In case you haven't noticed, it's Christmas time. Well, it's been Christmas and now we're in that limbo time between Christmas and New Year, during which I have done a whole lot of nothing. It's been prescribed nothingness because I've got some collapsed vertebrae (i.e. compression fractures in the spine) in my lower spine. It's another side effect of the long-term high-dose steroids I take for my lungs.
I first had back pain in August/September, but didn't think much of it. Then a couple of weeks ago I suddenly had excruciating pain that was making my legs feel weird - kind of tingly and achy all at once - and some weakness in left leg. I thought maybe I'd pulled something so waiting until the next day to go to my GP, thinking that maybe a good night's sleep would help. Only I didn't get a good night's sleep, and half way through the next day I decided that I probably should see my doc. When I did at last see him he sent me straight up to A&E, which was rather a surprise because I hadn't thought that back pain would warrant an A&E trip. X-rays apparently showed vertebral wedging and compressed vertebrae, and the A&E doc decided that I needed to have an urgent MRI, though thankfully not so urgent that I needed to be kept in. It turns out that a request for an urgent MRI can take several weeks, but I got my appointment through the other day, weirdly for next Sunday at stupid o'clock in the morning.
So I've spent the majority of the festive season flat on my back dosed up on Tramadol. Unfortunately Tramadol and alcohol are a bad combination, so I've had to skip the meds on the days I've wanted a drink, like Christmas Day. I don't usually drink much alcohol, but I have to say that I did make an exception this Christmas, although it was spread throughout the day.
Despite essentially having a broken back, I had a lovely Christmas Day. I've usually gone to my mum's in Edinburgh for Christmas, but this year she and my step-dad spent it with one of my brothers and his family down south, so I went to my good friends R and M. Just to be clear, I was invited; I didn't just turn up and say, 'Hi, I'm spending the day with you, and by the way, happy Christmas' ;o) R and M picked me up around 11am, and as previously arranged, we were all in our Christmas pyjamas for a truly comfortable Christmas Day :o) When we arrived back at R and M's it wasn't long before we got stuck in to the enormous spread of cheese and biscuits and wine. Mmmmmmmmm cheese..... I think it's fair to say that we stuffed ourselves.
Once we could move again, or rather, once R could move again - about six hours later - she started on the Christmas dinner. As my main contribution to the shared meal, I'd bought the turkey, but R did amazing things to it (nothing weird! Just tasty things like soaking it in brine and spices for 24 hours prior to cooking, as per a Nigella recipe) to make it exceptionally tasty and succulent. Ahh, it was delicious! Oh yeah, we had all the usual turkey trimmings too, but it was an hour and half later that any of us were able to squeeze in a slither of my mum's Becky-friendly Christmas cake. In fact, it probably would have been longer if time hadn't been an issue, but my taxi was due at 11pm, so it was then or never (or more likely, Boxing Day), and seeing as we hadn't opened the Baileys it seemed rude not to wash down the cake with a large glass of the creamy stuff each :o) hic!
So that's an outline of my Christmas Day. A very relaxing day with friendship, food, alcohol, presents (yes, we had a time of presents too, obviously), chat, laughs, Doctor Who, cheese, santa hats, pyjamas, fun, and lying around on the sofa. Yes, I'm rather afraid that I hogged one of their sofas (sorry R and M), but I was only obeying doctors' orders, and neither or them seemed to mind ... or at least, they didn't say they minded...
Anyway, Christmas Day was lovely.
I've had a very, very quiet time since then, having done very little indeed. I've needed it to be like that, if I'm honest, although it's also a bit lonesome at times, and definitely boring. I've caught up on some of my TiVo recordings, cuddled the cat a lot, slept a lot (thanks to the Tramadol), read a bit, tried not to think too much about most of the year that has been (although I will be doing so in the next day or two for my annual Review of the Year), and enjoyed the Christmas decorations.
My mum and step-dad are coming down to stay for a few days over New Year. R and M are coming on New Year's Eve too :o) It'll be another cheese fest with wine, chat, and maybe some games, but generally low-key. I'm looking forward to seeing Mum. For all that I had an excellent Christmas Day, I did miss Mum too. She and J were only going to stay until Friday, but since I got my MRI appointment for Sunday, Mum's offered to stay until after that and come to it with me :o) We won't get any results then - they'll take two to three weeks to get back to my GP (oh, and they're checking for disc, nerve, and spinal cord involvement) - but it'll still be good to have her support.
It's still early days for my back - I'm told it will take two to three months to repair itself - but the rest/lying down does seem to be helping. Having said that, I will go completely mad if I'm not able to get up and do things soon, and I'm pretty sure it would be good for my back muscles to start having to do some work before long ... wouldn't it? It's surprising how little information I've been given about these sorts of things actually. Hmm. Oh well, I guess the doc will tell me more when I go for a check up the week after next.
Well for now I think it's time I peel myself off the sofa, feed the cat, and go to bed. The Tramadol (and nefopam and paracetamol) has really messed with my sleep pattern, but I don't care much if it means that I sleep through some of the pain.
Oh, and my blogosphere new year's resolution will be to post more often. I've been rubbish at it this year. Sorry. It's been tough.