In which I learn to love my clamshells, one-leg stands, and ibuprofen
It comes to this:
|Blue sky and ears at the bottom of the photo = my idea of Heaven|
If I want to see lots more miles and have lots more photos like this:
|I can't help noticing that Flower is quite a lot shorter|
than the Dragon...but nearly as wide!
I gotta be willing to do this:
|Do NOT attempt this at home. |
Trained Dragon and rider, closed course.
and, err, this.
|Yeah, it looks dumb. And it's freakin' difficult, too!|
But it really helps strengthen the parts of me that
need to be stronger.
The X-rays confirm what we suspected about my sudden severe lameness for the past few weeks: moderate changes consistent with osteo-arthritis.
It could be a lot worse. Nobody is using "s-words."
("severe" and "surgery" are both out of the picture, at least for now)
It's pretty obvious that the free ride I've enjoyed by being "not much older than 40" is over.
I'm now on the part of the journey labeled "closer to 50."
That means I need to be pro-active about pain management. I need to begin each day with NSAIDS, and supplement with additional ibuprofen whenever the pain and/or swelling ramps up above a "2 " or a "3" on the pain chart. The chart goes up to "10", which equals "kill me now." When I was trying to ride last week, I was getting spikes of 7 and 8. That's not good.
I've always been pretty stoic about pain and pretty resistant to using pain meds. However, after some lectures by people who know what they are talking about (and some follow-up research of my own, of course), I'm a believer: I need to prevent inflammation and pain, rather than try to chase it.
After a week of PT and enacting new, stringent pain-management protocols, I went riding yesterday!
|One of the Dragon's favorite trails|
About two hours, about 8 miles. Pain never spiked above a 3. I took a few ibuprofen while I was out there, to supplement the NSAIDS already on board. I could've gone further or a bit faster....but opted for a short, conservative ride to see what the "after-effects" would be.
RESULT: Pain level of !!!ZERO!!! for at least 30 minutes of the ride, and for several hours after returning home. When I needed more ibuprofen and an ice pack I wasn't shy. I got what I needed, and I used it.
This morning, I returned to physical therapy. Lance had already seen the "yoga on horseback" photos, courtesy of Patty (her PT is earlier on Monday mornings than mine!)
He asked me,
"How high do you need to get your foot so you can get on your horse?"
Here's the photo, Lance:
|Renegade Rendezvous finish line, 2011. Photo by M. Bretherton.|
The stirrup is just about level with the knot on the sweatshirt around my waist.
(of course, I frequently use mounting blocks, rocks, stumps, and the bumpers of random pickup trucks. I also taught Fee to stre-e-e-e-tch out her front legs a bit, which drops her shoulder...by about an inch. It's still a freakin' long way to the top of this horse.)
Now you can understand why I'm so motivated!
|This one stretches my hip and my bum.|
And it hardly hurts at all.
I religiously practice my PT "homework": clamshells, and one-leg stands. I've learned to tell the difference between "it's difficult" (keep going!) and "it hurts" (stop immediately!)
Because there is still a whole world of this
|Blue sky, Canadian mountains in the distance.|
out there waiting for me.
It's really Good.