20 February, 2013

Oh my, the delerious joys of becoming old, and having one’s body decompose whist one is still riding around in it.  I have a number of lower cervical and upper thoracic vertebrae that seem to have decided that the war has been lost.  They have surrendered, thrown down their arms, and started to trek home.  In practical terms, this seems to be that spine in the region of those vertebrae is seeming to turn to mush, and this is resulting in all sorts of pinched nerves.  And this leads to a lot of pain.  And as this is an ongoing “performance” the manifestions of I get to endure change more-or-less randomly.  So, a couple of days ago, I went out to fill our bird feeders and spread a little seed on the gound, mostly for the resident red polls and the huge visiting flocks of rosy finches.

Rosy Finch during the winter in Wilsall, MT.

Grey Crowned Rosy Finch.

Rosy Finches Feeding

Grey-crowned Rosy Finches in a Feeding Melee Around a Hanging Feeder Filled With Sunflower Seeds.


Three Spring Finches: Common Red Poll male (center) with a House Finch (male - left) and a Pine Siskin (male - right)

Common Red Poll male (center) with a House Finch (male – left) and a Pine Siskin (male – right)

I had finished this activity which really involved next to no work, and was walking down my drive way toward the house and my upper back gave a “twinge…”.  By the time I was in the house, maybe 30 steps later, I could hardly stand the pain.  Well, it seems I had better get used to it.   That was three days ago, and it has not gotten any less “interesting”.  At times in the past, I have had epidural injections of a blocking agent for an earlier manifestation.  When those symptoms first arrived I had been doing some heavy labor in our yard and figured I had injured my back that way.  So, we trundled me off to our physician and he referred me to the large magnet down the hall, and I had an MRI.  It showed that what was going on, and that it was a whole lot worse than a transient injury.  Since then, the pain has come and gone.  Until fairly recently, it was mostly ignorable.

I have presumed that at least part of the ultimate cause of this were the many small cases of the bends I got back in my diving days.  We did a lot of our initial diving by using  the old  1956 “U. S.  Navy” diving tables; the old, 60 feet at 60 minutes for no decompression, tables; furthermore these tables were modified by a healthy dose of “that’s close enough”, or “I need just a minute more”.  So we stretched the tables a tad, not a lot, just a bit.  But that stretching was done over (in my case) a lot of dives.  Research, of course, has since shown that such diving leads to a lot of cases of the bends.  I know I got a few minor cases of decompression sickness, aka “the bends”,  but they weren’t serious.  Or so I thought.  Now, I think those “hits”, in turn, have come back to haunt me with the later-in-life problems such as mine.   The MRI showed that while I have a few REALLY bad areas in my spine, the WHOLE spine is affected and in bad shape.  Unfortunately, they don’t have spine transplants yet.

Anyway…  the upshot is that I am not feeling all that mobile right now.  Ah, well, so what else is new?

What is new?  

I am starting to blog on the Reef2Rainforest website.   I will still keep blogging here, particularly for my “Ecological Observations From Northeastern Pacific Subtidal Habitats” series and my weekly or semiweekly blogs.  I have submitted my first blog to the site editor, and it should show up on the site sometime soon.   I hope.

Until later!

Cheers, Ron


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