Cautiously optimistic on the pain front

This morning, the intense pain I had in the left hip is almost completely gone. I can sort of feel it lurking at the edge, but it’s not actually causing me any pain. The other, more familiar pain in the right hip has been fading slowly over the last two days and I think it will be away (on vacation) quite soon.

In much, much better news, my shoulder is doing better. A little while ago I blogged about how hopeless I felt because when I did my physio exercises, I’d be in pain for 3 or 4 days afterwards, which meant I wasn’t doing them often enough. A day or two later I saw my doctor and he did something where he had me lying down on my back and he reached under me and pushed his fingers into the base of my trapezius muscle and pushed down on my shoulder. That very day, I did my physio exercises and wasn’t in pain the next day. So I erged a bit that day, and I wasn’t sore the next day. So I did my physio, etc. After my business trip (where I didn’t do my physio or my erging, although I did try to stretch), the pain was starting to come back a bit, so my physiotherapist suggested that I just lie down on the floor with a tennis ball under my back, and relax and let my shoulder come back down to the floor. I’ve been doing that (although with a dog toy rather than a tennis ball, because that’s what I have to hand), and it helps a lot, although not as completely as what my doctor did. It might be time to start seeing a massage therapist again. But meanwhile, I’m erging!

There’s pain, and then there is pain

As well as the knee pain, which is and has been pretty much a constant feature (although with intensity that waxes and wanes) in my life since the late 1970s, I get this strange hip pain. The hip pain, which feels like it’s emanating from the “point” of my hip, comes around every now and then, and stays for a week or two, and then it goes away. It means that during that time, I can’t get comfortable sitting anywhere and I end up moving from chair to chair to bed to chair trying unsuccessfully to get comfortable. Other than that, it doesn’t really interfere with my life. It came back a week or so ago on my right hip, but it’s hardly noticeable because of the new pain in my life.

We got a lot of snow over Christmas, and the city wasn’t very good about clearing the sidewalks. And unlike in Ottawa, the sidewalk plows don’t spread sand or salt. Consequently, the sidewalks ended up being thick with ice, except in the few stretches where the home owner was diligent about clearing their own sidewalk. Consequently, I got very sore groin muscles from walking the dogs on the slippery ice. (For those who’ve never experienced it, when you walk on ice you need to keep your weight entirely over your front foot and you walk with a sort-of penguin-like shuffle. You also need to use muscles you don’t use as much in regular walking to keep your legs from splaying out and falling on your ass.) And after that started to fade, I got a horrible pain deep inside my left hip. You know how you put a knife blade in the joint to get a turkey leg off the carcass? Yeah, that’s what it feels like is going on inside there. Sometimes it’s just sore, sometimes it’s very stabby, and sometimes it takes my breath away it’s so painful. It’s very inconvenient when I’m walking the dogs, and it comes on really bad and I find myself wishing I could just stop in the middle of walking the dogs and call Vicki to pick me up. I’ve tried various stretches that sometimes help with the other hip pain, but they don’t seem to be helping this one.

So right now I’ve got the pain in my right hip that I used to consider bad, and the pain in my left hip that’s 10 times worse. And I’ve still got dogs to walk and erging to do and all that stuff.

No good news on the medical front

I had a talk with my shoulder surgeon yesterday. He said my MRI didn’t show any “smoking gun”. There was a little damage where the acromium meets the collar bone. There is also evidence of bone bruising, but I’m not sure how that could have happened or how it could be causing a problem that started 3 months ago. He said that might be the problem, or there might even be referred pain from the neck. He basically said that we need to try a few things to help diagnose the problem, so he injected some cortisone into the AC joint. A few hours later, when the numbing agent wore off, I was treated to some of the worst pain of my life.

I slept on a chair last night because I knew that if I slept on a bed, I’d roll onto that side and make it even worse. It’s still pretty bad this morning, but I’m trying to keep it propped on my chair arm and not move it much. I’m back to using my old Bamboo trackpad instead of a mouse because I use that with my other hand, but it registers things as clicks when I don’t mean to click and doesn’t register when I do want to click, so I don’t like it much.

Anyway, if this cortisone shot is anything like the one I got last summer, I’m hoping to start feeling some relief tomorrow or the next day.

Meanwhile I spent half the night wondering what I’m going to do for fun when I can’t paddle any more.

What goes up must come down

A few weeks ago I was feeling great. I was erging longer and longer distances every night, feeling good and not feeling any pain. I was up to doing 3 sets of 2000 metres, at pretty good speed and not much pause between then, and I had every expectation that I was going to increase the number of sets and distances continually. But then I started doing some extra stuff with Dan, trying to build up my core and other muscles and other things I’d need for the up coming season. But instead, I ended up overdoing it (due to the strange slowness of the way my body responds to pain, I never feel it when I’m overdoing it, only afterwards).

The next day, my shoulder was a little bit sore when I woke up, but I attempted to go paddling with the guys, but ended up falling in at the dock (due to using a different boat) and not going, but by evening my shoulder was killing me. And it kept feeling bad. I tried icing it, I tried stretching, and I tried taking more Aleve than usual. Nothing has really helped.

Yesterday I had a massage from my favourite massage therapist, and then a few hours later I tried a tiny bit of erging. By tiny bit, I mean less than a minute. I felt a tiny twinge, so I stopped. And a few hours later, it was back to feeling really bad.

My enthusiasm and optimism for next season has pretty much evaporated now.


For the last several months I’ve been trying to slowly build myself back up after the surgery. I paddle once or twice a week, and generally I do one “long” (for values of long that seem ridiculously short to me) continuous go at first, and then continue for as long as I can doing paddle/rest/paddle/rest. Sometimes I have to stop because my shoulder is sore, sometimes because my muscles are tired, sometimes because my aerobic system is worn out, and sometimes it’s all three. Up until last week, my maximum “long” stretch was about 1.25 miles, and my total distance was generally around 3 to 4 miles with a lot of stops.

Last week, I was off work, so I actually managed to get out 3 times. I also started getting much more diligent about doing the stretches and exercises my physiotherapist prescribed back when I was still doing that. And I went to see the massage therapist I was seeing a couple of years ago about my shoulder and neck.

On Wednesday, I managed to paddle 1.5 miles, take a quick drink of water, and keep paddling to a total of 2.5 miles, and then do stop/start paddling for a total of 4 miles. That’s the first time all year I’ve seen two miles in less than 11 minutes per mile. (Oh yeah, did I mention that my speed compared to last year also sucks?) So that was pretty good.

Today, I did even more. I managed to paddle 2 miles, take a quick drink of water, and continue to a total of 3.2 miles, and then do stop/start paddling for a total of 4 miles. That’s 3 miles in a row at less than 11 minutes per mile! That’s real progress!

Ok, granted both times my shoulder was pretty damn sore afterwards, but I’m so tired of waiting for the pain to go away before I start getting fit again. I have an appointment with the surgeon next week to see why it’s taking so long, but I suspect he’s going to tell me to stop paddling.

I’m making progress, and I’ve got the erg so I can keep going all winter. Here’s hoping I can bring the endurance up to the old level and then start bringing up the speed.