Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Back in action

Wow! I can't believe how long it is since I added an entry to the blog - 2 weeks at least!

Well, mostly it can be blamed on my continuing back problems, which are becoming a pain in the u know what! I am mobile - stiff but mobile - and the chiropracter has to a certain extent fixed me a bit, but it feels like it will be a long time till I'm back up to full working function again. However I am finally off all painkillers, apart from the occasional ibuprofen, and glad to be so. Felt so rough the week after I stopped the strong stuff that I thought I was coming down with something yukky, but I think it was just the after effects. I still have dry skin across my knuckles and I'm sure some of my hair fell out while on these horrible tablets. Hmm..didn't see either of those side effects listed on the leaflet inside the box, maybe I'm unique in my reaction!

So we have been out and about a little and I'm able to drive (stiffly) now. We've started going back to a fortnightly home education group that we haven't been to for ages. I'm not sure if the boys will participate in any of the activities (they seem to prefer to run around outside on the fields!), but I figure we'll give it a try and see how it goes. Poor Jack the dog has had fewer walks and run arounds than usual, but I'm hoping things will improve slowly. I managed to take him 'round the block' today without coming back in too much pain, so I guess that's an improvement. Thankfully now he's turned into a big boy and learnt to cock his leg, we have frequent stops all the way around the block to 'mark his territory', which suits my awkward gait and pain aversion strategy at the moment!

The MRI scan that I had a few weeks ago (not such a long waiting list afterall) apparently showed a bulge in one of the discs. The doc said that this disc wasn't impinging on any nerves (oh yeah? well something bl**dy well has been!). So as you may have guessed the doctor's not been particularly helpful or sympathetic so far - he was the one who visited while I was laying in agony on the sofa, waggled my legs around (lots), appeared to have no idea about backs and when I said 'but I home educate and I've got 3 kids to looks after' said ' ah well, gotta go now'.

Having looked up 'disc' and 'bulge' on the web, I can't say I'm much more informed, except that lots of people have it asymptomatically, and it's basically a sign of getting old and worn out - well if I didn't feel old and decrepid beforehand I certainly do now. Not yet 40 and having had restricted activity for the past 10 years, I'm desperate to get a little bit of youth - or even a bit of middleagedom - in before I'm consigned to being totally and truly OLD. Looks like my dream of owning a smallholding might have to be downsized considerably!

So I have to make an appointment mid May to 'discuss options' with this doctor, which sounds rather a rather gloomy prospect. If it's the usual NHS options, then I have a pessimistic suspicion the advice will be 'take painkillers and work through the pain'. After 10 years of on-off back pain, and several fobbed off attempts at getting some help from doctors/midwives/other health professionals, I have very little faith that anything will be done to help me on the NHS. Looks like more expense for alternative therapy then...

Despite all this I'm glad to be up on my feet, off the crutches and at least a partly capable parent. I'm not sure I was much of a capable parent before my back problems, but at least I could pick Lego up off the floor which does come in handy in a house with two Lego-mad boys! On the subject of lego, I'm keen to take the kids to Legoland before the boys' annual passes run out at the end of May. However, considering that the last trip we made to Legoland was in the week running up to my back meltdown, it's probably not such a good idea. Still trying to get ds1 to finish off his application for a Blue Peter badge, so that I don't have to use up all our Tesco vouchers to get more Legoland passes. I've copied what I needed to onto CDs and he just needs to write some blurb to accompany it. Ah, well that's the tricky part, getting ds1 to do writing. Even typing is fairly tortuous, so it might be a while before it's done.

We've had a few things going on in the home ed 'area'. The boys have made some mini rafts with some friends who came over and we have ambitions to make full-size products eventually that will really float and carry people. We're yet to find the perfect launching spot, or indeed anything to make the full-size rafts out of, but the idea is there.

The kids have several 'overdue' letters owed to penfriends. Mental reminder to get them sweating over pens/keyboards some time in the next week.

I have plans also to do some ongoing 'project' on aircraft, perhaps incorporating a workshop or two and a museum visit (that'll be a job for dh I reckon). Also some model plane/paper plane making and other science projects. Not sure exactly when we'll get started on these as the ideas are coming from me and we - or should I say I- seem to have lost momentum at the moment. I'm sure it will all fall back into place soon. (Or fall off the precipice!)

The allotment is looking quite good at the moment because the weeds haven't started growing yet where my parents have dug over. The kids and I managed to plant some beans and mangetout peas the other day, but there are lots of 'chitted' potatoes to go in and I'll have to get dh to dig the trenches (daren't take a spade to it myself). I'm really not sure how it will all pan out with the gardening this year. There are loads of seedlings in the greenhouse to be planted out once frosts have gone, and I'm hoping I'll get to plant carrots, beetroot etc at the allotment soon, but I think I'll have to restrict my ambitions for the next few months. The kids' plot needs some attention too and we need to find some topsoil or compost for their raised beds, but again, that all feels rather daunting at the moment. No doubt the other allotmentees will be grumbling soon about 'perennial weeds' and other moanings about my plots or my children or my dog (sadly some seem to make a fulltime career out of complaining), but there's not much I can do about it and we only have a limited amount of weed suppressant material to cover the dug areas.

Well we're off camping for a few days very soon to try out our new super huge (embarrassingly huge) tent, so have been doing a little preparation/packing over the past few days. The kids are so keen that they have already packed -ds1's bag was quite well packed, but I think ds2 may have got a little distracted as he'd only managed to pack 2 pairs of pants and socks and that was it! It could have been quite a minimalist camping trip if I hadn't checked. I'm hoping my back will hold out for the trip.

My exploration into 'ethical shopping' (see 10 March posting) has been rapidly curtailed by being sofa-ridden and then hobbling on crutches. I haven't managed to get back to the greengrocers (I knew I wouldn't be able to shift all the shopping back to the car) or the Coop (ditto). Sadly I ended up going to Tescos last night and shuffling around with a trolley trying to stock up on vaguely ethical - but mostly not - products. AND to top it all, Jamesons wasn't on special offer. Having gone off wine as a result of several weeks of painkillers accompanied by no drinking (yet another weird side-effect), I really fancied a drop of whisky to finish the evenings off with. Anyway, it was probably just as well I didn't buy any. I realised as I filled the trolley on the last aisle that it was getting so heavy I wasn't sure I could actually push it across the carpark to the car, let alone lift all the bags out. Oh I am so feeble! So, I guess I can add 'ethical shopping' to my list of things I have to be patient about till this 'back thing' is fixed.

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