Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Hip Bone Connected to the Thigh Bone

Your toe bone connected to your foot bone
Your foot bone connected to your ankle bone
Your ankle bone connected to your leg bone
Your leg bone connected to your knee bone
Your knee bone connected to your thigh bone
Your thigh bone connected to your hip bone
Your hip bone connected to your back bone
Your back bone connected to your shoulder bone
Your shoulder bone connected to your neck bone
Your neck bone connected to your head bone
I hear the word of the Lord.

These are the appropriated and appropriate lyrics to the song "Dem Bones," a spiritual whose lyrics are taken from Ezekiel 37:14 and whose melody was written by James Weldon Johnson, a black American scholar and author.

For the past weeks, I've been acutely aware of dem bones and dem muscles and how one muscle group affects another, because I've been suffering from either a severely pulled muscle or a herniated disc. (Or could it be a "pinched nerve"?) At first, I could almost not get out of bed, so painful was my lower back and right leg when any movement to do so was attempted. Gradually, in baby steps, matters progressed more favorably, but the basics for a while--sitting, sleeping, relaxing--were impossible. And you can forget about walking. For the pain, I took Tylenol, then Advil, and finally Aleve, aware of the warnings possible side effects, including stomach bleeding--and a heart attack! (I guess the companies that manufacture these must cover all bases.) Hot and cold compresses helped, as did hot baths. (Ah, very soothing, though initially it was difficult to bend down and get in a tub.) I know I've had this trouble before, perhaps twice or even more times in my life, but this time the trouble has lasted far, far longer.

A chiropractor saw me early on and did acupuncture on me, my first real experience with that ancient Chinese remedy. The acupuncture made me sweetly relaxed, but in the long term of just another day, whatever benefits were gotten didn't seem to have a lasting effect.

Of course, once one starts limping to prevent pain on one side of the body, a strain is put on the other side, and soon enough aches and cramps are spread to areas hitherto unaffected. The hip bone is indeed connected to the thigh bone.

Lately, as I've gotten better, I've pushed myself to do more physical work around the apartment (like cleaning it up; see a previous blog entry) and have started going back to the gym again, obviously doing a less intensive workout than normal. Physical activity and the gym helps by stretching and strengthening muscles which have become rebellious or like steel tubes of searing pain wedged inside sore flesh.

I've also been getting a lot of help and care from an Arabian goddess who visits me frequently to make sure my needs are taken care of. The pampering is just right.

The last couple of days I've been able to walk for longer periods of time (try ten seconds and sometimes more) without needing to stop, grab onto a pole or a tree, as I'm wincing in increasing pain. I'm getting there, but the process is too leisurely and combative. I certainly think I've heard the word of the Lord several times in this ordeal. And the word, in the long term of life/death, mobility/immobility, ain't good.