Sunday, June 26, 2011


My back is better. It still looks like a hickey fest, but it's much better. Was it the acupuncture and cupping? I think so, but I don't know for sure. Just like I don't know for sure my bed was the culprit.

I've always wanted to believe alternative and holistic therapies are superior to traditional medicine that tends to take the form of a pill. Something that gets to the root of the problem, not just cover it up. But honestly, I think it takes a combination of all that. For 3 weeks I took 2400 mg of ibuprofen a day just to function. After that I decided to tackle it from all angles: better bed, more stretching, ab exercises, massage, and in 3 more weeks another acupuncture session. I'm not sure what bag of tricks she'll pull out next time, but I'm going for it.

Maybe I'll become an advocate of cupping and recommend it to everyone. Yes, you can handle it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My tangle with an octopus

So I have been experiencing lower back pain off and on for about 6 or 18 months, I can't really remember how long. It was mostly characterized by standing up from my desk, feeling the grab, then slowly easing my way to the upright position. No prob. I figured it was just another lovely side effect of turning 40-something (like the day I miraculously discovered that reading glasses make reading a whole lot better).

But about a month ago, I went down. For about 3 weeks I creaked around the house clutching my back like an old lady. It took many minutes to get into or out of bed, into or out of my car. I finally realized why every other cable channel is dedicated to beating back pain -- it sucks.

I finally went to my doc. She did an x-ray, told me my bed was to blame and gave me some muscle relaxers. I stripped the memory foam pad off my bed at home, and moved to the other side of my pillow-top mattress (a big no-no according to my doc) in Nashville (where I stay 2 nights a week), and once the pain meds allowed me to move semi normal again, I got a deep tissue massage. It was good. But not the miracle I was hoping for. So I scheduled an appointment with my acupuncturist. I've seen her before for other stuff, and I like her style.

She did her usual history, pulse, tongue examination, then asked me to bend all directions. Then she put me on my stomach with my face in a hole the size of a large lemon -- this is going to be fun -- and placed all the needles. They usually don't hurt, but the one she placed behind my knee hurt like a %$^$#@#. As she wiggled it around, she apologized, "Sorry, it necessary. Connected to back." Then she says, "Okay, you sleep." Um, I don't think so.

She returned 45 minutes later and reprimanded me for turning my head to the side (I explained that the lemon-size hole made my nose close up and when I breathed through my mouth I drooled on the floor), then plucked out all the needles. That's usually the end of the session. NOT this time.

For the next 10 minutes, she put my deep tissue massage therapist to shame. She dug a hole and buried him in the yard. This woman is about 4'10'', just a whisper of a woman, but she had hands of steel. At one point she was on completely on the table straddling me. She might have even hung from some hooks on the ceiling and tap danced.

Then she said, "I do a little cupping. It might hurt." I have NO idea what cupping is. I pictured her rolling a cup around on my back. Or pressing the rim down like she's cutting out cookies. Being face-down, I couldn't see the contraptions of torture. I'm scared, but my dad (or somebody) taught me to suck it up, so I did. Caroline perhaps described it best: It's like going to the ocean and being grabbed by an octopus. First she cranked on one suction device, then a second. After the second was in place, she released the first. So 10 seconds or so. It was unpleasant.

I knew our time was almost up, so I figured I could endure whatever she threw at me so I kept quiet. Then she said, "You perfect. I have men come in here and scream, 'Ohhhhh, that hurts!' You don't make peep." Yeah, well, my first epidural didn't take. I can handle this.

So a few minutes later she sends me on my way, feeling very loose and kneaded. She adds as I'm walking out the door, "Sometime you need a little torture to feel better." Ain't it the truth.

So after work, I zip to my mom's for a quick visit with Caroline. As I'm leaving I say, "Hey, do I have any bruises on my back?" I lift my shirt and she gasps.

The end.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A procrastinator's day in photos 2011

If I had to title this day, it would be "No-Adventure Saturday." Usually at least one weekend day is spent on some kind of family adventure: paddling, swimming, fishing, wading, camping, etc. But occasionally it's necessary to stay home and bring order back to our lives. This is one of those Saturdays.

7ish: Watching Super Why on PBS. They were quiet for so long, I came in to investigate and found a most unusual scene: sharing daddy's chair. No elbowing, pinching or bickering. It warmed my heart and finally inspired me to document our day in pictures.
8ish: Breakfast of cinnamon toast and Cheerios. Once again, no one attempting to poke the other's eye. Makes a mama proud
9ish: So begins the attempt to curb the chaos, bring the entropy under control. 

Also 9ish: Outside chores continue with Spence hard at work since 6a. I was not up yet to document it. Numerous times floods have taken out our fence and numerous times Spence has rebuilt it. Now we're employing a new strategy of widely spacing the posts to cut down on debris snags when the river floods. The government is paying us to do this. Weird, huh?
10ish: Playing outside. You might notice that C always seems to be in PJs. She pretty much would live in them if I'd let her.

11ish: Lunch! I don't routinely feed my kids Lunchables. We bought them for taking on river trips, but if the kids spot them in the frig they're history. Note C's runner-up wardrobe of choice: nothing.
Early afternoon: (I missed a few hours taking a nap.) Spence continues his field chores. Bushhogging is usually a twice-a-year commitment. It sure makes our fields look nicer.
3p: Dawit helps wash Mama's car, then continues to wet down the entire front yard and porch while I prep dinner inside. Luckily I've got big windows in the kitchen so I can see who's spraying who and intervene as necessary.
5ish: Prepping veggie fried rice with all the appropriate accoutrements: beer and the company of a talented artiste. And yes, I use jarred garlic! Sue me.

6ish: I finally take the yucky bucket to the compost bin. I don't know why I resist this chore so much. I usually end up with fruit flies and some disgusting smell in my house before I make the run. 

Green pepper!
Deer stay out! Floods too.
I come back in from the garden to find this lovely painting on the kitchen counter. How many times have I preached: only on paper! I guess the world is her canvas.

7ish: After dinner, a little Curious George so mom and dad can wrap up barn chores.


...and scooping poop. A never-ending job.

Skip coming in for dinner, a little slower than usual thanks to the 90-degree weather.

And Delilah bringing up the rear, kind of like I did on posting our Day in Photos 2011. Her pokiness cost her her sweet feed tonight as Skip helped himself. 
It probably appears as if I have a sweet deal in this chores thing. Spence kind of looks like he's serving a life sentence of hard labor. It's true. After the weekend when I return to work, he continues his superman status as stay-at-home dad. And let me tell you, chasing our two whippersnappers around all week makes hauling poop, hogging bushes and building fences seem like a day at the beach. I'm a lucky girl.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Very random BBB

I'm not sure who coined the phrase Bad Blogger Bullets, but since I stole it from Rebekah, I'll give her the credit. 
  • I'm very apathetic about blogs (both writing and reading them) lately. Maybe it's a cycle everyone goes through at some point. I'm grateful for Facebook because its bullety nature syncs well with my short attention span. 
  • I love my blog buddies and feel certain I'll come back into the circle of love someday. I hate that I can no longer get my deep, introspective thoughts out on paper. Probably for the same reason it takes me 3 days to watch a Netflix movie: kids demanding my attention, chores, work, travel, stuff to do, more stuff to do, etc.
  • Caroline is in summer school. Our county got a grant allowing her school to have a free two-week program on oceanography. When we arrive at school, each child has to sign in at the front door. This morning a long line formed behind us because C insisted on writing her own name, putting 2 inches of space between each letter and having to write down the side of the page.  
  • Dawit is talking in complete, semi-comprehensible sentences. Some of his favorite phrases: Hit quay (push play on the DVD player). On go ribber? (Are we going to the river?) Morn chicken, quease (more fish, please). I not stinky (that one's pretty clear). Zat Sarah, Nynine? (Is this creature on my PJs a triceratops, Caroline?) 
  • Caroline used to call herself Nynine (99) when she was learning to talk, so we figured Nynine would be easier for Dawit to say as he's learning to talk. Now I fear he'll never call her anything else. 
  • I just ate a whole California Pizza Kitchen margherita pizza.
  • I left my Droid sitting on the burner while I cooked my pizza, the one with the exhaust spout. When I went to pick it up, it was almost too hot to hold. Now it won't turn on. I'm going to wait for it to cool down then try again. Do you think my warranty will cover that? I've gotten the lecture from Spence more than once about setting things on burners even when you're not using the stove. For the most part I've heeded that warning, plastic collander notwithstanding. But in this case my black phone blended in with the black burner.
  • I love garlic salt.
  • I love salt on watermelon.
  • I've been dealing with unusual back pain for about 11 days now. Three of those days I spent worrying that I might have cancer. When you google back pain, it brings up stories of people whose doctors told them it was musculo-skeletal only to find out months later they had lymphoma or ovarian cancer. So I went to my doc and she said musculo-skeletal. When I mentioned being worried about cancer, she laughed at me. The good kind of laugh, like "Dear, quit torturing yourself with random google searches. You don't have cancer." If she says so, I guess. Apparently, I'm getting old and sleep on a crappy bed. A $1,500 pillow-top piece of crap is how she put it. Now I'm trying to figure out how to get rid of a $1,500 pillow-top mattress with several enormous pee stains (not mine -- my cat's and Caroline's). If I put it on craigslist for free, I'd probably be inviting trouble because I'm certain only crazies would want a free pee-stained bed. Gotta think on that one.
  • I truly empathize with people who have back pain and spasms that feel like someone's wringing out your muscles like a washcloth. It's truly crippling and depressing. And maybe why I ate an entire pizza.
  • My phone works -- I just got a call.
  • I haven't forgotten about "A Day in Pictures." I can't seem to remember to get started in the morning. And when I do capture the morning, I forget to document the rest of the day. I contemplated cheating and creating my own picture perfect day by piecing together pics from different days, but then that would be cheating. 
  • After one year and 3 days, the bridge to our house is finally open. No more 2-hour commutes to take Caroline to school and pick her up (30 minutes each way, twice a day). The first day I crossed the new bridge, I stopped, got out of my car and did a little jig. Joy!