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.