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We Are Flying Solo

January 13, 2011

Raise Your Hand If You Have Arthritic Changes!

Mine's up.  Solo raised his hoof too.

The chill outside doesn't help. It's a sharp, clear cold. The stars are harsh pinpricks in the ink black sky and Orion hovers in sharp focus in the southern sky above the barn. A biting wind cuts through every doorjamb and under every wall to pierce the back of your collar with its icy fangs.

I've spent all week bouncing around doctor's offices; my neck and back have been locked up for ages and I'm sick of just tolerating the pain. My physical therapist dude has been working on it, but we both can tell the problem is deeper. The chiro studies the xrays and says my neck is permanently screwed, there's no curve left in it at all. "But," he says, "we can keep it mobile and at least all your discs look good." Then he cancels out that by pointing out the arthritic changes along the processes of my lumbar spine. Damn. But hey, the discs are good!

Then this afternoon, it's the eye doctor's turn to crush my world a little more. My eyes have decided to be even lazier than they were before and I've moved from a 6 to a 7.7. Ouch. That was unexpected.

"So, I know that's way too high for Lasik to fix; are there any options for repair at this level of myopia?" I hold my breath, hoping for an impossible affirmative answer.

"Nope," he replies, "not till you're 60 and you get cataracts, then we can just give you a new lens."

"Oh. So you're saying that I should basically try to give myself cataracts."

"Yeah!" (He seems a little too enthusiastic about this...) "Just take your sunglasses off and let the UV do its thing. Well, no, on second thought, then you'll get macular degeneration, so never mind. Nope, you just have to wait."

Then he finishes me off with the old "but, hey, you never know what scientific advances they'll make in the next ten years!" *sigh* Yeah, sure.

By the time I got home, I was thoroughly discouraged. It's not all bad though -- the chiro reckons we can keep things moving and manage the pain back down to human levels and physical therapist reckons he can help keep everything suppler, if that's a word. I can't see worth a crap, but at least I have finally found contacts I love and stay comfy even in the dustiest, most hay-filled sheds.

Then there are irreplacable friends -- lifeshighway generously offered to be my seeing eye old lady when my eyeballs rotted at age 40 and even offered to hit people with her cane when they got in the way. Now THAT'S a true friend right there!

Nonetheless, I maintain, aging is a bitch and I highly recommend avoidance at all cost. And insurance is a joke -- this shit is still ridiculously expensive, even just in co-pays, how the heck are people supposed to take care of themselves if they want to buy groceries too???

And that is the end of my whining for now. Back next time with horse stuff. Because horse stuff is way better.


  1. Oy! It sounds like you are already starting to fall apart, like a crunchy little leaf disintegrating into leaf-dust. Not good! Go chug some hyaluronic acid and pop a few glucosamine/chondrotin pills!

    When I went to the chiro a few years ago, he took one look at my X-rays and said, "Wow, you've been in a lot of bad car accidents, haven't you?" I said, "No, I ride." He nooded knowingly.

    Don't worry, you are not a alone, my cripple friend. In addition to a messed-up back, I have arthritis in my right ankle (due to the giant metal plate and seven screws that have been holdng it together for the past 11 years) and some kind of knee-falling-apart-ness (I got bucked off a pony 7 years ago, landed directly on my knee, and never went to the doctor -- yeah, smart). So, I, too am a total gimp. We should start a club -- you have to be at least a partial cripple to join.

    Getting old sucks!

  2. Today I picked up Nina's foot and my knees and her knees both make a cracking sound. We looked at each other and I swear she shrugged.

  3. Yeah, I've decided that this is my last year of aging. I think if I can just keep myself under 25, I'll manage to keep the physical problems that I already have (all riding accident related) at bay..... maybe?

  4. Mine's raised too! Not even 30 yet and I'm falling apart. Pretty much all riding related of course. Except for my knee which is a direct result of falling on the ice a couple winters ago and not getting it looked at until it started to affect my riding. Luckily I have a great ortho doc who keeps the pain manageable for me. I don't know what I would do without him.

    So where do I sign up for the gimp club? :)

  5. Oh, my ouchie friends! The crip club has swelling ranks, LOL!

    ROFL, Barbara, I love the mental picture!

    I've been fortunate to not have any truly heinous riding accidents thus far! I feel deeply for all you with hardware. I've only got the bum knee from another accident, but it doesn't act up most of the time.

    ROFL, we sound like a bunch of old Jewish ladies!

  6. nice eventer79, I love the picture you chose to depict your nearest and dearest friend.

    Very nice.

    I would raise my hand up but it hurts my shoulder.

  7. Hey, how do you know that picture is not me???

  8. This blog does brighten my day. It's nice to laugh at ourselves once in a while. I'm pretty sure I'll need both knees replaced before I'm 50 and the hips probably won't be too long after that. But I've already determined that I'm going to be riding until I die, pain or no!

    Personally, I think one of the worst things about getting older is the sudden onset of fear. When I was younger I wasn't afraid of hardly anything and now all the sudden those 2'6" fences look like freakin' 7'. It's very annoying to have to push through that all the time but I figure someday it will get better. I hope!

  9. Aww, I'm glad we can help, Amanda. Feel free to join our club -- we prolly can't walk or even see where we are going, but it won't keep us off the horses! The horses have eyes anyway, right??

  10. Titanium in both knees... hips shot by compensating for knee pain... pelvis messed up by hip pain (does anyone else see a pattern emerging?)... spine from a combination of pelvic pain and scoliosis... right shoulder from a non-horse injury... tendonitis in right elbow and wrist. I'm running out of things to wreck! Oh, and without the glasses (which are also bifocals at 33 years old) I see double. *sigh*

  11. Ooo, titanium! Hey, at least you're a high class cripple!

  12. What's the old saying, now... "You might as well laugh!" :-)

    You all are definitely applying that. My worst infirmity is, in fact, jumping-related; the problem is, I was not riding a horse at the time. No, I was leaping over a bench to show my dog where I wanted her to jump. My left foot landed on the bench's brace, the edge of a 2x4. Feet are just not engineered to support all of one's weight on a narrow ledge. My ankle went sideways, there was a loud "CRACK!" and yup, I knew I'd screwed the pooch. It actually wasn't my ankle, it was the foot.

    The ironic part is the foot healed but I've had trouble with my opposite calf ever since. I'm sure this is because I compensate for the reduced flexibility of the injured foot. It's a drag.

    I also have tendinitis in both thumbs, which could conceivably come from doing lots of currying?? I can't use my beloved Grooma anymore with pain.

    Oh, and my vision also sucks big-time. I've never been told about the cataract thing. Something to look forward to! :-/
    (What kind of contacts do you like, anyway?)