Monday, 29 September 2014

The Monday pep-talk

The view from the Gun-Room as the sun sets over Oxford.

I am in pain. The vertebrae at the top of my spine and below my neck (I don't know the number and cannot be bothered to count all the way up from my coccyx) is behaving as though I have hit it with a hammer, but shows no sign of bruising, and it's getting worse.

For about five years or so, I have had difficulty in keeping my head up as I walk down the street, and it feels as though someone is pushing against the back of it quite hard and I am compensating by pushing back against it. I have had a very stiff neck since this began to happen, but it has only just begun to cause me any real pain, and the worst thing about it is that lying down in bed doesn't help.

I think it may be arthritis, which is very inconvenient as it will affect my work and I cannot afford to retire. A few years ago, I came up with the cunning if basic plan of getting my much younger, glamourous assistant to do a lot of the hard graft for me, but he doesn't seem to be interested in doing any of his own hard graft, let alone mine.

There is a young and very enthusiastic mason who works indirectly for my best client, and there has been talk of him going full-time for the estate. He has been suggesting that I teach him all my secrets for about a year or two now, never believing that I actually would. Because he is young, it has not occurred to him that I couldn't, even if I would. This means that I could start now and be paid for doing so, and by the time he is my age he may be in a position to understand that there are some secrets which cannot be told, even if they are spoken out loud.

Anyway, something has to be done before it is too late to do it, and I wouldn't want to retire even if I could afford to. It has come to a pretty pass when I have to ask H.I. to bend over to get something from the bottom of a cupboard for me, but at least I can still tie my own shoelaces - at the moment.

The beauty of working on the grand scale in my business is that nobody expects you to lift the thing up on your own, and working on it does not always involve bending over if it is tall. On the negative side, at some point you have to give some attention to the feet of a full-size statue, and this means kneeling down. My knees are buggered as well, and I cannot kneel for any length of time without the right one swelling up to the size of a large grapefruit. I now find it impossible to get into a squatting position, or if I did, I would have to roll over and use my arms to stand up again, on all fours.

Maybe I am just plain fucked?

41 comments:

  1. Yes, you are just plain fucked. So am I.

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    1. I thought you were in bed with the curtains drawn, sleeping your holiday away? I think you should get up and go for a long and exhausting walk in the countryside. Use looking for mushrooms as an excuse.

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    2. I'm up now. I've got a sore throat and I feel terrible. I am listening to Radio 4 Extra and feeling totally fucked. If I were to look for and pick mushrooms we would all die.

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    3. Oh, bad luck to start a cold on your holiday. Best not pick any mushrooms then.

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  2. It doesn't necessarily have to be arthritis, it may just be a slipped or compressed disc or two. They are more common than you might think, I see lots of people in my practice with it.

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  3. It sounds like you have degenerative disc disease. You should see your doctor.

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    1. That's what my friend who cannot get his chin off his chest tells me too.

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  4. I was anticipating a string of "see the doctor" comments, because we know how stupid men can be about this. I'll second Arlene, see your doctor.
    For more than ten years I've had a cadaver bone at C3, holding my head up. Works as well as the original; better, even.
    Now, about the knee. You should see your doctor.
    I'll drop in again tomorrow for an update.

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    1. So you're not disappointed.

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    2. C3 eh?
      Just below the hangmans vertebrae Joanne
      Could have been nasty

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  5. I hate when our bodies let us down. Go to a doctor, stat!

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  6. Stop moaning, and get back to work.

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  7. Look on the bright side…if you were a dog, you would have been " put down" !! I agree with the others…see a doc.

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  8. oh Tom that sounds painful. could it maybe a trapped nerve?

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  9. I totally commiserate with you. Today is the first day I've been able to walk the few blocks into town in over a week. And if I've been lying on a beach, getting up is a sight not to behold -- so all in all, I'm fucked too. Welcome to the club and see the doctor asap...

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  10. Oy vey! Listen to Joanne; she seems to be a sensible kind of girl.

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    1. I'm wondering who the donor of the 'cadaver bone' was.

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    2. Frankenstein robbed a grave for her.

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    3. Are you fitted with bolts on your neck, Joanne?

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    4. Yes, a two square inch titanium plate, four screws. Looks like a postage stamp in the x-ray. It's not what sets off the metal detectors, thought.

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    5. I used to deal with the Rubinoff Bone Bank in Toronto when I work for a surgical oncologist. I would have to call looking for a femur or some other bone. They come marked with the length, age and sex of the donor. One time we got 2 femurs from the same donor, both marked left. I had to take it to Xray to have it scanned because I couldn;t open it to check because it was sterile. Bone is something harvested along with organs now. I saw kids lives saved by donor bone.

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  11. I'm sorry you're in pain, Tom. Getting old isn't for pussies, is it?
    Now get your ass to the doctor!

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    1. No it isn't. I haven't seen a decent pussy for years.

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  12. You would have thought that with all the experience which accompanies the defects related to age, I would have guessed that I would have everyone except a few old faithfuls nagging me to visit a doctor, but I didn't.

    I'm not only fucked, but I am stupid as well.

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  13. Join the club Tom - get a walking stick, stagger about until you give in and go to a good physio - there must be one somewhere round where you live. Meanwhile take plenty of pain killers and do not lie about - you have to keep going.

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    1. I've been taking pain-killers for years before I was in any pain. I have a good friend who is head of Physiotherapy at the Royal Mineral Water hospital too, so she could help.

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  14. Just to support your post... It's 8.40 pm and I am off to bed with a virus of sorts

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    1. Nighty night. You and Rachel have made me feel a lot better, so thanks for that.

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  15. Just to let you know, I think I have self-diagnosed what is wrong with me now, because this neck thing runs concurrently with a slight loss of feeling in one side of both hands. This means cervical spondylosis - something many people start to develop after the age of 30, to one extent or another.

    It tends to flare up apparently, and exercise with pain-killers seems to be the only option. My friend with the very severe form of it was right, I think.

    I'll stop moaning now.

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    1. Oh, I didn't know men had a cervix.x

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    2. Neither did I, but according to an NHS website, we have - it's just above our shoulders, which is quite handy if you can't bend over.

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