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Quote of the day: ‘If you walk a mile in my shoes. you’ll end up in a gin bar.’ - Unknown

It’s 38 days since I had drink. An alcoholic drink that is. I think that is pretty impressive.

This weekend I have truly thought that I wouldn’t care what happened if strong, prescription drugs mixed with some good red wine or a gin and tonic inside me. I haven’t succumbed but by jiminy I have wanted to!

It’s been a bad weekend for several reasons.

One of several at the top of the list is utter frustration. Another being fear.

Frustration for the complete helplessness of not being able to cook properly. Even half full saucepans still feel uncomfortably heavy. I can’t even make a cup of tea either as the half full metal kettle is way too heavy also.

Reaching for things is a real problem - I shouldn’t be doing it at all. It’s only because there is such an improvement that I forget and before I know it, the stretch is happening or has happened. I won’t reach into the washing machine to get out laundry as it’s a really bad angle being low and forwards.

Sideways stretches are totally forbidden but I still try to and have to stop myself.

But I know I’ve stretched out a few times and it’s not felt right.

Wiping nether regions is still a clumsy affair but certainly easier than it was three weeks ago. Maybe it’s that very fact that things are getting easier that is causing the fear.

Carefully, I am able to put a couple of thin logs into the word burner but only because I now have thighs of steel. I can plié extremely easily with a ram rod straight back, hold for the prescribed six seconds, raise myself back up right onto my toes and hold there for six seconds too, before descending onto the soles of my feet.

Miles of walking every day and the two lots of daily exercises required by the surgeon’s physio are definitely paying dividends. Each, every and all day too, I am trussed into my back brace. The utter relief taking it off before bed is sublime. As good as taking off your bra.

I want to do more but too much sitting is hideous the following day. Too much standing also. Lying down is definitely best but it’s now starting to make me feel bone idle.

None the less, I have this scary feeling of being cast adrift. I just don’t know how far I can go or do without causing damage.

As each day gets physically easier, I am becoming more and more terrified that because things are getting easier, something has gone wrong.

It’s been so intense this weekend that I am now thinking, if it has come adrift, I don’t think I could go through having a repair done.

There are three further weeks to go before I will know whether or not things are progressing as they should. That’s when I go back for the follow up with the surgeon, armed with a new X ray that will be taken a couple of days before.

A full year before we will know if it has worked completely and the L4-L5 vertebrae are securely fused.

I loathe this feeling of complete and utter reliance on somebody apart from myself. I am completely dependant on someone. He is doing so much. Without Simon there would be little food save packet stuff, no warmth, no progress on the house, no clean clothes, no company, no dogs being fed, no cups of tea, no taking dogs to the vets.

Yes, we’ve been back down there again.

Arnie. Yet again.

He was so bad on Friday afternoon we both took him back for another appointment. Appearing totally depressed and disinterested in life, in some kind of deep pain, unable to walk, not terribly interested in food, squeaking when touched. He was in a really bad way. Ruby was all at sea too because he was so unhappy.

Same veterinary practice but different vet this time, as our usual one was fully booked until Monday.

With the patience of a saint, she went over every nook and cranny on his body until he let out a massive yelp.


So she tried the same thing again.

With exactly the same result.

Diagnosis is a herniated disc in his spine.

I genuinely feel his pain having three of my own. There seems to be a bit of a theme going on here.

Two massive injections later, and another bundle of pills to boot, namely dog-suitable Tramadol and an anti-inflammatory. Let’s hope this is now the correct diagnosis.

Twelve hours later it is like a miracle has happened. The dear little chap is happy - his eyes are smiling again. All pent up tension and pain has gone. Back to being the characterful little monkey we both love so much. He’s not meant to be running about, climbing stairs or jumping up on anything at all. Even going for a walk is not advised.

Of course he is trying to do everything though. Try stopping that one! We know he shouldn’t but bar tying him down, I don’t see how we can stop him.

It’s a complete joy to see him so happy and relaxed again. I hope he takes it slowly enough to allow himself to heal properly by the time the painkillers are finished.

Here’s to hoping, truly hoping, that we can both mend properly.

I’d like to drink to that but I don’t think I will.

This is what can happen when I do.



Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I’m Jill, a RHS gold medal winning English professional gardener, garden designer and landscaper living in South West France since 2012. This is a personal account of my gardening life, some of the jolly and occasionally not so jolly japes that ensued while working, that probably caused my subsequent back problems.

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