The cooler weather has one advantage. I sleep better. However, I still have that early hours visit to the loo to deal with. I cannot try to avoid it by drinking less before bedtime. Must keep these kidneys functioning.
This morning my walk down to the ablution block was punctuated by that shooting pain up and down the right leg that is caused by the spondylosis of my back. I think it was triggered by reaching above my head to turn on the light. My light switches are on the ceiling. I must try to remember to stretch and warm up a bit before getting out of bed.
As I limped along, grateful once again for the gift of the walker, I had a sudden insight, and wondered if the first manifestation of this spondylosis problem might not have been the incident I think of as my ironic injury. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed possible.
Back when I was an investigator for the Ministry of Health, I had a couple of jobs to do at the top of of South Island. The first involved the unlawful laying of cyanide along the one of the walking tracks of a National Park near Blenheim. That was a pretty simple matter, because cyanide tubes all have a serial number. Not difficult to establish who was stupid enough to discard one without even trying to obliterate it.
The second was across in Takaka. An unqualified, unregistered physiotherapist, unlawfully practicing.
I had flown into Blenheim, and as anticipated, taken less than a day to interview the offender and get a confession. I then drove a rental car to Takaka. On the way, about an hour or so out, I stopped at the bridge over the Pelorus River. A scenic structure in a picturesque place.
I walked down onto the rocky riverbank for a photo from a good vantage point. Then I started back up.
Climbing over the boulders, I jumped off one, no higher than a foot or so above the path. As I landed, excruciating pain shot up and down my right leg around my knee. It was so bad I blacked out. I don’t know for how long. When I woke up I was lying on the ground. Still in agony. I made my way very slowly to my car, barely able to stand.
I was really lucky my rental had been upgraded to a large automatic with electric seats. Otherwise I’d never have got into it. I could have called an ambulance but I was reluctant to leave the car and my gear on the side of the road. Somehow I drove to Nelson hospital, and was admitted. I was examined and my leg x-rayed. They could find nothing wrong with my knee or my leg muscles. This is what makes me think someone should have thought to check my back.
Eventually I was discharged, everyone still perplexed about the cause. I manfully drove on to Takaka, in pain, and checked into my motel room. I sat down with a strong coffee, and ended up cast in the couch, unable to get up. Eventually I rolled off the couch, crawled to the bed, and pulled myself in.
Next day I realised I was not in a position to interview the subject. Or do much else. I took photos of the signs outside his practice, and headed back to Nelson airport for an early flight back. They had to use a fork hoist to put me onto the plane. A colleague met me in Wellington and helped me home.
The irony was that I needed physiotherapy for months after injuring myself on the way to interview a so-called physio.
No one ever determined what was actually wrong with me. I’ve never walked properly since, and though I was was eventually diagnosed with osteoarthritis it was not the only cause of my pain. It was years later in the Kimberley a visiting physician made the connection and I first heard the location of L5 mentioned. I learned that leg pain can be caused by the spinal nerves being pinched.. Apparently the doc can tell which vertebra is doing the pinching by the location of the pain.
Thought of the Day
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