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Friday, February 12, 2010

Running on fumes

I had my first physical therapy session today since my three-level cervical fusion a month ago. I'm tired almost beyond words. But, those of you who know my blog are fully aware that I'll probably end up writing quite a few words!

K and I climbed up to Hug Hill this morning, with my frisky chocolate friend leading the way.
Then, we followed a favorite trail, and we discovered that no one but Leo the Mountain Lion had walked on it anytime recently. The trail was a clean slate of snow that recorded his every step. The tracks had melted and frozen at least once so I knew that he wasn't just ahead of us on the trail.
I was slightly frustrated to see these tracks. I've been trying to get a wildlife camera on this trail but technical difficulties have slowed me. So, I missed a lion photo. Oh well - he might come through again a few times this year. If he's the big male that I believe that he is, he may patrol a humongous territory, encompassing as much as 150 square miles. That's why he passes through our trail network only sporadically. However, female lions and subadult lions definitely use smaller pieces of his territory while sneakily avoiding a confrontation with the big boss - so one of them may pass through in the meantime.

In yesterday's post, all of the lion track patterns that I showed indicated that the lion walked slowly and carefully, precisely placing his hind paw in the track of his front paw. Today's tracks were different. He hurried at times, taking long walking strides that caused his hind paw to overstep his front paw track. It led to the pattern shown below, with two left paw prints followed by two right paw prints, etc.
In the photo below, two left prints appear at the bottom and two right prints appear at the top. Notice that, just like in our dogs, the front paw is bigger than the back paw. In the top pair of prints, the front paw hit first and then the the hind paw hit just ahead of it as it overstepped the front paw's track. For me, seeing the tracks of this huge predator feels mystical. Today, I put my fingers in the tracks to feel the impression that his paw pads had left in the snow. I'm amazed and thrilled that these wild creatures live, almost unseen, in our forests. It feels like their powerful spirits infuse our land with wildness.

After my walking and my other rehab exercise, I headed into town to see my physical therapist. She concurs with my doctors that I'm moving through the healing stages very fast. But, I keep asking everyone why I'm so tired, why my brain seems foggy, why I keep forgetting things, and why my mood can plummet so easily. Basically, I feel like I'm running on fumes every single day.

Apparently, after such a major surgery, having some cognitive problems for months is not uncommon. After all, I was knocked out for close to five hours, I'm still taking novel medicines, and my body is working overtime healing. Somehow, I have trouble visualizing *why* healing takes so much energy. However, I can attest to how much it saps my spirit and brain power.

I think that my sweet K is big part of why I'm healing so fast. What a partner in surgery recovery she's been for me! She's always by my side, watching, loving, playing, and snuggling. Her eyes seemed to twinkle with love as she peered into my soul during our hike today.
And, R has given us both the gift of laughter. What a big-hearted dog he is!
And, most days, nature has brought me peace and excitement. Take today - I saw mountain lion tracks early this morning and a soul-soothing sunset this evening while walking with my wonderful family/pack.
I have to conclude that I'm pretty lucky.

14 comments:

NCmountainwoman said...

Your great attitude will serve you well through therapy. And no doubt the dogs make things a little better. Great photos.

Khyra The Siberian Husky And Sometimes Her Mom said...

Once again, a post full of so much including love!

As for R, I'm sure D.K. will mention his 'R' bringing comedy relief to all The Herd!

Keep up the good work BUT don't work TOO hard nor be too hard on yourself -

The Thundering Herd said...

Khyra and Phyl crack us up. I was going to comment on how much our canines help our healing process, from a simple cold (where they are most amusing) to as major a surgery as you have had. And then she mentions how the "r's" of our lives are just such total clowns. My R certainly makes me shake my head in wonder all of the time.

The OP Pack said...

Maybe the OP Pack needs to add an "R" to its ranks.

So good to hear the report that things are going well despite the fatigue. I think we often forget that our bodies take a major hit from surgery. Keep moving along but pace yourself too:)

Happy Valentine's Day.

NinjaPonyDad said...

"It feels like their powerful spirits infuse our land with wildness."

You have a way with words as well...
the photos are wonderful and their quality has improved along the way....but those spirits have infused you,too.
That infusion affects all that pay attention to it.
This year of the Bobcat has had our bobcat visitor here twice. He/she comes to look at the horses....just sits and looks.
Keep healing, you are doing SO well!

NPD

houndstooth said...

I think it's true, dogs do make the best nurses and cheerleaders when we're recovering from illness and injury! Treat was with me through three bouts of pneumonia, one surgery and countless other bouts with illness. My favorite picture ever taken of us together was taken while I was recovering from my surgery. K looks so lovely there as she was gazing at you, as if she was looking at the whole world there in your face. I also LOVE that new banner picture! I smile every time I see it!

I do remember really struggling with bouts of depression when I was healing, too. It's not just you! I tend to be very sensitive to a lot of medicines and the anesthesia really threw me for a loop. I can't say how long it took for me to be completely over it, either. I do know that it was several months at least. Don't be hard on yourself for not bouncing back the way you thought you would. Just be kind to yourself and give it time.

Barb said...

Your sunset is like a cornucopia of blessings! I love the photo of K's beautiful eyes. I think we want to be better in too much of a hurry, KB. Though we think we're patient people, we're not willing to take time to heal. As our energy drops, so do our spirits. I think you're progressing with incredible speed. Your walks bring a smile to my face. Stay safe!

Sam said...

Once again, such a positive post despite the negativities of having to wait for your body to be 100% again. You are truly an inspirational person!

You and K are so lucky to have each other. It's easy to see how strong your bond is.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora KB,
Once again, so cool, relaxing, and inspirational to come and catch up. Good friends, Nature, and your amazing journey. Kia kaha!
Aroha,
Robb

Samantha said...

Again, so much intuition, information and yes... love! Love for the sheer joy of discovery in the wild winter forests, love for getting in your walks and love for knowledge and the sharing of it. Most... love for K and R - I see the adoration too, in K's eyes! Happy Valentine's Day!
Hugs xo
Sammie

Twinkietinydog said...

Your attitude and the fact that you became so physically active post surgery will see you through this. Add to this nurses K and R. May you break every record. I get the feeling you are not a pill popper. If you're not used to pills and meds, they really do a number on you. Our mom turns into an angry female dog when she's on meds for her back. You go KB, brea every record :)
Twink!

Sierra Rose said...

Oh the sweet eyes of K, your special trail blazer on land and in healing. Amazing to be healing so fast. Time will open up that clarity and energy. You're doing great!

Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
Sierra Rose

Maery Rose said...

Patience grasshopper... I know it's hard for someone so full of life and with so many things she wants to do, but you are doing amazingly well. I love the way K looks up at you. I struggle to get a face shot of Java because she's looking all over the place for the next thing she can get into. But once and awhile, I get those full on looks and it does make me feel good.

Wild Dingo said...

The glass is half full, huh? you damned positive types! ;) i feel pretty lucky too. very lucky.

K&R are just what a person needs to be all right with the universe!
wags-n-wiggles,
wild dingo