I don’t do being ill well! I have always been of the ilk that I just get on with it whenever I can. Staying in bed when I am ill just makes me feel worse, and whenever possible I have got up and got dressed. But…..
Way back in 2014 I was walking on our decking, which was about three feet off the ground, a plank gave way and my right leg went through it. I cannot begin to tell you how much that hurt. On inspection RD could see how the plank had worn and got out his trusty tools to fix it, and I left him to it. That evening, as the World Cup Opening Ceremony was under way and RD was ensconced on the sofa with a beer in hand, I went back out onto the decking to check my baby cucumbers and went through the exact same piece of decking again! By now the pain was excruciating and when I then saw RD’s trusty tools still there on the decking I cannot begin to tell you what I called him, or should I say screamed at him but I am pretty sure that it had the word ‘fucking’ in it! I refer to this incident as the ‘the time RD tried to kill me.’
Over the course of that year I went to the Doctor at least five times and each time I explained (given that I am a qualified aerobic teacher, although looking at the size of my arse you would never believe that now!) that I thought that the injury was muscular and not joint related. But I was ignored and sent for many x-rays on my knee. In the end I gave up and put up with the niggling pain and intermittent swelling of my leg. That was until Christmas of that year when I danced a little jig and found myself in so much pain that I had to crawl up the stairs to bed that night. It was enough to drive me back to the doctors where a newly qualified doctor actually listened and referred me to a physio, hurrah!
The physio was great, pronounced that I had basically squashed my psoas muscle, pushing it up my leg and he gave me a set of exercises which I promptly did. He was brilliant and also gave a fab arse massage, much to RD’s distress who asked my friend Mary if he did the same to her when she visited him, and when she said ‘no’ RD looked at me as if to say ‘see he doesn’t massage her arse!’ It might have had something to do with the fact that she had a shoulder injury. 😂
Alas I had to leave physio after only three months because we moved to France to our beautiful but wibbly wobbly garden on a hill. The unevenness of the garden combined with lifting heavy loads then proceeded to aggravate my leg more and more as each year went by. I found I couldn’t walk down the stairs unless it was sideways like a crab, but I put up with it and just sucked it up, trying to ignore that it seemed to be getting worse and worse.
Eventually I looked up why I had such a pain in my butt every time I walked down the stairs or stood up, and found that it was highly likely that I had not only damaged my psoas but also my piriformis, one of the smallest muscles in the body and one of the most painful if it is damaged. The good old piriformis runs across the sciatic nerve, or sometimes the sciatic nerve runs through the piriformis, but needless to say when the muscle swells the pain is excruciating. Carrying things aggravates the piriformis, heels aggravate the piriformis, uneven ground aggravates it, in fact sitting aggravates it, walking aggravates it, basically if you have piriformis syndrome (and all my symptoms pretty much tick all the boxes) your well and truly up shit creek without a paddle.
Like I said I don’t ‘do ill’ well, so I just got on with it, looking up stretches which helped and just soldiering on. But then the move from France to Ireland was basically a game changer what with lifting heavy items, and going and up and down stairs with them; add that I then I decided to get fit when I arrived in Ireland: walking at least a mile and a half a day (who wouldn’t with the fabulous views around us?) I basically pushed the injury too far.
I was losing this fight, but still I carried on: I bought a hiking stick to try and help when we had to just step onto the beach, because I couldn’t even step on the beach! Something that RD found so hilarious he took photos of my trying to climb up onto the dunes.
A few weeks after these photos were taken I actually bought myself a walking stick in Lidl because I couldn’t walk around the shop I was in so much pain, and I’m not going to lie at that point it started to get to me.
That’s why I haven’t been blogging or writing in any way, because in the end the pain was constant no matter what I was doing I couldn’t actually think straight. I couldn’t even walk my beloved puppies around the garden. Add to this RD got a short term job and wasn’t here so I persevered hoping to God that the dogs didn’t pull me because they would simply pull me over! Poor RD he was working all day, driving a long drive to and from work, doing all the shopping and then walking the dogs.
For me the biggest thing was how much chronic,constant pain begins to affect you mentally. You literally cannot focus, terrified to move but still in pain anyway and I began to feel old, and trapped, despite the excitement of our new adventure. Out here on a peninsular with no car, not even being able to walk outside my own front door, was awful and I thought of a lovely lady I used to care for who was in a wheelchair and I understood how important her daily trips were to her more than ever. It was an eye opener for me, of how people live with this all their lives, and I was grateful for my strength and counted my blessings that I would fight this.
Ever proactive (I won’t be beaten, although there have been times over the last four weeks when I thought I was) I looked up more stretches and exercises, and despite the pain I was in I made myself do them three or four times a day. I sat on a hot water bottle, religiously, and I booked an appointment with a chiropractic, who although she was incredibly rude and a bit dodgy she massaged exactly where the pain was radiating from and over the following few days the pain began to subside. I took note, and now I get RD to do massage the same place, now his job has ended, and he realises that the physio was doing exactly what he was meant to do.
I am now eighty per cent better. The pain is not constant, but I persevere with all the exercises and stretches and know that this is what I will have to do from here on in, as well as attend a chiropractic probably once a month, or at the least a masseuse ‘. I still cannot lift anything even remotely heavy, or walk my beloved puppies, because it may well aggravate the muscle again, and my hamstrings and knee ligaments are sore from the pain that had been radiating down the back of my leg for let’s be honest at least the last three months.
I am going to try as of today to walk with the dogs whilst RD holds the strong little buggers, wish me luck.
More to come now I can think straight