Fighting the Winter blues

Gray skies and cold temperatures are not floating my boat. I find myself wanting to curl up and take a nap. All the time. And oddly enough my sinuses are acting up. Calgon, take me away.

The Pile

I spent three days earlier this month shoveling snow and cleaning up yard debris. The trees in our yard took some big hits from the wet, clingy snow. Our sole surviving cedar nearly fell over a power line. Our eastern redbud split one of its trunks. And the neighbors massive silver maple lost major limbs, one of which missed my wife’s SUV by five inches.

Storm debris pile -early January 2022

Big Nellie and The Mule

My bike riding isn’t setting the world on fire. The last time I rode so little was in the aftermath of my pulmonary embolisms four years ago. I suppose the good news is that I bounced back from that very strong, and rode 4,300 miles to the Pacific only a few months later.

About one-third of the time this month I’ve been doing 30 mile rides outdoors on The Mule; otherwise I’ve been riding Big Nellie on a resistance trainer in the basement. As is usually the case, I find that I can read faster with my legs spinning. I’m already done with my Christmas present books.

Stick Me Baby One More Time

What would winter be like without taking a ride on the medical merry-go-round. Although it was diagnosed only in 2019, I have been dealing with varying degrees of stenosis pain since at least 2014. That year I struggled to hike Sugarloaf Mountain in Maryland. The following summer I hiked Old Rag on my 60th birthday. The long hike downhill was unexpectedly difficult.

For the last two years I have been doing 10 to 15 minutes of physical therapy exercises every day. This allows me about 30 minutes of pain free walking and standing. If I wear Hoka shoes, I can walk a half mile with minimal discomfort, and using trekking poles, I can walk up to three miles. Still, walking is exhausting as my body tries to compensate for ever increasing tension in my back and legs. If I do anything more than three miles or walk in normal shoes, I am in pain city.

I had been seeing a physiatrist (pain doctor). In early 2021 she injected my back with multiple cortisone shots. Prior to the shots I couldn’t walk 100 feet without pain. I was supposed to get another round of shots but then the pandemic hit, I hunkered down, and she left her medical practice.

The other day I found that she is at another practice so I am going to see her to try to re-boot the injections. They are extremely painful. I am hopeful that one or two rounds of cortisone will set me right for a while.

3 thoughts on “Fighting the Winter blues

  1. I’m with ya on wanting to nap all the time. I’ve become one with my bed.

    Good luck with the cortisone stuff, I feel for you as my sciatica gets worse and worse. I can’t imagine what you’ve had to go through. Praying for some relief for you soon!

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