2020 Life Logs, Day 132: Book Club Day and More
Date: Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Weather: Partly Sunny; High 53, Low 38 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA
The thermometer this morning read the same as yesterday morning, so I put on my winter coat and hat to take the dog out for a walk. I immediately had to come back inside and change into a lighter weight jacket and get rid of the hat. The sunshine and the lack of high winds made it feel much warmer this morning despite what the thermometer said. But despite the lovely weather, I had to get back inside to get ready for my 11 am Book Club meeting on Zoom. After the meeting, I ran some errands. I drove over to Bruce and Jane Woodin’s to pick up something, drove through town to fill my car’s very empty gas tank, dropped a couple of early voting ballot requests in the mailbox of a Book Club member, and then headed home for a late lunch and a long afternoon walk with Shadow. A long walk right now for me just means one mile. Hopefully when I get my ‘back’ issue under control, those walks will increase in length. But for now, a mile is good once a day, with two half mile walks spaced out at different times during the day. The more I research, the more I think my issue is not my back, but something called Piriformis Syndrome. I had never heard of this, but in researching stretching exercises to do for sciatica, I learned that sciatica is usually caused by one of four things, Piriformis Syndrome being one of those. This is usually caused due to compression or contraction of the piriformis muscle on certain areas of the sciatic nerve caused by overuse or trauma. The overuse in my case was carrying heavy boxes during the move. I was constantly told by Heather and Jed to stop carrying the boxes, but I refused to listen. I really must become a better listener! But I didn’t, and here I am. As I understand it, the piriformis muscle runs down through the buttock on both sides of your body and the sciatic nerve runs along with it. When the muscle gets inflamed, it swells and puts pressure on the sciatic nerve and you get excruciating pain. The good thing is that if this is my problem, the right stretches or exercises can alleviate the pain. I was assuming I had a disc misalignment causing undue pressure on a nerve, but when the visits to the chiropractor weren’t working, the chiropractor suggested I look into other causes. Finding out about Pitiformis Syndrome is making so much sense to me. If that is the problem, it is why this back issue has been so different from others I have had. In talking with my primary care physician yesterday, I learned that there are hoops that I have to jump through for insurance purposes before I can get an MRI that would reveal the problem. My PCP asked me to decide where I would like to have physical therapy because that is one of the Medicare prerequisites. I made calls yesterday and left messages but didn’t hear back from the two places until today. The physical therapist that I used prior to my knee surgery was excellent, but if I choose him, I have to go the office and have one-on-one hour-long sessions. I know they would be helpful, but right now I am not comfortable doing that. I also called the Falmouth Hospital Outpatient Rehab center and they do online sessions. So, I am choosing that one for now. Tomorrow morning I go to the hospital to get the required x-ray and blood test. Thankfully there are zero COVID patients at the hospital right now. Then I wait ten days, talk to my PCP again, and hope the problem has either gone away or I can get an MRI to see what is going on. But I must say that I am impressed with how the medical community is adapting during COVID. Zoom meetings with a physician worked great and I’ll soon find out if physical therapy sessions on Zoom are effective. I am very thankful for Zoom, Skype, and any other online method you might use to keep in touch with family and friends, work from home, take classes, and take care of medical issues. A whole new world.