Woke up Sunday morning with my right leg — held together by pins, screws, braces and rods — throbbing and hot to the touch.
Two straight days of working on my feet — first at the home opener of FCHS’s varsity football Buffaloes and second shooting video of the eighth season opener of the Floyd Radio Show — left me hobbling and wincing at the pain.
“How’s the leg?” The question came from Amy when I crawled out of bed before sunup.
“Hurts like a son-of-a-bitch,” I muttered before crawling into the shower and letting the hot water soothe the aching muscles and bones.
Afterwards, with a cup of hot coffee in hand, I hobbled into my studio to scan the morning headlines and stories for use of my political news website and footage of the video shot Saturday night at the radio show.
First came the morning meds: 100mg of Tramadol, 200mg of Naproxen Sodium (generic Aleve), 100mg of Losartan potassium (for blood pressure), two Osteo B-Flex joint health tablets, one multi-vitamin pill and one 81mg aspirin tablet (for blood circulation).
I’m attempting to taper off the Tramadol, a synthetic opioid for pain, and am in the second week of slowly reducing the daily dosage of 600mg. This week is 500mg: two pills in the morning, two at noon and one in the evening. It will take five weeks to reduce the meds to zero: A long-overdue need after taking the drug since my near-fatal motorcycle accident more than five-and-a-half years ago.
For too many years, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) said use of Tramadol was not addictive. They changed their minds and now list it as Schedule IV “controlled substance” that can result in tolerance and a need for increased dosages after long-term use. I’ve been taking 600mg of the drug daily for several years and have not felt I need more (which would be a sign of addiction) but why take chances.
Then again, reducing the amount of medication could be why my right leg, rebuilt by an orthopedic surgeon in 2012 after my motorcycle accident, is now hurting so badly. I used to take two 50mg pills each night before bed. I’ve been on one this week and will be reducing the current five pills a day routine to four on Monday.
The leg pain did ease after taking the morning dosages of Tramadol and Naproxen Sodium. Sunday is a day off from the gym. Let’s see what happens after working up a sweat on the cardio bike and weight machines on Monday.
This year was my last coverage of FloydFest for media. Five days of roaming the wide expanse of the vast site off the Blue Ridge Parkway (most of it in Patrick County) convinced me it was time to step away after 14 years. Same for this year’s Carroll County Gun Show & Flea Market in Hillsville. I’ve shot photos and video there several times.
No more. At age 70, I have to slow down…at least a little. I’ll stick to high school athletic events, musical shows and news coverage of court, boards of supervisors and other assignments for the newspaper.
Then again, I might not be able to slow down. Old habits are hard to break, especially for those of us who are old.
Damned old age.