Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I managed to blow out my back last weekend and I’ve been a bit slow in the recovery department. This makes the 3rd time in 6 years (and I am only 29!). I finally went in to the Chiropractor to have it looked at and had an MRI done over the weekend. Blown L5 disc. I haven’t been back in yet (tomorrow), but looking over the MRIs everything looks fine till you get down the L5. I am not expert, though I may have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express at some point in time in my life, but the disc is bulged outward in to my spinal cord. Not sure if it is simply a bulge or an out right herniation (which is where the Chiropractor comes in…that and what I should be doing to help heal faster and not have this happen again). At any rate, not fun. Until the last couple of days it was pretty much impossible to sit for more than a couple of minutes because of severe sciatic pain down my left leg and earlier I basically couldn’t bend over and walking was a real treat, lets not even talk about lifting ANYTHING. 9 days on since I hurt my back I am doing a lot better. With good lumbar support I can sit for an hour at a time before it starts getting uncomfortable and I have about 50% of my pre-injury flexibility back and walking is generally just fine with only a slight limp (though not really painful). Lifting is still impossible/bad idea, but I can at least carry my daughter for 5 or 10 minutes before the discomfort starts setting in.
To continue on this non-photography note, I had recently been really getting back in to exercising in a big way. Having children makes free time very scarce and with new babies sleep is difficult to stitch together for more than a few hours at a time. Well for a little over a year now I have been exercising using stretch bands to give my upper body a work out. I had been trying to about 20-30 minutes every other day, though until about a month ago I was lucky to do it once every 5 days. So for the last month I had been pretty religously (and not the twice a year Christmas and Easter Mass kind) using the stretch bands every other day and in between I had even gotten back in to jogging.
That is all of course on pause for now. I think with the repeated back injuries I possibly going to have to stay away from jogging entirely, which is a shame because in general I LIKE to run. I did Cross Country and Track and Field through most of high school (I was more a sprinter though) and ran on my own through college and for a couple of years afterward. However, both my Grand Father and Father had/have bad backs with blown discs. My father also has a not so great knee from doing a lot of running when he was younger. So I get the signs from the universe, high impact exercise, not a good idea for me. So we (my family) joined out local YMCA primarily for their pool, but they also have great child care, so we can drop off our kids and use the weight machines, tread mills, pools, etc for an hour or so. Also it allows us to get really cheap swimming lessons for our kids ($30 for 3 MONTHS of swim lessons!). So what I am looking at doing now is getting in to swimming.
Enter irony. My wife grew up as a swimmer since a young age. A really, really good swimmer. Maybe not quite Olympian level (no offense honey, I love you), but good enough that if she had kept at it after high school possibly/probably at least junior nationals or even full on senior national team (IE one step away from US Olympics team as I understand it). Now a days she is running and enjoying it. She has been since May and is keeping at it with a dedication I haven’t seen out of her in a long time. So now my wife, the born swimmer is turning in to a runner and me, the born runner, is turning in to a swimmer. Sigh.
I am also going to try to get on my bike in a few days once I think my back is doing a bit better as that is fairly low impact as well and I really, really love biking (I just don’t live in a great area for it, or at least if I want to do some nice biking I have to throw my bike in the trunk of my car and drive at least 10-15 minutes to nice bike paths, which is hard to do when I have so little free time as it is).
I am also feeling like “an old man” as I am taking about half a dozen different supplements, vitamins, homeopathic stuff and herbal medications to help with my back/joints. At least once I am feeling better I can simply cut it back to a couple of supplements and a vitamin, that and I am pretty much off taking ibuprofen for the pain. I am just hoping my back is recovered enough that by October or November I can go backpacking. I think it will, but I also don’t want to push it. Hauling 35-40lbs on your back is maybe not the easiest on your discs, but darn it all, I am NOT giving up backpacking. Though this fall, maybe I’ll stick to the nice flat and low impact C&O towpath instead of heading out to West Virginia or the AT and give it a further 6 months before I tackle something a little rougher.
On a photography note, I do have a review of the Olympus 17mm coming soon, I hope tomorrow if I am able to get half an hour in front of my computer tonight. Also a few miscellaneous pictures from the last couple of weeks. I may also be going to the Udvar Hazy Air and Space Museum this weekend with the boys and my friend and his son. The camera will definitely be along for that. I’ve been wanting to go there to photograph for a couple of years now.