Try to imagine 'just for a moment' that you're a boxer 'in a boxing ring': Your slipped discs have been 'knocked to the floor' - so you step forwards 'with a grin upon your face, and you keep smashing them' after the bell has rung! The referee 'tries to pull you back' but you're having 'none of it' - as you get carried away 'hitting harder and harder'. For around month fifty-two of my recovery, I realised that I was enjoying tasks 'just like I did' in my pre-injury days (whilst also having to take 'less rest' between each task). I could continue 'pounding my slipped discs into submission' only that referee wouldn't allow it! For when I did get 'too carried away' then that pinched nerve in my neck 'would let me know':
How do pinched nerves affect your resilience? You've been punching to the point where you can hardly lift your arms 'for its felt so good' - but at the same time, you know that continuing to 'punch like this' is not a good idea! The referee doesn't like you 'punching down' for too long, and before you go too far 'he succeeds' in pulling you back ... It was here that I realised 'thank you' - because I have learned to listen to the pinched nerve in my neck. If I ignore it, then I am 'not so resilient' - but if I listen to it, then I bounce back 'much quicker' being able to do more tasks 'over the following days'.
At this stage of my recovery, I have noticed that 'I am doing a lot more - even when it feels as though, I am not'. For the difference that I have noticed now, is that whilst the pinched nerve in my neck 'can still play up' it usually clears itself so much quicker 'within a day or so' as long as I haven't 'really overdone it' (e.g. rubbing down the hard skin on my feet). I am having more fun 'but I have to pinch myself' because I can remember 'what it was like, when I couldn't do anything'. This was especially so 'at Christmas time' when I found that 'hours in days, seemed like years' for I could hardly move ... A festive task 'with much contrast to the past' was setting up of our main Christmas tree 'for Christmas 2021'. I was able to do 'lots of bending' to setup its base and install its lower branches 'without any discomfort'. I found that I 'started to laugh' when I remembered 'the same scene' for Christmas 2017 'excruciating agonising pain'!!! For me, the difference between these two scenes 'is a Christmas present in itself' which seems merrier 'with what I have done' this Christmas:
- Setting up and running my 'Hornby OO' trains. I decided to get these out of my wardrobe in early December. Having been several decades since these had last run, I suspected that these would require a service. This was confirmed when I first setup my train track 'on the dining room carpet' - which was also a mistake, as I had bent down 'way too much' (which aggravated my neck's pinched nerve). Over the next week I serviced my 'Intercity 125' (cleaned up 'contact bogies' and removed lighting circuit). I also cleaned up my track (using kitchen towel) then decided to setup a smaller train track on our dining room table (to avoid having to bend down). My 'Intercity 125' was soon running - I was really happy! I also ran my trains on Christmas Eve (Intercity, 'Duchess of Abercorn' steam train), Christmas Day (Intercity, 'Duchess of Abercorn' - including setting up its mail delivery system) and New Year's Eve 'Eve' (Intercity, Abercorn and 'Stowe' steam trains). In each session, I was able to relax 'watching my trains go round' for an hour or two - whilst feeling my neck's pinched nerve 'hardly at all'.
- Painting my model miniatures for five to six hours a day, for eight days running. This really has felt like the 'good old days' as I have been able to paint fifteen models (during Christmas week): Tyranid Warrior (x2), 'Khorne Berzerker' (x5), Ork Boyz (x2), Ork Gretchin (x2), 'Inquisitor Lord Coteaz', 'Jain Zar', Striking Scorpion and 'Legion of the Damned' marine. I have been in my element painting their finer details (skulls, runes, heads and talons) - with me being able to paint 'for much longer' before my neck 'starts to grumble' (usually 'only when I forget' and bend it forwards 'lots'). Whilst my painting 'has made me happy' I still have to be careful of that receding slipped disc in my neck, which is why I still take 'regular breaks' (once an hour or so 'for some food'). Whilst it may seem such a 'childish difference' I feel excited about the amount of paints that I now 'get out' in a typical painting session: Matt Black (undercoating), Angel Green (bases and hoses), Greenskin (Orks skin), Gun Metal (dry-brushing guns), Dragon Red (capes and talons), Greedy Gold (dry-brushing runes and armour), Matt White (undercoating), Werewolf Fur (pelts), Red Tone Ink (washing over red, skulls and faces), Daemonic Yellow (fire and gems), Mythical Orange (Ork attire), Banshee Brown (skulls and faces) and Weapon Bronze (dry-brushing skulls, faces and weapons). As such, my miniature painting is feeling 'much more fun, these days' but I still have to 'pinch myself' because it was a hobby that I was unable to do 'for ages'. It means 'so much more' to me now.
- Investigating my Dad's nineteen inch non-widescreen LCD monitor (which had packed up). This required some bending (to get to his cables) whereby I started off by testing his monitor's power lead (with my multi-meter). When I found this to be 'behaving oddly' I replaced the power cable. However, when I tried to turn his monitor on, I found the 'real culprit' - his monitor's power button was completely jammed! I decided to replace Dad's monitor with my spare 20.1 inch monitor - yet even this, would have been a task that I found 'very hard' in the past! As I can remember lifting my spare monitor (late 2018) when its weight 'felt like' a 100 kg. At this stage of my recovery, my spare monitor feels 'more like' 2 kg. Even so, I know that my neck 'can still play up' so I decided to paint my model miniatures (for the remainder of Sunday). Thus, it was the following weekend, until I looked at Dad's monitor again - whereby I had difficulty removing the LCD from its stand (I had to use a medium-sized flat screwdriver 'to lever it out'). I then removed the LCD's fascia, by unclipping the plastic clips (with both small and medium-sized screwdrivers 'levered in'). Whilst this levering 'had aggravated my neck' I was determined 'to find out, what was wrong with the power button'. Upon reaching the plastic power button, I could see what the issue was - part of the button 'had worn away' (it could no longer 'press the electric switch' located beneath it). With some 'pause for thought' (until the next day) I decided that I would 'fix this' by drilling out the button's fascia, so that I could 'depress the electronic switch' using a plastic pen lid (thereby 'mimicking the action' of the plastic button). I 'G-clamped' the fascia down 'then drilled and filed' which gave me a pinched nerve in my neck. So 'having listened' I decided that Dad's monitor would be 'tested and reassembled' on the following weekend.
- Changing my room's light switch. My analogue dimmer switch (and non-LED dimmer bulb) was showing several decades worth of 'wear and tear' - by being very hard to turn off. I decided to replace it with a 'flick switch' (and modern LED bulb). Dad pulled out the 'upstairs lighting fuse' (from the fuse box in the garage). I then worked on removing my dimmer switch. With fascia screws out, I was able to 'pull its fascia' from the wall (by 3 cm) - I was amazed by how much dust there was 'behind it' (as it had never been 'fully flush' with the wall). I disconnected the neutral and live wires, hoovered out the socket, then 'paused for some thought' when I realised that the dimmer had been connected up 'the opposite way, to what the new switch wanted'. As such, I decided to look at my parents existing 'flick switch' (to confirm which connection was correct). The dimmer had been 'the wrong way round'. I connected up my new 'flick switch' the correct way (neutral to neutral, live to live). Since I had to do most of this work 'leaning forwards' (to avoid moving my PC) I suspected that I would soon have a pinched nerve in my neck. Whilst I was right about this, it took twenty minutes of 'tidy-up hoovering' before my pinched nerve 'said hello'. Even so, I was able to get on with my model miniature painting (for the rest of the afternoon). I had planned to get my trainset out (in the evening) 'but having listened' I decided to watch 'The Polar Express'.
For my Christmas 2021 'has for me' been the best Christmas since I did myself in - for most of it, I felt like 'my pre-injury self'. Even so, I know that my neck's pinched nerve 'still needs more time to fully heal' (especially when I have 'overdone it'). In any case, I was 'just glad' not to be in 'writhing agony' this Christmas - which was 'my Christmas wish' come true! For recovering from multiple slipped discs 'is a journey' which is especially hard 'at Christmas time' ... You'd like to be merry, but in those early stages of recovery, it feels like your trapped in the harshest winter storm with 'Blizzards from Hell' - which will have you 'impeded to the maximum, struggling to place one hand in front of the other' whilst asking:
How do you wrap up Christmas presents when you have slipped discs? Brave the 'sitting down', agonise the 'cutting of wrapping paper', tremble the 'reaching for the Sellotape', dread the 'tying of ribbons and bows', grimace the 'writing of name tags' - whilst muttering to yourself 'it really does feel like, that these Christmas presents, are wrapping me up'!!!