Dave Talks #15: Almost beyond words. Went to the shop, and couldn't move... What now?

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Blog entry by dbhost posted 08-23-2018 05:59 PM 3690 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 14: Just can't seem to get after it... I really need to get things going... Part 15 of Dave Talks series Part 16: Oh for Pete's sake! When will it stop? »

Things have been a physical, emotional, and psychological pain for me this year more so than at any time in the past.

In 2018, so far we’ve had. #1. My wife in the hospital, and outpatient care for 2 months. #2. We have lost 4 members of my wifes family, 1 aunt, 2 cousins, and my brother in law whom we had the unfortunate opportunity to watch his decline and death from cancer. #3. The second friend I ever introduced my wife to while we were dating and a long time colleague of mine passed away suddenly #4. My own father diagnosed with dementia rapidly declined, was put in long term memory care (while my wife was in the ER no less). Within 1.5 months of his entering the care facility, he had a fall and broke his hip. He passed from complications of the hip fracture less than 2 weeks later. #5. And to top it off, I have been dealing with tennis elbow, some excruciating pain in my shoulder and left leg that my PCP couldn’t ID, he sent me to an orthopedist in his practice, who really was of no help… I have been dealing with the latter 2 issues literally since 2000 when I was in a car wreck. I had one doc that I worked with before on the shoulder would tell me straight up what the issues were, so I said to heck with this practice and went back to the doc I had been with before…

A mess of X rays later, and this doc not only told me, but SHOWED me where the damage is… L4 – L5 disk herniated causing the sciatica, and occasionally cutting off all signal to my leg. (yay fun!), and I don’t recall the tech term for it, but the tendon / rotator cuff has a partial separation / tear by the scapula.

The doc gave me a great talk thorugh on what needs to happen, what the steps are etc… And while there is hope for a good, non surgical recovery, I am very leery of surgical options. I won’t lie. I can’t afford to be laid up for 6 months…

I am trying to keep my perspective positive, and while I know I can’t talk about religion or politics here, so I will just say my faith and my beautiful wife have been the biggest things keeping me spun in the right direction.

I have so much to do in the shop, so much cleanup, and so many projects, that I know I need to get to them. So…

Last night, I went out to the shop, and started toward the bench to start cleaning, and that’s when it happened…

I made it to the stool by the bench, when the *#$% leg decided it didn’t want to cooperate. I had to grab the stool and spin myself around and plant that leg down on the stool before I found the floor…

I know I am just fussing, but I need to get this out. I am not sure what the future holds, but right now, it sure looks like a lot of extra junk on my plate I never wanted.

There is no way I am giving up. But I need to figure out how to safely manage keeping up with the shop, and my projects, and do them safely. Unfortunately right now, I am so deeply into the frustrated phase, I just can’t see clearly enough to have any clue how to approach that….

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11 comments so far

View Madmark2's profile


1362 posts in 1359 days

#1 posted 08-23-2018 06:24 PM

Take on the task one small step at a time. Look for little victories, they add up.

Just getting back to shop since wife died and being in VA hosp for 7 mo getting L leg BKA So into all lives rain will fall and you’re not alone in loss.


-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4002 days

#2 posted 08-23-2018 06:57 PM

Yep. Totally get it… Just trying to keep my head screwed on in the right direction…

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View robscastle's profile


7194 posts in 2975 days

#3 posted 08-23-2018 09:47 PM

OK I am back! ... to check up on you.

First up if you are suffering from what sounds like a serious but recoverable spinal disc damage you need to realise a couple of facts.

OMG here we go!

Those could be summed up as :-
1. Your back needs to recover and doing bending cleaning and hauling gear around is not helping.
2. Accept the fact that you will be laid up for 6 months and possibly even more if you do not allow this to happen.
3 As we get older our body cannot handle the amount of activities we could do when we were younger, and thats not considering getting car wrecked as well.
4. The body is a complex piece of “equipment” and all “systems” need to be fully functional for it to be a efficient system. This no doubt you would be fully aware of and could relate it to your job as a systems Administrator.

Your workshop:
I took a look at the setup of your workshop. (and checked out the amount of LJs activity)
Understanding the situation you have in regard to space I can see the reasoning for gear being stored up high. However its not doing your condition any favours having to accesss it. ( Or even having to think about accessing it) So maybe you could get a roller trolley and stack gear on down lower as a compromise, not sure as I am not there.
But beware knowing you have a “crook” back and seeing the gear up so high prompted the comment.

If you are concerned about the need for cleaning hire a cleaner and direct their work as a temporary measure.
One less task to “worry” about.

If need be, keep out of the shop for a while, (a tough call) as in saying this again its a “retreat” for my case physicological well being, if for nothing else making sawdust and exercising the brain.

Maybe a discovery walk to find out whats interesting in the surrounding areas you live in may help for a while, (taking your wife with you of course) stop by a coffee or milkshake shop, relax and enjoy the break for a while.

The need to recover both mentally and physically is paramount, and it may take some time and subject you to being way out of your comfort zone for a period of time.

Take the time to smell the roses, ... and they are also best viewed looking down! ... remembering the fragence is less noticable through a wood panel!

Stay well!

I will check back again later with some more annoying factual advice! Chin up!

Qualifications for all of the above clap trap: Absolutely none

-- Regards Rob

View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4002 days

#4 posted 08-24-2018 12:21 AM

Totally agree. I am not sure how to get the bench top tools at bench top level. I do know I am NOT going in for any heavy lifting or stooping, or… well you get the idea, for qutie a while…

I am NOT giving up though. Healingis one thing. Hanging it up is another.

If needed, I can get some help from family. Which it will likely come to that. And I can do tool setup, and like I think I mentioned, working height at my miter saw is a position that makes my back and shoulder happy…

Complications being what they are is nothing new. I just gotta fly with them. Staying positive has been tough this year though. And I am usually a very positive person!

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View r33tc0w's profile


191 posts in 1254 days

#5 posted 08-24-2018 03:23 AM

2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Praying for peace brother, that’s quite a season you’re in. Your faith has made you well

-- Matthew 13:53-58

View swirt's profile


5222 posts in 3742 days

#6 posted 08-24-2018 02:02 PM

dbhost That is a long list of crap that has descended upon you. Sadly I can’t help you with much of it. However I can likely help with your back issues. Find yourself a Physical Therapist that is McKenzie certified

FInd them here and use the link at the top of the page for “Find a Provider”

I have no affiliation with them other than they have helped several people I know get free of/manage debilitating back pain and sciatica. My mother was off her feet for 6 months with sciatic pain and within 2 weeks of working with a McKenzie certified Physical Therapist, she was up and about and pain free. They understand it like no others.

-- Galootish log blog,

View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4002 days

#7 posted 08-24-2018 02:34 PM


The ortho I went to the other day has me going to a PT provider that I have used with great success in the past. As I may have mentioned, I was doing PT before, and like an idiot I stopped due to budget / insurance reasons… Anyway the ortho prescribed something called the “McKenzie Protocol”. Whatever that is. The name stuck because I was a big fan of the McKenzie Brothers in SCTV years ago…

Pain free would be awesome. Heck half the pain I have been dealing with would be okay…


Can’t thank you enough!

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View Redoak49's profile


4729 posts in 2759 days

#8 posted 08-24-2018 08:23 PM

If people are interested, it is easy to read about what exactly is the McKenzie Method. I would do that before recommending it or using it. From my reading about it, it does not seem applicable when one already knows the source of the problem and that is herniated disks. Any treatment or therapy has to take that into account.

IMHO the best way is to start with simple things like therapy and see if that helps enough. I hope that dbhost can find relief from things like that or something similar.

Back pain is so complicated and finding the source is a great first step. I hope he finds some relief soon as back pain drags you down physically and mentally.

View GR8HUNTER's profile


7544 posts in 1483 days

#9 posted 08-24-2018 09:57 PM

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

John 16:33

Psalm 55:22

1 Peter 5:7

God Bless :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 3935 days

#10 posted 08-25-2018 03:11 PM

No new advice here, Rob did a great job. But I’ll reinforce it a little…

I just learned the hard way that I can’t do the things that I used to, and I got a reminder to never forget my infirmities.

I think I mentioned already that I am recovering from an “overuse” injury. Even though I paced myself, spreading things out over 2 weeks it still got me. I can’t pivot frequently, and of all things, I can’t walk slow. My problems stem from scoliosis, and a calcified facet that was present at age 6. I have to be more careful than I used to, when I was young.

I like to point out that we don’t wake up old some day, you just get older every day. I may be aging slower than a lot of people, but I am definitely aging nonetheless. I may not look like I am 77 years old, but I feel it at times.

So, I have to remember that any swiveling or pivoting activity has got to be minimized. In the meantime, I am on self-imposed shop restriction until this problem resolves. I think it is a bursitis from the way it feels, and the way it reacts to NSAIDS. But it has been going on for a month now. The good thing, is that it IS getting better.

Your back problem sounds worse than mine. Yours is pretty much just like the issue a good friend of mine has. He is seven years younger than I, but definitely has more back problems than I. He even ran the Boston marathon one year, so he obviously took care of himself, but that didn’t prevent his issues.

Aging gets all of us, and it happens at a different pace, and in different ways with different people.

In general, surgery is not a great solution for back issues, but there are exceptions. Bed rest is also not a good idea except in unusual cases. Keep the back muscles toned by using them, but use them gently. Walking is a good exercise as Rob pointed out.

...and listen to your physical therapist, and your physician. They do this stuff for a living…

By the way, I also get those moments when everything back there goes into spasm, and I practically fall to the floor. Just reaching the wrong way will do it. It is undoubtedly a facet syndrome, since my physical therapist labeled so. He taught me how to fix it myself. But I have to do it immediately. I lie down on the floor and I twist my shoulders one way, and my hips the other, basically twisting the spine. That releases the facet capsule that got trapped. However, you don’t have that kind of problem. A facet syndrome may feel like a disc issue, but it is treated differently, and is much more benign.

So hang in there, buddy, and may this next 6 months be a heck of a lot better!!

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View cracknpop's profile (online now)


424 posts in 3119 days

#11 posted 08-26-2018 03:05 AM

Dave, sorry to hear of your back issues. Praying Acts 4:29-30 over you.

Rob gives very good advice above and yes, McKenzie protocols can be very helpful in certain disc issues. But I have to ask, have you tried seeing a good chiropractor? There is one there in League City that is certified in Cox-Flexion Distraction, another very effective treatment for herniated/bulging/degenerative discs.

If I was down with disc/sciatica issues I wouldn’t be thinking “McKenzie therapist OR Chiropractor?” I would do BOTH.

Prayers for complete healing.

-- Rick - I know I am not perfect, but I will keep pressing on toward the goal of becoming all I am called to be.

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