Increasing difficulty walking and weakness of strength in my lower extremities Friday put me before the orthopedic surgeon who saved my right leg after what is now remembered as the “great cow encounter of late 2012” on my Harley-Davidson.
A full MRI of my spinal column may determine the causes of the condition or it could also be the rapidly advancing arthritis that hobbles a 71-year-old man with a long and painful history on major injuries.
Immediate treatment? Cortisone shots in both knees and advice on alterations to my daily physical conditioning program that includes 35 minutes of aggressive cardiovascular workouts and another 25 minutes of strengthening workouts.
That program began last summer and, combined with diet, removed more than 30 pounds from my overloaded frame, but I still have at least 30 more to go and the conditioning ran into a roadblock recently when my knees started giving out and numbness took control of my legs.
The MRIs should reveal what, if any, problems in my old and tired spine might be causing some of the problems. I had back pain in the weeks leading up to the motorcycle crash on Nov. 9. 2012, but that pain strangely disappeared after recovering of the more critical injuries that included multiple broken bones in my right leg, traumatic brain trauma and a serious need to rebuild the right side of my face and put the right eye back into place.
When I commented about the loss of back pain to one of the doctors just before discharge on Christmas Eve, he laughed and said that maybe the accident had straightened out my spine when I slammed into the pavement on Nov. 9.
Carilion x-rayed, CT scanned and MRI’ed every inch of my body multiple times during my hospital stay and found no problems in my spinal area. Maybe that has changed.
Or maybe the daily pain medications (300 mgs of Tramadol and more than 500 mgs of sodium naproxen) masks any pain in the back. If something is out of sync in the back, I will soon know.
Every time I go to a doctor since 2012, I get at least one comment that “you are an extremely lucky man” or “you’re still in amazingly good shape, considering your age and what your body has gone through.”
Yes, I am. I pray every day to thank every entity or person responsible for that luck and survival.
My thanks to each of you.
I’m a lucky guy with a good life, a great wife and a fantastic place to live and work.
On this day, I am sober for 24 years, seven months and three days. I tried one illegal drug in my life (marijuana), didn’t like it and haven’t gone near any others since. My drug of choice for 32 years was single-malt scotch and other alcoholic substances. As I approach 25 years of sobriety, I continue to fight to avoid relapse one day at a time.
On the other hand, I admit to a shameless addiction to caffeine. I drink robust cups of coffee from the time I get up until I go to sleep at night.
Perfect? Not even close. Sinful? Every day. Trying to be better? I hope and pray so.