Thursday, August 30, 2012


8/30/12 Thursday
          I am sitting at the dining room table. Or I suppose it is the living room dining table. Really not sure what it is supposed to be called. The reason I am here is because my pain level is so high getting up from the bed is quite a challenge. I am not sure what I did but this pain started Monday. I can’t recall doing any heavy lifting and spent a good part of the day driving Cherie’s car around and taking care of things. I know her seat will not go back as far as I would like so my knees are still up by the steering wheel. That was uncomfortable but I can’t imagine it was the cause of what my back is doing now.

          I shuffled out to the garage and retrieved the walking stick I had made back when we first moved here. I needed it then just to get up off the ground as I worked on building the farm. Pain was always an issue but at that time I did not have the powerful pain medication plus I was still incredibly weak from being in a coma along with the paralysis on my right side. But what I am facing now is worse than then. I need to stick just to stand up from a chair and it requires both my hands to lift me up despite the pain. I’ve peed my pants several times now as I attempted to stand up or even sit upright in the bed. The pain medication barely touches it. I take aspirin to reduce the inflammation and that seems to help.

          So today is the fourth day with this. It doesn’t seem to be getting any better and in fact seems worse. If I twist ever so slightly the wrong way it is excruciating. As I walk a minor misstep freezes me up. Today, for the first time, as I sit still the muscles at the small of my back can suddenly tense up. When that happens I dare not move for it makes the pain worse but invariably it happens when I need to move or do something. Going to the bathroom is an adventure for sure, especially if I have to sit down.

          But this is a good thing. It forces me to focus on many of the tasks I have been putting aside as I work on the farm or go assist the senior citizens we help. I need to finish proof reading the book Ron Charles has written, for he will be here next week. Plus I have not been at all diligent regarding the bible studies, my biography, and various books regarding Christian issues that have been on my heart to write for some time now. I can’t sit too long as the pain gets more intense and I must walk with extreme care. Lying in bed is the least painful but from that position I can do the least. Plus it is much harder to get up out of the bed than it is to stand from the chair so the chair gets the privilege of my butt sitting on it.

I dug up the back brace I had and am using that, along with the big magnet pad Jim gave me when I worked for him a couple of years ago. He used to sell them as a fix for pain along with some magnetic insoles that go in my boots. Frankly I can’t tell if they do a thing but at this point I will try everything. I got the T.E.N.S unit that the VA sent me a year ago and have used it as well. It gives programmed electric shocks or stimulation to whatever muscle area you place the electrode pads on. I can’t tell that it does much either. The temptation to take more of the pain medication than is prescribed is very much there, and this tests my resolve for sure. Considering that I had once been addicted to and abused the very medication I am prescribed makes it a substantial challenge for sure.

I haven’t had much sleep the last few days and nodded off momentarily a few times as I wrote this, with my finger pressing on a key filling the page with whatever letter it was on. I think I need to get up and walk around a bit. That should loosen the back muscles up some and provide a little relief.

Naturally this is quite frustrating. I have tons of stuff to do. Monday I picked up a spare radiator from the mechanic that had replaced the one that just went bad in May. I need to remove the bad radiator so we can take it to Auto Zone. They will send it to someplace, where it will be inspected to determine if the radiator was defective. If it is found to be so then they are obligated to not only replace the radiator but also to repair the transmission that has been damaged from all the water that was mixed in the transmission fluid.

There are many watermelons that need to be harvested. Bending over to pick a daisy is close to impossible, but I can manage to do it because I am that stubborn. However cutting a heavy watermelon from the vine and then picking it up is quite a different story. I could do it but the price in pain is more than I care to pay so will leave them alone. I will put the word out to our many friends and let them know that they can have all the watermelons they want, if they come out and pick them.

I managed to replant all the corn that birds had pulled up between yesterday and today. All this corn was just breaking the surface and birds had flocked in to pull up the baby corn in order to eat the freshly sprouted seeds. Much of that the birds were unable to pull out but they did destroy many of the sprouts in the attempts. Cherie could hardly believe I did this for she has seen just how hard everything is on me right now. “How did you do that?” she asked. What I did was took my walking stick and poked a big hole in the ground. Then I would take each kernel of corn and carefully drop it, without bending over, because I couldn’t, hoping they would fall in the hole. The ones that missed I would gently nudge into the hole with the tip of my walking stick and then press it into place with a little dirt covering it. This left each new seed planted in a hole about three inches deep but with only a half inch or so of dirt on top. The reason I did it that way is that this will make each new corn sprout hard for birds to reach, thus giving them room to get established.

Sunday we borrowed a small portable wire welder from one of our friends at First Baptist Midland. I intend to use it to repair the teeth on the flywheel of our diesel truck. Lifting the welder and placing it in the trunk of Cherie’s car may have contributed to my back being out. Who knows. I also have to consider the possibility that the gout I continually fight may have come back and set up shop in the old injuries of my back. Just in case I am taking the gout medicine again and stepped up the amount of water I drink. Unfortunately this means more trips to the bathroom, each one a painful journey. That is one of the contributing factors to my not getting much sleep last night.

The odds of me being able to move and set up two railroad ties, carefully steer the diesel on top of them, and then crawling underneath with the welder and a grinder to repair that flywheel are pretty slim right now. But it needs to be done as that is the truck that stands the best chance of being made drivable soon. Right now we are down to one vehicle that runs, while three others sit here broke down. Wisdom says it would be a good idea to get one of them running.

There is a lot of grass that needs mowing and that too will have to wait. Right now I can’t even pull the starter cord. Some of it can only be reached by the lawnmower but there is a lot that can be mowed with the bush hog hooked up the tractor. I need to mow the rest of the rye down as well. I’m not real concerned about saving the grain out of it but sure can use the stalks as a clean mulch straw.

The wheat we may miss out on. I have been looking forward to grinding our own whole wheat flower but weeds are growing tall there and some of it got moldy. I am hoping to get a scythe soon, one I can use to harvest the wheat with. If it doesn’t arrive then I will have to mow all the wheat down and then disk it into the ground. Whether it will germinate and grow or not I don’t know. There are a lot of blanks in my mind about agriculture so am not sure how that works. It would be a shame to not be able to harvest enough wheat seed to plant it early spring.

And I need to start preparing for next spring already. We desperately need a tiller that runs to till up where the tomato plants are now. That whole area needs to be dramatically redone and changed. My idea of planting in five gallon buckets with the bottoms cut out turns out to not have worked as good as I hoped. The Bermuda grass is aggressively invasive and grew up from underneath each bucket, competing with the tomatoes and peppers. What I think I will do next time is to use buckets that still have the bottoms in them. This also will prevent the gophers from tunneling in and eating the roots. Plus I must redesign the drip irrigation lines as many are damaged and don’t reach the areas needed. Then I have to reinforce each of the six foot tall T-posts. Some have cracked under the weight that came when some tomato plants grew well and bore much fruit. That was 2 years ago. They haven’t done very well the last 2 years.

The in ground drip irrigation also needs to be repaired and reinstalled in a better way. So I have plenty of work to do all winter long. I intend to get things planted early next year. Lord willing we will do well. Lord willing I will not be in this pain long.  


Loretta said...

I hate you are in such pain...I pray it will get better very soon.

Bob Westbrook said...

I appreciate the prayers. I know that God will bring something good from this.