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Linda Hilton

Reader, Writer, Merciless Reviewer and Incurable Romantic


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Currently reading

Inventing a Christian America: The Myth of the Religious Founding
Steven K. Green
Progress: 67/328 pages
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Sandra Kitt
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Northrop Frye
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Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward
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Linda Hilton
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Linda Hilton
Progress: 61/61 pages
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith
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The House of the Spirits
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Back spasms again -- UPDATE

Apparently carrying three two-litre bottles of root beer the 25 feet from the car to the kitchen was enough to set them off.


Tizanidine medication helps for a few hours but wears off before I can take it again.


I can't even read.



Wednesday morning update


After almost 20 hours in bed -- with a few short breaks -- I'm beginning to feel better.  The spasms are still there: the muscle contracts sharply and painfully, sometimes so bad that I cry out with it.  Even lying perfectly still in bed doesn't stop it; a slightly deep breath can trigger a spasm.


The tizanidine medication seems to help if only in putting me to sleep for a few hours.  It's supposed to last 5-6 hours, but usually within three hours the spasms are back full force.  Ibuprofen is the recommended pain treatment, so I take that, and it an be taken with tizanidine.  Tizanidine also has other annoying side effects, so I'm going to try to lay off it today.


The heating pad works the best in terms of alleviating the pain and stopping the spasms.


Now, as to the cause.  The immediate cause, as far as I can determine, was my carrying three two-liter bottles of root beer into the house from the car.  I can't recall any other "heavy" lifting or other activity that would have triggered it.


The underlying cause, on the other hand, is that I'm short.  This means I have to stretch to reach things other people don't.  I have to stretch to get things out of my car, and I have to stretch to get dishes off the shelf.  At the grocery store, the cashier tells me to just ask for help for the things on the shelf that's a foot over my head, but often there's no one to ask, and I either stretch more than I should, or I just give up and start crying.


It's humiliating to have to ask a stranger to reach something.  It's even worse when the stranger you ask then makes fun of you.


Being short also means there is no comfortable furniture in my house.  Or in any house.  My feet don't touch the floor when I'm sitting on most chairs.  Kitchen table chair.  Dining room chair.  Living room chair.  Sofa.


Sofas are the worst.  It's not just that my feet don't touch the floor; it's that my  spine doesn't reach the back of the sofa.  I end up virtually lying down even when I'm sitting up.  Some people have sufficient throw pillows to put behind my back, but most don't.  I feel like an idiot, slumped like some kind of rag doll, my chin on my chest, unable to even hold a conversation.  Of course, then I end up on a chair where my feet don't touch the floor, the edge of the seat cuts off circulation into my lower leg, and I can't stand up.


I have difficulty using my laptop because I have to sit sideways on the sofa, which isn't a whole lot better.  I still slide into a semi-recumbent position, not good for my back.


Sitting at a regular desk is a little better, but only if the keyboard and monitor are at the proper heights so I don't have to strain my neck.  Right now, my desk chair is adjusted as high as it will go, but I still have some neck strain reading the monitor.  Another two inches of chair height would ease the problem, but it just won't go any higher.  Fortunately, I have a home-made box under the desk for my feet.  Otherwise, they dangle.


None of these issues is helped by the fact that I lead a pretty sedentary life.  There simply isn't much to be done during the Arizona summer; even walking in the early morning when it's cooler runs certain risks such as . . . snakes.  Um, no, thank you.  So when the weather finally cools off and I can start doing things, I'm already in bad shape.  I try to start out easy, not doing too much too soon, but it's not always possible.  Once the muscle decides to cry out and tie itself in a knot, it's all over.


This past Monday, I had a six-hour lunch with an artist I met last year at a show.  She knew about all the bullshit that had gone on with my artists' group, and she encouraged me to join a different group -- it's not local and there are some other issues -- and get back into the show routine even if it means going a little out of the immediate area.  On Monday evening and Tuesday morning, I was as enthusiastic as I've ever been.  Then yesterday afternoon the spasms started and I remembered the agony I've been in after hauling all my equipment and merchandise to shows, setting up the canopy and tables, tearing everything down and loading it back in the car.


I'm 71 years old.  I can't do that alone any more.  The two of us can help each other, and I'm all for that, but it's not going to make me any taller, make loading and unloading the car any easier.  Even with help, a two-day show that's 200 miles from home presents difficulties if the back spasms decide to set in and there's nowhere to plug in the heating pad.  And I can't even imagine driving 200 miles home in this condition.


Just sitting at the computer to type this has aggravated the muscle that's knotting.  (It's not always the same one, by the way.  Sometimes on the left, sometimes on the right, so who knows what brings it on?)  I have work I want to do and work I need to do.  I can't do any of it.


I can work on more walking to try to strengthen the muscles, but I can't get any taller.  And that's at the root of the problems.