of my spinal fusion to my upper spine.  In 1968.  The prevailing school of thought has always been that I should avoid undue stress to my lower spine.  Which is one of the reasons when I do push-ups.  I have always had my knees on the floor so that the majority of the stress of the push-up would be on my upper spine and my chest and my shoulders rather than my lower spine.

So as I think back to the movements I made yesterday.  It appears that when I was doing those hammer curls that I actually probably pulled a couple of the muscles of my lower spine.  Just right near the top of my hips.  Which is why when I was working on the air conditioner later that night, and I finished what I got to my knees and then stood up my lower spine had a problem with my standing erect.  Because when I will cut this morning.  The pain and distress is actually radiating down to the middle of my upper legs and to the bottom of my rib cage.  So of course I'm using my cane.  Which is no big deal.  But as I'm thinking this out.  It also could be a slight blockage in my large intestine, which over the years has typically caused this problem.  So under those terms.  Thinking back I had a hamburger patty and some fruit for dinner last night.  So it's possible that I've got a slight binding in my large intestines, which over the years has really been the culprit.  More times than not for lower back strain or stress.

Again, it's no big deal because generally speaking, this kind of strain usually only lasts for a couple of days.  So what I might do this morning for exercises which should be probably rather painful is that I will probably do between four or five toe touches and perhaps three or four diagonal knee lifts.  Foregoing the deep knee bends and of course, foregoing the push-ups.  And doing those two exercises should at the very least, loosen the muscles around my lower spine.  And if I of course, loosen those muscles then the outer muscles of my lower back will of course, loosen up.  And that should at least make standing erect a little easier.  But something in my body is telling me that there really is a slight blockage in my large intestines, which means perhaps how I cooked the hamburger patty last night, with it being perhaps a little overcooked my have contributed to the slight blockage.  Because that's what I'm feeling.

So I probably won't do the hammer curls, either.  Again, but that doesn't really make sense.  If I do them again in a few days.  I think instead of doing the traditional hammer curl I'm going to switch to doing the front raise curl instead because I think the movement of my arm from being inverted over my upper leg, then being inverted over the top of my chest may have been a slight strain on the muscles of my lower back and again.  That only makes partial sense because my body is telling me that it feels more like in my large intestines, which have always been a problem ever since the operation.  However, it's been several years since I've had any kind of lower back strain.  But again, it's no big deal.

I suppose if I had never experienced lower back strain, then I would probably be far more reactive than I am now.  But during the last 20 years Aileen and I went through this kind of strange to my lower back.  A number of times and more times than not it was actually due to my large intestines either having a blockage or having some kind of digestive issue.

More than anything, it's just a little surprising.  It just sort of caught me off guard.  I suppose for people that don't understand or have never experienced severe spinal pain like I live with most or if not all the time that the pain I'm having in my lower back would pretty much drive them up the wall.  Because I believe the pain level is probably close to about a 9.6 or 9.7.  But given the fact that my normal pain level in my spine is generally around and 8.2 up to 8.5 I generally don't really react very much to pain in my spine, even if it gets close to 10.0.  I don't know why that is.  It's pretty much just because I have had pain in my spine.  Ever since I was 17.  So after 45 years, you pretty much become numb to most of the pain.  Generally what I have pain that's really severe like this morning, my reaction is simply to shrug and then try and figure out how it came about, rather than to react.  My attitude most of the time is, so what.

And then I laugh.  But the reality is that I definitely feel from what my body is telling me that it's more of an intestinal issue.  Then one of pure muscle strain.  Because, as I am analyzing the different pains in my spine, right now the only other really significant pain is one going from my right collarbone up the back of the right portion of the back of the right side of my neck.  And that sort of makes sense.  And also you why.  With the nerve damage.  I have throughout my spine.  Generally, when my lower spine is having any kind of stress or strain.  Whereby there is pain the next place in my back or the back of my body where I end up having pain is usually from the insides of my collarbone going up the back of my neck.  Not because the muscles are associated because they are of course in different parts of the body.  But because I know the nerve damage I have in my spine and throughout my upper body officer my life.  Whenever I have had any kind of lower back strain.  The area that has always been affected has been those muscles running up the back of my neck that are connected to my collar bones.

So, as I am thinking about this right now.  All these factors together, plus how my lower abdomen feels really does suggest a slight blockage in my large intestines.  And I'm shaking my head.  And I'm laughing.  Because in what I ate yesterday there was nothing other than the hamburger patty and how it was slightly overcooked that would cause any kind of blockage in my large intestines.  But that's something about hamburger that most people don't realize.  One of the semi-bylaws that I've always lived by even before I met and fell in love with Aileen was that if something was hard to digest.  I didn't eat it.  And whether people realize it or not, steak or beef while it is a tremendously high protein and really fantastic solid food for the body actually takes basically longer to digest than almost any other type of food.  Which, as a hypoglycemic is actually not a bad thing because with it taking so long to digest that gives me a longer timeline of stability for my pancreas, meaning a longer timeline before my body begins to lose sure her or going to a low sugar condition.

But the key at least with my large intestines being twisted like they are from the operation has always been that if I do eat any kind of beef.  It needs to be rare, rather than well done because well done beef actually takes longer and is harder to digest than beef that is cooked rare.  Which most people probably don't realize.  And I only know that's true because I've lived with my large intestines being twisted since 1969 well since 1968.

So the remedy is that I'm having some coffee and that of course will facilitate to some degree a little bit of lower intestinal movement, which should actually free up the blockage.  Plus I had fruit with my hamburger patty last night and that also of course will promote more movement in the lower intestine.  Which is why am saying.  I don't think it's really a big deal because it doesn't feel like a muscle seizure of one kind or another.  It really feels more intestinal then spinal.

And as I'm taking an assessment.  There is a slight bit of radiating pain on the outside of my upper arms about three or 4 inches below my shoulders, but I think that is more as a result of how I'm getting up from sitting down because of the issues with my lower back.  The neck pain is definitely typical.  Because that's another thing that a lot of people don't realize.  The muscles that react almost initially as being the first muscles that will actually have issues when you are having any kind of tension or stress are actually the muscles of your neck on the back of your neck between your neck and your collarbones.  Those muscles specifically are almost unilaterally.  The first muscles that will react to any kind of tremendous or undue stress, whether it is emotional or physical.  And part of that is just because of how the nervous system's in your spine function.  Because of course your spine is the center of both of your nervous systems.  The autonomic and the central nervous system.  The central nervous system, of course, controls your body organs and the autonomic for the most part, controls your brain and your thinking and a few other functions.  And I'm not a doctor and I may have those two terms reversed.  But what I do know is that both of those nervous systems were completely severed when they did the operation whereby I was actually on a heart-lung machine for 13 hours when they were doing the operation.

But over the years, the one place in my body that has always reacted first.  Whenever I was experiencing any kind of stress whatsoever, whether it was emotional or physical has always been the muscles of the back of my neck between my collarbones and my neck those muscles going right up the back of your neck to your skull.  And what's really interesting is that over the years.  If I've had any really unbelievably significant pain one thing that the medical people have always done was to relieve the stress of those muscles that are on the back of my neck between my collarbones going up to the top of my head.  And when they would relieve the stress to those muscles, a lot of the pain throughout my upper spine and the midsection of my spine would actually decrease, which is why the only medication that has ever had and the effect on any of my spinal pain has been muscle relaxes.  But for obvious reasons, of course.  Nobody in their right mind in the medical community believes that it's a good idea to give me muscle relaxes on an ongoing basis.  Because if you do that your muscles basically retard.  And that's definitely not a good thing.

So as I'm thinking about it now.  It really does make more sense that it is a lower intestinal issue rather than a lower spinal issue.  So when I do those stretching exercises.  I probably won't do them until a little bit later today.  Because what I'm going to do is have my normal morning diet of cereal and milk, but I'm going to have a little bit more coffee, which will of course promote to some degree lower intestinal movement which actually should free up the blockage and then perhaps with it being 5:14 AM sometime around 11 AM or 12 noon.  I will do those stretching maneuvers because by that time I should actually have some lower intestinal movement where I can actually free up the blockage.

I'm really trying to describe this as delicately as possible.  And I'm sure for any of you who are paying attention, you know exactly what I'm talking about.  There was a medication years ago that actually treated this condition of intestinal blockage at the lower spine.  They were called Doan's pills.  And when I was a little boy watching those commercials.  I always found them very interesting because in the commercials they never talked about how the pills actually worked or what their function was.  But in the commercial, you would see two people talking about lower back pain, and one would say that they should try Doan's pills and it wasn't until I had my spinal fusion and 68 that I began to understand those commercials.

So in any event, that's how I woke up this morning.  And for those of you with any kind of spiritual sensitivity, you can well imagine that my darling Aileen is probably sniping at me right now, which is typical.  Because my darling Aileen was actually a really expert cook.  She was almost what might be considered a gourmet cook.  So as I'm writing this I can actually feel her in the background telling me to pay attention when I'm cooking.  Because the physical indications I'm getting are that it is absolutely a lower track or large intestinal issue.

And one thing about Aileen she could be very subtle and at other times she could be extremely direct.  And you can bet your ass right now she's being totally direct.  But that's how she is.  She was and still is always very concerned about my spine.  Oftentimes more than I am.  What I have done is to place a posture pillow in the chair where I'm sitting, so that it puts a certain amount of pressure on the muscles of my lower spine and by doing that, I'm actually able to take a clearer reading of where the pain is originating from.  That's just a kind of trick.  Because by relieving the surface pain of the muscles of my lower spine.  I can actually feel the muscles deeper inside my body where the pain is actually coming from which all lead right to my large intestines right in that area.

So course my response to Aileen is that of course I'm going to pay attention.  Nobody ever argued with Aileen.  Unless they checked their brains at the door.  Because nobody ever wins an argument with Aileen.  It just doesn't happen.  For one she's Scottish.  And for two her ancestral lineage is of the MacGregor clan.  Trust me.  I'd rather face three or four grizzly bears, then go up against anyone from the MacGregor clan.  Of all the people in the world, at least the Western world.  They are probably one of the toughest.  Which is a good thing.

But while the Irish may have fiery tempers.  It's an entirely different story with the MacGregor clan.  And those of you who are European will know exactly what I'm talking about.  They are some of the most loving people in the UK.  But they are also some of the toughest people in that area of the world.  Think of the movie Braveheart.  Whenever Aileen and I would watch that movie.  She would always laugh and say, my people.  To which I would say, sure.  Go ahead.  Rub it in.  And then we would both laugh.

But then see the other thing about Aileen is she's really remarkable, or at least she was when she was alive and she still is.  Because not only was she Scottish with her ancestral lineage going to the MacGregor clan.  But she was also one quarter Lakota Native American.  Meaning, one quarter Sioux Indian.  And if you want to talk about a volatile mix.  Trust me.  Like I said.  Nobody wins an argument with Aileen.  It just doesn't happen.  All she has to do is give you one look.  And you know that your best move is to get the hell out of the way.

So right now she's giving me these jabs.  And I know there are some of you who don't even believe that it's possible for someone on the other side of the veil to communicate with people who are still living, but if you think that about my wife.  You have no idea.  See, when we were married.  We didn't say till death do us part.  We said forever.  And that's something about Aileen.  Because when you say something like that.  She just doesn't take it seriously.  She takes at the heart.

So now that I've officially blown.  This conversation to hell.  I think I will probably make myself some cereal and attempt to deal with the blockage.  So I'm going to save this Journal entry so that I can continue this Journal entry.  In a few minutes to see if I'm right.  But like I said everything I am feeling generally points to what I have said above that it is more of a lower intestinal issue than it is a lower spinal issue.

So the time right now is 5:30 AM.  And I shall return.

The time is now 5:50 AM and you know it's really great when things turn out like you feel they are supposed to.  Because I was right.  It was an intestinal blockage.  The pain in my lower spine is virtually gone.  There's no radiating pain in my legs.  The pain at the back of my neck is gone.  There's no radiating pain in my upper arms.  And of course Aileen is off to the side saying, I told you so.  At which point I'm basically telling her to take a breath.  That was my way of always basically telling her to be quiet.  Because we never said shut up to each other.  If she wanted me to be quiet.  She would tell me to pull my lower lip over the top of my head and hold it there for three or four minutes.  If I wanted her to be quiet.  I would always say, take a breath.

But I was right.  Which means I can probably do my normal exercise routine but I probably won't do so for about three hours maybe four hours just to give the muscles a little time to settle down.

Now I've shared all this not because I am an egomaniac or anything like that.  I've shared this because back pain is probably one of the most common pains that people have in this world.  Back pain of one type or another.  And with my spinal fusion I have become fairly expert at diagnosing back pain.  Not because I'm some genius.  Although I am fairly smart.  But because I have lived with it all these years.  So in about 2 1/2 hours.  I will do my exercises and take a shower.

But as I was saying.  The reason I am sharing this is not because I'm egocentric, but because back pain is such a common issue to so many people that I believe that by sharing this.  I might actually be able to help others who are dealing with various types of back pain.

But I really have to say that certainly caught me by surprise.  I don't know why I didn't see that coming.  But historically speaking, I never really do see things like that before they actually happen.  Which is somewhat normal.  Because the way that the Dutch just of track works.  You generally are not aware of any issue you might be having until it actually gets to a certain point.  And of course at that time you either feel like you just got thrown out of a speeding car or you feel like you just don't want to move.  But I was right.  It was not muscle strain at all.  It was due to those wonderful large intestines of mine which have been giving me issues ever since they opened up my back in 1968.  If my doctor were still alive, I would definitely be on the phone to him having a rather interesting conversation.

I mean, when things like this would come up my first remark to him would generally be the same.  I would say to them, or ask him if it wasn't really true that he studied medicine on Devils Island.  At which point he would laugh.  But with all those things.  I've gone through with my spine that's one of the reasons I will never ever let anyone from the medical community do anything major to me ever again.  Not because I don't like them because I actually do.  But personally speaking, as far as I'm concerned, they had their chance.  And I'm never going to go through that kind of junk ever again in my entire life.  That year, 1968, was not only the most amazing time of my life, but it was actually the worst time of my life.  With the exception of course being taking care of my darling Aileen while she was dying and then having to watch her die.  Nothing will ever come close to that.  But with the exception of that one circumstance, 1968, ranks right up there as being the absolute worst moment in my entire life.  And yet the most amazing moment in my entire life.

Which is why whenever my doctor and I would have an appointment, and if it was dealing with anything that might be problematic.  I would always start to question by asking him if it wasn't true that he studied medicine on Devils Island.

Now I think I will have a couple of pomegranate and cranberry juice.  That's always good to clean things out and boost the immune system.  Then I'm probably going to have to relax for a couple of hours to give my lower back a little bit of time to reorganize itself.  And again, like I said Aileen is over.  Off to the side of me shaking her finger at me telling me, I told you so.  At which point I always say, take a breath, okay?

Like I said Aileen and I never said shut up to each other or be quiet.  Because we weren't that way.  We love each other, way too much to do something like that.  So like I said.  If she wanted me to be quiet.  She would tell me to pull my lower lip up over my four head for five or 10 minutes.  And if I wanted her to be quiet, I would simply say, take a breath.

And I know it has to be hard for some people to understand how two people can be that much in love.  But we are.  It doesn't matter that she's on the other side of the veil.  Believe me.  It doesn't matter.  She's here.  Wherever I go in the house.  She's here.  Usually wherever I go anywhere.  She's either right by my side, or hovering above me.

But it does feel really good.  Not to have all that rather interesting pain.

I probably will do some news stories today.  Even though it's 4 July.  I mean, I really do like the Fourth of July, but in so many ways.  It comes across to me as America's fascination with blowing things up.  I mean last night at about midnight, someone thought it was a really great idea, right out in front of my house to explode one of those huge fireworks that's about a quarter stick of dynamite.  I guess they were waiting for me to react, but I didn't.  The cats did.  They were all lying around here in the den with me and when that went off they suddenly disappeared.  Like magic.  One second they were sound asleep and the next second they were gone.  Then about five minutes later they came back and went back to sleep.

It's okay.  In my neighborhood.  They generally don't stop firing off fireworks until about the third week of July.  But of course in my neighborhood.  If one does not hear gunshots going off at least once a week.  We then begin to think there's something wrong.  Because almost every week sometime during the night.  There are gunshots going off one or two streets away.  It's a really interesting neighborhood.

But that's the interesting thing about coffee on another subject.  If you are having any kind of lower intestinal issue you can have one cup of coffee, generally speaking, and the caffeine actually acts as a kind of catalytic agent which will provide more movement through your lower intestines.  For me being a hypoglycemic.  It also basically accelerates my pancreas to the point where I end up losing most of my sugar which is why I just had a bowl of cereal and milk to bring my sugar levels back up.  It's a kind of trade-off.  But I can see that it's starting to get light out.  So I can feel Aileen in the other room, wanting me to go over and give her my morning kiss which I do every morning.  One of the things she always said, whenever I came into the room while she was dying was, where are my kisses.  I want my kisses.  And the moment I would lean down and gently kiss her.  She would say I want more.  I want more of that good stuff.  That's the medicine.

Up until about four months ago when I would talk about that I would end up in tears.  Now it makes me feel so proud of her.  So proud of her remarkable courage her absolutely unbelievable strength.  And when I think about that my love for her.  Just simply explodes.  Of all the honors I've ever had in my life being allowed to love Aileen was absolutely one of the greatest honors I ever had, and that I still have to this day.  It's impossible for me to try and explain how much I love her.  There are just no words.  There just aren't.

So I will say, happy Fourth of July to everyone.  Let's hope we don't have family disputes ending up with gunfire.  Let's hope we all have a nice, safe Fourth of July and perhaps take time to remember that the key word in the name of our country is the word, United.

Thanks for reading.