So back in December I asked the orthopedist* if the numbness in the extremities might be due to simple muscle tension.  He said no, didn’t think so.  So I followed up with him this month rather doubtfully, but turns out he’s Mr. Muscle Relaxers now.  Woohoo!  So far they seem to be helping take pressure off the nerves.  See a some kind of Massage Guy (an MT? A something else? I don’t know what) next week to get more specific.

 (*A wonderful guy, but who was only hired to check out a questionable hip — I kept him on to manage the case because his office staff is so stunningly competent, even though I knew he was out of his depth.  It was that or go back to the wonderful GP, also out of his depth, but lacking the competent office staff.  Just have to remind myself I’m not in it for the medical advice, just the expert paper management.)

    The hope of course is that that the pressure on the nerves is just some overzealous muscles (preferably ones who can be persuaded to resume a more moderate lifestyle), and not anything going on with the nerves themselves.  Very likely.

    And if so, I made the realization yesterday, through the chance reading of a random paragraph in an about-to-be-returned library book, that my trouble all fall has been that I live in the wrong state.  South Carolina is of course running, or rather, circling the Wal-Mart parking lot waiting for that space right by the door, neck-in-neck with a couple fellow southern states for the distinction of being Obesity Capital of the Nation.  Gotta be number one in something, I guess.

–> So when I came in with what looked like a basic model backache, the automatic response from everybody (GP, Chiropracter, PT, etc) has been "stretch and exercise".   Never mind that I was more flexible than any of the little line-drawing people in the stretching pictures. (Hence the wacky pelvis — one can, in fact, be too limber).  Never mind that I typically spent four to eight hours a day on my feet in light activity, an hour or so of that carrying a baby in the backpack, possibly pushing a toddler in a stroller as well, in addition to trying to  fit in some more intense exercise somewhere in that day as well.  In retrospect, extra special exercises was not really what I was lacking.  Tell me to "rest" and I think "go do a little landscaping project in the garden".

***

    The orthopedist has changed his guess from "mysterious autoimmune disorder" to "stress-induced ailment".  Certainly a possibility — this blog has borne witness to my rather emotionally-demanding year.  I’m a firm believer in the reality of stress-induced illnesses, though I have found there are two kinds.  The first is the kind that is caused by insufficient medical progress — "we don’t know what causes it, it must be stress".  Stomach ulcers would be a recent example of an illness that graduated from stress-induced to germ-induced, once medical science caught up.

    But there is the other kind, genuinely caused by stress, and genuinely relieved by eliminating it.  I’m good with that.  Because then I can go around telling people, "I’m sorry, you’re going to have to be nice to me.  The ADA requires it."

***

    Speaking of my busy year . . . time to start developing the Lenten Resolutions.  Way back in February you’ll recall I went out to Las Vegas for the first time, and got to help my sister de-clutter my parents’ home in anticipation of a move to a smaller house.  A trip that ended on Ash Wednesday. 

    While there, I was reminded at that time about the importance of keeping one’s affairs in order, out of kindness to one’s next-of-kin.  I promised to my sister, who is in the unenviable position of being the one who will be guardian of both my children, and of their very cluttered and chaotic inheritence, should the SuperHusband and I both die pre-maturely, I promised her this: "If I live to see Easter, my house is going to be cleaned up."

    Ha ha.  I, of course, did live to see Easter.  But what with all the other people who did not, well, lets just say my Lenten resolution for the year got a little sidetracked.  A resolution which happened to be just a slightly more dramatic formulation of my previous Advent and Lenten resolutions for at least the two years prior, I might add.

    But if these liturgical seasons are about penance, they are also about hope.  So I’m going to be hopeful this year.  And more than just hopeful: I have a plan this time.  My resolution is to use my Lenten Grandma Days (I get one every Tuesday morning, barring illness or death) to restore order to my life.  No odd jobs and errands, only restoring order.  Like getting the mandatory "portolio of the student’s work" (from last school year) into a format that an officer of the law would more easily recognize as a "portfolio" and not as "a bunch of papers shoved into a cardboard box".

     Not that the law forbids the keeping of the student’s portfolio in an undersized box holding all the other students’ portfolios, intermingled freely with no regard for author, date or subject.  But somehow I expect my home will run more smoothly without said portfolios blocking the place where the office chair is supposed to tuck under the desk, and my heirs will thank me if I go ahead and put the papers in better order sometime in the same decade they were produced.

    We’ll see.  There are a lot of things that have to go right this Lent, if I’m going to keep my resolution.  And I’m only resolving to start, not promising to finish.    But one must be hopeful, and I do have sufficiently poor memory to allow me frequent renewals of hope.

***

    The most curious thing, though, is that for a person who might have a stress-induced ailment, I’m awfully happier and less overwhelmed than I was a year ago.   But it was a long, thick  year.  I’m looking hopefully towards a very quiet Lent this time, if I might be be so fortunate.

    My other Lenten resolution, by the way, is a return to a longstanding but recently neglected tradition: the Giving Up of Coffee.  An ugly, ugly thing.   As we are back in Ordinary Time, I’ve successfully Given Up Coffee two Fridays in a row (good thing, since I fell totally flat on my face today on my other usual back-up acts of Friday penance), and I’m seriously re-thinking the wisdom of this notion.  

    Yes, yes, my intellect knows that the better the Lent, the better the Easter.   But gosh, I *really* like coffee.  I mean, really, really like coffee.    How much do I like coffee?  I started giving it up for Lent in *early high school*.  And it penitential back then, too.  Yeah, I’m going to do it.  I know that it is the Right Thing to Do, inasmuch as these optional and personally-chosen things can have much of a right or wrong to them.

    Out of hopefulness, however, for my clean-desk resolution, I am not giving up caffeine.  Just coffee.  Tea is fair game.

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