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HenryX
Senior Contributor

Recovery of capacity and function after treatment & inactivity

I am currently seeing a doctor on four to six weekly visits. I was diagnosed with clinical depression 20+ years ago. At roughly the same time a back injury that I had sustained during my time in National Service (Army) re-developed to a point where I was having extreme difficulty walking. The problem was exacerbated by stenosis, or narrowing of the spinal column, causing a constriction of the nerves and severe pain. Since that time I have had three fusion and laminectomy operations. During the last ten years, until Mum's passing eighteen months ago, I looked after my mother. The last three years were in residential care, about 750 metres from my home. Consequently, I could visit my mother each day.

 

That is the background.

 

At the moment I walk with two staves, which allow me to walk with a close to normal gait. Some of my weight and a lot of the balance is supported by my arms, which also gives my arms some exercise. Because of the constriction of the nerves, I have limited sensation from the ankle to the toes in both feet. This means that I do not have the feedback from my feet that would be required for normal balance. I have difficulty with normal housework, and the activities that I would normally enjoy in the garage/workshop have fallen by the wayside to a large extent. While Mum was with me, my exercise level was limited to only a little more than she did. Consequently, I am now trying to recover some of the normal strength levels that I would expect to have at my age.

 

My Grammarly 'tone detector' tells me that my description above is Joyful, Optimistic and Formal.

Well, it is a start on describing where I am at. I think that the idea for men who find it difficult to "ask for help" is not necessarily for them to "ask for help" but rather to state their position and concerns and then work from there. I have no doubt that I will be adding to this, my thread, in the future. As time goes by, people will, I hope, offer support where appropriate, suggestions they believe may assist me in accomplishing my goals, and cautions where they see that I may be treading "too close to thin ice".

 

With (as always) My Best Wishes

HenryX

 

 

 

23 REPLIES 23

Re: Recovery of capacity and function after treatment & inactivity

Hi @HenryX,

 

Walking difficulties are very challenging. I experienced a much milder version of this after I had a particularly depressed several years during which I had almost no exercise, barely even walked around the flat. Instead slept a huge amount, going from bed to chair, chair to bed most of the time. At the end of that I moved to a place near the beach with the idea of walking in nature to help some recovery, but I found that I could barely walk at all after all that time of barely doing it.

 

It took a lot of pushing through pain, going too far sometimes and other times too little, but eventually I got to the point where I could walk 2km, which is where I am at now, seven years since I started with doing more walking. Still having problems sometimes (nerve problems), but have come a long way.

 

All this to say, I relate in my own milder way to what you are going through. Great to hear you are able to improve your walking with the help of the staves. Guessing they are something like walking canes?

 

In terms of how to regain strength, with your medical history, could it be that you would benefit from some medically tailored treatment? I'm thinking physio or an exercise physiologist, or some other rehabilitation specialist. I realise this may not always be accessible to us because of finances etc. But I have at least been able to access five sessions of physio a year on a Medicare subsidised care plan through my GP. I suspect you may be eligible for this as well.

 

I am very fortunate to have recently been approved for support through the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme). One of the things being funded for the next year is weekly physio. At the moment that is going to be primarily for serious deterioration of discs in my neck, which gives me a lot of pain in my whole upper body.

 

I have also recently started regular acupuncture treatment. This is with a medical doctor who is also a Chinese-trained acupuncturist. It is free for me on my disability pension card. Even after the first session I felt some benefit.

 

I'm not sure your circumstances in life, whether working or otherwise. Some of these forms of rehab and health assistance have become accessible to me on the disability pension, so I'm not sure what resources may be available to you.

 

That's enough from me for now. I can give more info on anything that sparks your interest in what I have written here.

 

Well wishes, my forum friend. Woman Happy

Re: Recovery of capacity and function after treatment & inactivity

Joyful optimistic and formal are good qualities.

@HenryX 

Smiley Happy

Gradually experimenting and adding activities to your life can be a lovely way to live.  You might surprise yourself with something unexpected, or like a particular bunch of people.  Good on you for getting as far as you have with physical and emotional capacity.  I am slowly adding things to my life, to help with empty nesting.

Re: Recovery of capacity and function after treatment & inactivity

Hi @HenryX your path hasn't been easy but I admire and respect your clear-sighted summary of where you're at. Your physical well-being is so important and I hope you're getting specialist  help with exercise or hydrotherapy and work-arounds for housework but the mutual emotional support you had with your late mother stands out. I find reading poetry and listening to music help fill the void sometimes. Ì don't regret the time I spent caring for my dad although it exacerbated tensions with my siblings and left me more alone after his passing.

 I think that just about the first thing the psychologist asked me when I first saw her was if I had any unfinished projects, she called them UFOs or unfinished objects. Good thing she didn't ask about unread books LOL. I can't preach and dizziness restricts my gardening but I feel deeply for you HenryX and support all the efforts you're making. Good luck and I'll be barracking for you. 

Re: Recovery of capacity and function after treatment & inactivity

@Mazarita

Hi Mazarita,

 

Thank you for your response and comment.

 

The staves are very sophisticated. They consist of two wooden rake handles with a chair rubber on the ground end and a Bicycle handle-grip on the top end. They are very much like ski poles that many people use for walking. I do have folding ones that I would use if I were travelling or that I can put in the backpack if I am riding a bicycle. The bicycle is something I need to put back into service as well. It will allow me to exercise for longer periods than I can comfortably walk. I had intended to travel before covid. I was about to say that I'll be too old for that. I'll be positive and look forward to doing as much as I can.

 

The town where I live is about a kilometre from one side to the other. I sold a car and deliberately did not fix the other one (flush of the cooling system) so that I could not just jump in the car, but had to walk. I am actually enjoying the walking and do not seem to be feeling the heat as much. Temps here are in the low 30's this week with 14 to 18 at night. Those temps are pleasant. And I have the other car operational and on the road now.

 

I might even be bold enough to get the motorbike out again. Oddly enough, while I have no strength to push down on a bicycle pedal with the ball of my foot, I can still lift my foot, for changing gear on the motorbike. As long as I can keep the bike upright when it is standing still, I'll be okay. Have to ride with a friend though, just in case. Something to look forward to though.

 

I have tried acupuncture a number of times with different practitioners, however, the results were not inspiring. That is not to say that acupuncture is not useful, it just did not have the desired effect for me. I really need to improve my own efforts, as discussed above, before I can justifiably seek assistance from other practitioners. They can't do the “leg work” for me. (humour intended). I have stayed with the one doctor despite a 2-hour drive each way to the major city where he is located for about 15 years. As a result, I have been able, with all the issues declared, to retain a multi-combination driver's licence, bus and motor-bike licences. Living in a farming area means that these are, or may still be useful. As I hope is apparent, I am a glass half full type of person. I definitely like to look on the bright side. On the other hand, I have taken a few knocks and want to “keep my head above water”.

 

I am in the retired category, but have taken on an asbestos removal course and a W.A. Work-safe elevating work platform ticket, so I am staying as active as I possibly can.

 

This forum has given me the opportunity to give some and receive a lot from you and other members. I very much appreciate the feedback that you have given me in the various threads that we've connected in. Thank you. And with that thought, thank you to the other forum members who have given “support” ticks and interest in the discussions in which we have been involved.

 

@Adge @Appleblossom @Daisydreamer @Determined  @Dimity @eth @Exoplanet @Faith-and-Hope @girasole @HappyCastle @lilisteinn @Lokison  @oakca002 @roses @Shaz51 @Snowie @Wanderer

 

With My Very Best Wishes

 

HenryX

Re: Recovery of capacity and function after treatment & inactivity

@Appleblossom 

 

Hi Apple,

 

Thank you for your response.

 

Yes, I reckon I'll keep going as long as I can, and do as much as I can.

 

Thanks for the positive vibes and responses on the various threads. We can do a lot to help each other

 

Best Wishes

HenryX

Re: Recovery of capacity and function after treatment & inactivity

@Dimity 

Hi Dimity

 

Thank you for your response.

 

The time with my mother was special and probably the more so because it was unexpected for both of us. As I've said elsewhere, had my father been alive, I would have had the most limited contact with my mother, and had my brother had his way, it would not have happened. So, unfortunately, I can identify and understand the “family” friction issue. At least my brother agreed that my Mum lived probably 8 years longer than she would have otherwise. In that time Mum and I attended most of their family gatherings. I am also comfortable in the knowledge that Mum enjoyed the time that she and I shared together.

 

Like you, I was talking with Lisa the other day, describing the time just prior to Mum's (“passing”) death, and as I said, and I can feel the same thing happening, that I had tears in my eyes. That is the biggest issue that I have had to come to terms with.

 

The reason I need to improve my physical situation is to get my “house in order” and the items I want to go to various people will be distributed in accordance with my wishes. It's not mega-bucks worth, more sentimental I think. Books on boat building that I want to go to my grandson, photographs and letters that I would like my daughter to have. I just need to do that as soon as possible and then I don't need to worry about the issue any longer. As a solicitor once said before he cleaned me out.

“We're not talking about sheep stations are we?”

So, as I say, it is more precious in terms of sentimentality than anything else. My daughter will get this computer that really has a lot of my story on it. It hasn't got a lot of bad things on it to load her up. Most of the material on the computer is good, pleasant stuff.

 

I like the UFO's. I suppose that's more or less what I was referring to above. So many books!! Yes, those too.

I know that some way of planting things, even If I have to build a frame to hold me up while I'm kneeling down has crossed my mind. The only problem will be keeping Kirra, my Kelpie/Lab, otherwise occupied and from wanting me to play ball. We should all have such difficult problems to cope with - I'm smiling.

 

Thank you very much Dimity for your thoughts and shared experiences.

 

With My Very Best Wishes

 

HenryX

Re: Recovery of capacity and function after treatment & inactivity

Hi @HenryX 

You've been very enterprising with your staves. A friend used bamboo poles before her surgery. I'm glad you have your walking, car and motorbike fairly well sorted. I'm in the suburbs and would gladly move back to the country town I grew up in if I had independent transport, but I relinquished my licence because of poor vision.

I can understand your wish for control over distributing family heritage items and items of great sentimental value. Ìt seems a way of honouring the relationships they represent, both past and present - and for future generations. It also feels like a way of taking stock and reflecting on one's own life through the material objects we've acquired/collected/created. Books, files and manuscripts are my nemesis. Some I inherited are of I think great significance, others -my own - represent years of effort it would be painful to discard. I have little of monetary value but a rich store of memories. I've stalled on progress with them but would very much like to "declutter". My parents and grandparents, and other family, live on through what they wrote or painted in ways I couldn't have imagined when I felt an unloved child, and. that's bittersweet.

Give your dog a pat for me. My cats are true companion animals and keep me going. The Forumites - including you - are giving me something more to look forward to. Thankyou.

 

 

Re: Recovery of capacity and function after treatment & inactivity

Hi @Dimity,

 

Yes, You and I seem to have some very similar material and ideas. It is, as you say, sometimes bittersweet. Really all we can do is pass these items on to people who may also cherish them.

 

I like your comment "a way of honouring the relationships they represent, both past and present - and for future generations."

And the idea that whatever the relationships that we have had with various family members "parents and grandparents, and other family, live on through what they wrote or painted in ways I (we) couldn't have imagined" to again borrow, and I hope in doing so, show my regard for the sentiment on which you have reflected. In a sense, we have a possibly cherished obligation to future generations to pass on what we have.

 

Our pets are what give us instant and very welcome nurture.

 

And likewise Dimity, sometimes we would like to know people better, a thought I was reflecting on recently with another member. And yet, there is community in the forum environment that is nurturing in a different way.

 

My appreciation to you Dimity also,

HenryX

Re: Recovery of capacity and function after treatment & inactivity

@HenryX 

 

I Love labradors and crosses.  I cant have a dog, and like @Dimity tend towards cats, but I have had good experiences with friend's labs.  I had 2 cats for a long time and am in between pets atm.  The 2nd one died in October at 19 after long thyroid problem.  I am not in a hurry for another.  We loved those cats.  I have a feeling I am going through transition. So it is good to be open for that.

 

I was sorting through stuff last year through Covid but had a long emotional episode after the cat and computer died.  So am just peddling for now.  Not in a headspace to make decisions.  Then a few weeks ago I received more boxes to sort through from a friend who died last July.  I am letting it be a relaxed process sorting through her old music in print and cd.

 

I love that version of UFOs.  I finished a large tapestry and a jumper I had begun before children.  I am slower in starting crafty things these days.  I dont want to craft for the sake of it and I have plenty of stuff.  Maybe I will do a patchwork and use up old fabric.... one day.

 

Re peddling ... I can really relate to the different actions required on push and motor bikes. lol. Yes take a friend as the issues are magnified when engines are involved. I also have neck, back and balance issues.  I am wary of even push bikes, and have seen a few giant trikes about ... ???? Not in a hurry for that decision either ...

 

I think the important thing for me at the moment.  Is Living and letting myself live and be, without too much double think.  My son is visiting for a few months so he is my priority at the moment.  For years it had been tricky, but he is making the effort and for last few weeks it has been really pleasant having him around.  Maybe thats what we both need.  A little chill time.

 

I am sure your mother valued your company HenryX

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