Looking on the Bright Side

Dinner (spinach aloo something from India in a bag, brown bread with lots of pesto), a Panadol type anti-inflammatory, and a mild opioid “tranquilizer” as prescribed. Have to bring down the levels of pain medication because feeling a MODERATE amount of pain teaches me how to “move in measure, like a dancer, through the fire”.

In addition to my no-excuses morning workout, I plan a Yoga or meditation session for the evening.

The sciatic nerve is damaged not destroyed since if it were destroyed, I’d have equine cauda where you lose bowel control. Can it heal? If it is being irritated by a herniated disk yes, but if it is being irritated by an osteophyte a bit of aging bone sticking out, then no unless it is moved out of the way.

But this cannot be done by way of surgery after 60 and surgery is strongly discouraged. So in my workouts I am searching for a modus vivendi with the new order in my sore ass.

My plan once this week’s two outpatient surgeries are complete and I have recovered (two weeks) is to do an extended workout by way of water dancing for more than 60 minutes. This will release more endorphins and may help me devise a way to better deal with my pain. During my ten milers in the Palo Alto hills of 1982 I had deep insights “tranced under trees in the eldritch light of sundown”. During a 20 mile training run I had an LSD style experience.

However, I need to make sure that all operation scars are healed nicely. My crude test will be to see if alcohol stings because it does when there’s a break in the skin.

Listen! This is no joke: British sailors sang this in lifeboats during the Falklands. 

Optimism going forward and gratitude going backward are more rational as Spinoza knew. So what if I never run again? I had an incredibly long career as a runner: thirty years with hardly a break. Most people die in terminal dreamland as opposed to great pain in developed countries which is why one strategy to deal with the pain of the other is to actively think with compassion.

Suppose a man is poor and is given an income for thirty years but not allowed to save it. At the end of that period he would be best prepared mentally if he was grateful to his sponsor and prepared for poverty.

It’s a very simple insight, and I have to add…I also feel a lot of anger but am able to see explosions before they occur

I think Buddha may have meant that suffering and release from suffering are two sides of the same coin. The acceptance of one’s own suffering and compassion for the other’s is the release.

But do remember this: I am not writing about cancer pain. My as yet explained carcinoma, the presence of bad cells in lymph nodes, has given me only slight discomfort. My pain is the sciatica and that’s caused by normal age-linked degeneration as far as we know.

I will be PET scanned on Tuesday and plan to ask for copies of all scans. I need to visualize the situation with the sciatic nerve.



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