Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Getting Back on the Horse?

Not hardly. Being in this state of "limited mobility" where even the ability to sit up for long enough to blog comes and goes, I have had to learn mindfulness when it comes to moving myself from one place to another.

The Hornet of HateI fell off the ladder on September 10th. I vaguely remember thinking "oh, I'm in shock. This is what shock feels like." I don't have good recall about the "incidents and accidents" of my fall from grace. Or my graceless plunge. Or my hasty descent in order to avoid having to share the figs in my hand with the hornet buzzing my face. In my many, varied and endless what-ifs (okay, about five of them, maybe) I learned a couple of things:

1. I need an IQ test. Going up a ladder without a container for the figs was careless. Coming down the ladder trying to hold onto both sides with handfuls of figs was stupid in the extreme. The white-faced hornet was just thrown in there by Fate, hoping for a few laughs.

2. Had I jumped away instead of merely slip sliding away, I might have avoided catching my left foot between two rungs of the ladder and in effect torquing my leg as I went down. The position flipped me onto the ground with some force, probably doing some damage to either the muscle or the bone in the lower back of my back -- whatever that area is between the lumbar region and the coccyx.

3. Don't have an accident when your doctor is on the way out of town. The other docs have been willing to prescribe pain meds but no one wants a follow-up visit so I can't get a referral for a back brace...and Lord knows if I'm supposed to do any exercises. I have two choices: (a) do mild back exercises like The Bridge and take a chance on exacerbating the problem since I don't know what I'm doing, or (b) do nothing and take a chance on letting things get set in stone. I've opted for (b) since it's easier to chip away at the stone -- i.e., take longer to come back to some sense of normalcy than it is to mess up with even more damaging and lasting pain. Since I seem to be slowly healing -- it takes less and less time and pain to get from a prone position to standing -- I plan to leave Bad Enough Alone. Or is that a supine position? I get "prone" and "supine" mixed up. I mean, we say "I'm prone to accidents" but we never say we're supine to them. I wonder why that is?

4. Pain and immobility is an excellent excuse to read yourself blind. First I went through what was on hand:

Krakatoa by Simon Winchester. An excellent book to read when the air is full of Katrina...puts her in perspective. Krakatoa killed somewhere around 35,500 people in short order. Too bad it was before the MSM. They could've eaten out on that story for decades.

The eruptions produced two kinds of shock waves. One was a wave that passed invisibly through the air, a sudden burst of pressure that bounced around the world, and was recorded doing so, moreover, a remarkable seven times....

...the other shocks, considerably more complex in the way they moved, of much shorter duration but of equally extraordinary geographic speed [the air wave moved at 675 mph], involved the disruption of the surrounding seawater...

He follows on with several pages of description of the many tsunamis generated by the destruction of the volcano -- which latter disappeared into the sea as it blew itself into eternity, pushing out waves 135 feet high to crash against the coast of Java.

Guess what? Another island is building itself at the rate of several feet a year. Another volcanic island which will, in a thousand, in ten thousand, in who-knows-how many years, again blow itself to Kingdom Come.

That's what happens when tectonic plates get together for a party.

Then, The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson. I thought I'd gone past fantasy and science fiction, but there I was again, immersed. I would love to have a "Young Lady's Primer" to escort me through life. Primers for women of a certain age wouldn't hurt, either. But that's not the age bracket fantasy and science fiction is meant for.

Alexander McCall Smith, on the other hand, has captured this demographic to perfection. His series about The Number One Ladies' Detective Agency, set in Botswana, is so beautifully rendered in small, perfect detail that one is drawn into the scenes, walking the dry land and as much in love with it as Mma is. How he does his magic is beyond me, since I prefer lush southern climes to the arid Kalahari. Nonetheless, his books are a natural anti-depressant for anyone in love with words who finds themselves confined and immobile.

I'm partway through The Barbary Wars by Frank Lambert. Read it if you want to understand how fragile was our federation of states in the early days, how prominent the silly mercantilist views that caused so much disorder and death and mayhem. Greed is but fear in another cloak.

While in the doctor's office for my first visit, I snagged Isak Dinesen's Anecdotes of Destiny. Short stories, it has "Babette's Feast" in it. I rationalized that I'd be back in that office often enough to return the book when I was finished. Turned out I was right, alas.

Among the leftover books from last year's classes, I found the Baron's Boy's The First Americans by J.M. Adovasio. If for nothing else, read it to realize even more deeply what a vipers' pit the world of academe is. He describes scenes of humiliation and outrage that rival anything written about the Curia. These guys make the Curia look like small change. But I did learn what a Clovis Point is.

Evenings in the Palace of Reason I've barely started. It's about Frederick and Bach -- I can't wait to see how Bach slays the dragon, even if the dragon is his son's employer.

The Baron brought home Mona Charen's The Do-Gooders but I think its intended audience has already absorbed all that information. I like Ms. Charen's style, but there was nothing new for me...except this: did you know that the Catholic diocese of New York City accepted Shanker's challenge to take on the worst of his students and make of them decent, intelligent citizens? Turns out that Catholic schools in New York City, whose student population is 85% non-Catholic and drawn from the same demographic as Shanker's Shame, routinely and stellarly outperforms the bloated public school pork house in all academic areas. So did you buy the old saw that Catholic schools do well because they don't take problem students? I went for that once. No more. Yep: the soft bigotry of lowered expectations all over again.

Don't know what to tell you about Koinonia by Patrick de Mare, et al. My intuition says it's much ado about nothing, but I'm going back to it to see if perhaps I missed something. It is very definitely 1970's, but there are authors and ideas from that period which still resonate for me. The notion of community is fraught with problems and alive with hope.

Sooo....no horse. Just lots of pillows and books and thinking about what I might do once I'm mobile again.

Like, maybe I could blog more.


At 2:57 PM, Blogger gmat said...

I'm sorry you got hurt. Sounds like a bad fall, but good news, you're feeling better! If you want to do something nice for yourself, Steve Vegodsky, a chiropractor in C-ville, works magic, and his ultrasound tech, whose name I forget, is great to talk to. Take care.

At 12:39 PM, Blogger ML said...

Sorry to hear about your back injury. When you reach the point where your doctor offers to refer you to Physical Therapy, go, go, go. I'm still stiff and achy when I get up in the morning, but after my exercises I'm set for the day. (herniated disk in lower back, now degenerated). --Martha

At 10:46 AM, Blogger JR said...

I remember the difference between prone and supine by picturing laying on my back (my spine is against the surface = supine).

Nurse Jane says you should be taking short (5 - 10 minute) walks on a flat surface three times a day. Every third day ncrease the walks by a few minutes.

Heigh ho Silver!

At 1:11 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

I was laid up all summer with a back injury incurred in a car accident on May 17. I found the blogosphere because I couldn't do much else but sit around the house.

PT helps a lot, but I find therapeutic massages of the most help, I think. My injury doesn't involve vertebrae, but does involve sciatica and muscle spasms.

Swimming is the only sport I've yet been able to resume, and swimming helped me to maintain and increase flexibility. My tolerance for power-walking is somewhat limited, but improving (if these bunions would settle down, that is).

Sad fact: as we get older, the recovery time increases.

All the best for your recovery.

At 4:58 PM, Blogger Dymphna said...

Thanks, everyone, for the encouragement. That in itself makes me feel better.

gmat-- I know the good doctor. A nice guy. His child and ours went to the same school for a few years (Tandem Friends).

We have a good friend in Farmville who is a 3rd generation chiropractor. I hadn't thought about taking that route, but I will call him.

Went to my family doctor today and she wanted to do a referral for an orthopedist exam. No broken bones on the xray so an MRI might give a better indication of what the knee injury actually entails...I talked her into letting me go two more weeks to see if time might not be the best cure...she sighed, called me a stoic, and agreed.

Funny, I dreamed last month that we had a swimming pool installed in the yard, right in the spot where they are coming tomorrow to take down a way-too-big wild cherry tree...dream on!

That's a good mnemonic for "supine"...can't miss.

At 10:48 PM, Blogger Bill Vallicella said...

May your reentry into your prelapsarian condition be speedy indeed. Readings to avoid: Brian Leiter, Johannes Climacus, the Tractarian Wittgenstein.


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