I wrote about initial plans for sabbatical a bit ago. Those did not work thanks to Covid.
Two weeks into Plan B, I’m learning that perhaps my lesson of the time off is to step back and not plan and let life happen. Every idea that flitted through my mind as a great thing to try has been thwarted so far. Letting go is hard to do, though.
Plan B was to go on long mountain hikes and immerse in online coding courses for fun. But the neck pain I have been experiencing since mid-March is only getting worse. I stopped dancing thanks to the pain (although I still join the classes to watch the steps and learn about the music), and it hurts to walk on any sort of incline/decline. Thinking a hiatus from computers could help, I stopped blogging and coding for a bit. It helped a little, but not much.
Finally, I went to a dr. Thank goodness offices are starting to open. I’m so not used to people-ing nowadays that I felt quite discombobulated heading out the door. I told Chris I felt like I was forgetting something, but maybe it was just him. I’m used to us doing most things together, but that morning we had decided to do our own things.
It wasn’t until I was halfway to the dr appt that I realized I had accidentally put on my bathing suit skirt instead of the normal skirt I wear.
Seems like I’m doing well with the relaxing part of sabbatical. :blush:
The front is mini-skirt level, but the back rides a bit higher — so not great for public. But it was too late to drive home and change. I decided to go boldly and act as if I did that on purpose. Of course this would be an appointment where I was sent to another place for x-rays and then to Walmart for medications. Oy vey. So many people.
The dr trip was worth it. I found out I’ve got several issues with the muscles, deep tissue (tissue issues, hahah) and some bone spurs on the front and back of three vertebrae.
This means I am supposed to stop anything that causes me pain (it won’t help to push through — I asked) and three times a day I’m supposed to apply heat for 10-15 minutes, apply a cream then apply cold compresses for 10-15 minutes. My friend Pat gave me an over-the-door neck stretcher a few months ago, which is perfect. The dr said to keep that up.
I also have meds to reduce inflammation and handle pain and will hopefully start physical therapy soon. At first the dr thought it might be a few weeks before I could even start therapy due to lockdowns, but it seems I lucked out. They are starting to open, and should be calling me within a few days.
Sabbatical plans did not include excessive amounts of time sitting on my duff listening to audio books and watching movies — about all I can do pain-free at the moment. I had a day where I was quite bitter about it. Poor Chris listened calmly, gave words of encouragement and sent me off to take a relaxing bath — a perfect solution. After that I realized this timing of all could be a real gift.
If I had gone to Europe as initially planned, those flights could have been soooo painful. The same would happen with a drive to Utah. If I were still working, I would be pushing through lots of pain and trying to find time around work hours for PT and compresses. Time is not a concern at this point.
We still thought of traveling to Utah as more of the country opens up, but the dates we had set to go aren’t working out because the kids are taking turns coming east 🙂 I get the joy of seeing them without the pain of travel. What a gift.
As always, there is the Buddy factor to put things in perspective. My friend was a quadriplegic, and still embraced life despite limitations. I have no right to complain when others have it so much worse.
Now I’m trying to think of things I can do that might not take too much neck movement. I can probably code or blog for an hour or so every few days.
And I’m enjoying watching birds (any good tips for identifying birds in the northeast US? I’m looking for something like https://aussiebirder.com/ but for the New England area).
Exercising is possible on small levels — flat walks, sitting at the pool edge and kicking my feet in the water without feeling it in my neck. Doable.
I’m pretty certain I’m not the first person to go through something like this… Any other ideas for ways to calmly, productively pass time without pain?