Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Beauty and wonder

I had targeted lumbar injections yesterday in an attempt to reduce and perhaps even tame the traumatic left-sided radiculopathy I've been living with for more than a year.

The injections went well. They were different than the previous injections I had. Perhaps an analogy? Let's just say the previous injections involved a big package delivered to a four-block quadrant. Yesterday's injections involved smaller packages delivered to specific homes.

The previous injections were quick in-and-out affairs. Yesterday involved a lot of needle repositioning and delivery of anesthetic/steroid to many different locations. Therefore there was a good bit more needle and injection trauma, and therefore a good bit more soreness once the anesthetic wore off.

So today I'm pretty sore in the back, which is fine. My body is taking care of healing the soreness by repairing tissue and absorbing edema.

The upside so far is that the frank pain and other neuropathic symptoms are greatly reduced today. Even the dropfoot -- essentially a loss of the ability to lift one's toes -- is almost completely gone. I'll have to work on regaining proper gait and posture now and strengthen the toe-lift muscles which have been warming the bench for far too long. But that's all a good thing, and I'm not afraid of work.

The most wonderful, delightful, and beautiful thing about yesterday's medical experience was the presence of my betrothed. I never knew how good hand-holding could be nor how much I needed it. Tough guy only takes you so far. It's good to be tough and be willing to do and endure hard stuff without complaint. Suck it up and drive on. But I'm finding that the story I'd always heard about is absolutely true. One plus one equals way, way more than two.


On the way home from the surgery center I got a text. Cattle we had relocated to a small pasture had got a gate down (probably during a rainless thunderstorm Monday evening) and were grazing in adjacent pastures. This was less than ideal but still okay since they were still grazing on ranch property. But there were some open gates which needed closing and the cattle needed to be moved back to where we wanted them.

The trick would be doing this in a way that didn't cause problems with my recently injected lumbar area.

My betrothed and I headed out and assessed the situation. There were 20-plus cows and calves on the wrong side of a certain fence. They'd simply wandered through a nearby open gate and were causing nor problems and were not in peril. They needed to be returned to the correct side of the fence though, and their relocation would be easiest through the gate they had wandered through.

But the rest of the heard was nearby, on the opposite but correct side of the fence, and it could be tricky moving the cows that needed moving away from the herd and back through the gate. Sometimes you get lucky and the cattle are willing to move. Yesterday we didn't get lucky. So after a quick trip to town to get my work pickup (we we're still in the Toyota mini-van) we returned to move the cattle.
Blue oval and arrow -- where cows needed to be moved from. Black ovals and brown arrows -- main herd and PIM. Red lines -- fence. Yellow line -- open gate. Light green circle, Toyota mini-van and cowgirl.

The plan was for me to move the cow herd past the gate with my work truck while cowgirl blocked the lane in the mini-van so that cows couldn't escape to the road. It's a simple task but one which requires the blocker to watch the cattle with a sense of understanding what they might be trying to do. You can't let them past you, but you have to give them room to move around and assess their options and then go where they need to go. You can't force them without causing lots of problems, so you have to honor their pace and their comfort zone and figure out how to work with them rather than try to force them to do your will. This requires an open mind, a willingness to observe and work out what the cattle are doing, patience, attention to detail, etc. I know a lot of guys who think themselves mighty fine cattlemen who have never come close to understanding the fundamental concepts.

Did I mention that this was the first time ever that cowgirl had worked with and assisted moving cattle? And that her brief from me was basically, "Keep 'em from going up the lane, we want them all together in the pasture, good luck"?

Let's just cut to the chase. Cowgirl figured out exactly what to do and how to do it, completely on her own. It was a beautiful thing to see. She handled that task like a cowgirl who'd been doing it every day for her entire life. Amazing, beautiful, wonderful.

Of course I'm biased and smitten and in love, but lemme just tell ya, she's already better at working with cattle than I am. A bit of experience over time and she'll leave me in the dust as a rancher. Beautiful.

Once the cattle were reconfined properly we drove around to check/set the rest of the gates and to make sure the cattle found water. We paused by the filling stock tank to watch and enjoy.

Then the mini cowgirl and mini cowboy wanted to pet a dog and chase chickens.

The rest of the day was the rest of the day, and every bit as beautiful and wonderful as all that had gone before. Challenges are part of livin'.

Many people choose to exist as professional victims. I don't know why. Their souls appear to be corroded with resentment and fear and astonishing psychosis. But it's also a choice; a destination consciously arrived at via a pathway of consciously made decisions.

For those who choose to live, life is grand.

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.


  1. "For those who choose to live, life is grand."

    It is just a case of choosing to be present instead of having it happen to me.
    It's simple, but not easy.

    The two short videos say a lot of really nice things about the couple in them... just sayin'

    1. Thanks very much for the kind words Skip.

      I think it is a choice, and the hard comes with the not-hard too.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  2. I am happy to read that the issues with your body are going well. On the personal relationship front, things sound as though they are outstanding.

    Now on to the videos.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

    1. Thanks Paul. Life is full of ups and downs but it's all part of the gig. Gotta be alive to live it!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  3. Wow! You did very well out there on the fruited plain. In no time at all you should be rocking on the porch, playing with those beautiful children, while Ms. Cowgirl is out doing all the chores. Congratulations.

    1. A vision of heaven indeed. Thanks very much SS.

      And thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  4. Good news on the treatment session, at last. That family support is important, so hope you both enjoy the blessings of liberty, and living the traditional American life, filled with hard work, self reliance and happiness that comes from all that.
    John Blackshoe

    1. The treatment stuff is coming along nicely. I think it's helped by my own efforts at physical wellbeing and the whole thing is enormously strengthened by family. Cowgirl and I are sure teaching and learning and embarked upon a path together. Self reliance and willingness to grow and learn. Good stuff.

      Thanks for the kind words John.

      And thanks for stoppung by and commenting!

  5. What delightful children! The lady seems to be intelligent; a quality I find most attractive.

    1. They are all smart and cool. I'm blessed.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting WSF!

  6. She's lovely, the kids are awesome, and you look happy beyond words.

    So happy for you Shaun!

    1. Thanks Sarge. It's happy stuff for sure. Had no idear...

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  7. When you were talking about the injections I flashed back to when I got a cortisone shot in my shoulder.
    I was doing OK, and OK means I neither passed out, nor shrieked like a little girl.

    I worked on a State of PA run farm in my mid teens, they had a dairy operation, and our farm friends kept chickens for a long time.
    My memory supplied a certain "perfume" that's missing from the film! :)

    Small children, dogs, and being outdoors. I needed that very, very, much. Thank you.

    1. I think it's good for me to be on the patient side. Just a bit humbling. Of course I know what's going on and what to expect so everyone except cowgirl thinks I'm tough...

      The perfume is important! Cool that you had that job; lots of people will never have the chance to see how food really works. I've worked on a state (UNL) farm and enjoyed learning the research side. Most people have no idea how that works either.

      Glad I could share this stuff, yay technology! Glad you enjoyed seeing and hearing a little slice of our life.🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting John!

  8. Yay, you have been blessed with a beauty and cute kids. Good on you!

    1. I been whacked with the blessing stick!

      I have no idea why they like me... ;-)

      Thanks for the sweet words Brig and for stopping by and commenting!