Thursday, July 10, 2008

Broken Backs and Sad Goodbyes.

The past few weeks have been tough, but there's finally some light filtering through the clouds. About a month ago I woke up with a sore back - not really a big deal. But as the day progressed things got a little weird. It started with a tingling in my left hand which eventually turned into complete numbness, then partial paralysis. As I said: Weird.

Anyhow, I went to see my family doctor, he checked a few things then pronounced the verdict: a herniated disk. WTF! I'm 35 for crissakes, only "old guys" get herniated disks, right? Wrong. So the doc sent me over to get an MRI to make sure, and sure enough he was right. So it was bedrest, anti-inflammatory meds and physiotherapy for me. Great. And of course, no motorcycling. Shit.

So I've been a good boy, following my regiment, doing physio 2 or 3 times per week. Truth be told, my physiotherapist is the best. Our first session consisted of a half-hour chat as she tried to get a good idea of where the ouch was. Then she got to work! We used electrodes to stimulate and relax tense back muscles, then ultrasonic therapy, deep body massages, traction, and on and on. But it works! Still have to keep doing physio, but I've recovered most mobility in my left hand. Only the index finger is still numb and dumb... but we're working on it.

Finally last Saturday I was able to go out for a ride. Still had to be careful though, as I only had three fingers for clutching duties rather than the full-fisted approach I usually use - but it wasn't too bad. The clutch action on a V-Strom is fairly light, so it made things easier. Wandered around town for a bit, but quickly decided to stop for a visit at a local MC shop to look for a mesh jacket as the temps outside were hitting the low thirties and the long black touring jacket was making quick work of cooking me to a crisp (30 degrees Celsius, of course, for the non-metrics out there, that would be in the mid-eighties). Found exactly what I wanted in a Teknic Supervent Jacket (grey) which some guy had purchased, worn once, then returned. Got it for $75, which ain't bad at all considering it retails for about $280.

With that taken care of, I headed back out on the road and decided to ride the Fundy Trail down to Alma. Conditions were perfect and although I did get a little discomfort in my upper vertabrae (C5 to C7 for you geeks out there), my mind hadn't been this much at ease for quite some time. So although my doctor and physiotherapist wouldn't have approved, I'm sure any reputable psychologist out there would've given me a thumbs-up. Unfortunately, the feeling was going to be shortlived.

On Sunday morning, I was enjoying my coffee when the phone rang. It was my mother. Granddad had passed away earlier that day. He'd been sick for some time now, spending the past 7 months in a hospital room, but the moment you hear the news it still hits pretty hard. I'd driven up to Bathurst three weeks earlier to visit him, and although he was weak, he still sat up strait and proud in his chair. And he still had a firm handshake.

Grandad and Grandma would've celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary later this summer, and although this may sound corny, they were still very much in love. I always admired how perfectly they matched each other, they had a kinship that could be felt by all who met them. He was ninety and he will be dearly missed by his eight kids, 20 grandkids, and 14 great-grandkids. We laid him to rest yesterday afternoon, a beautiful summer's day.

This morning I'm feeling a little introspective, and melancholy weighs heavy on my mind. We had thunderstorms for most of the night, but as is always the case after a storm, the sun is now filtering through the clouds. It's a new day.


Mind Body Shop said...

learn to create silence in your mind and peace will flourish in your heart. Don't overthink and the answer will present itself to you..

Lucky said...

What? Fortune cookie?

You'll have to excuse me, but I'm not much into new-age touchy-feely stuff.

Recipe for peace of mind:
1 - Ride motorcycle until all else fades from your mind.
2 - If still having issues, repeat Step 1.


Doug K. said...

Lucky, welcome back. I was wondering what had happened to you.

Sorry to hear about your grandad's passing but it sounds like he was well loved and respected and you cannot buy that with all the money in the world.

Bummer about your back. I fractured three vertebrae back in '75 and have nerve pressure and disk issues in my neck now (yeah, you're right, it's an old guy problem, especially after a misspent youth!). Anyway, just keep up the therapy, do what the doc says, don't push it, and you'll still be rolling down the road when you're an old fahrt like me.