Thusday: Hili dialogue

April 30, 2015 • 4:56 am

Life goes on, until it stops. More work today, squirrels to feed, chicken breast for dinner, and oy, for some reason I strained my back yesterday, so it’s painful to walk or even move. That hasn’t happened in years, but otherwise I’m holding up okay for a Senior Citizen (yay discounts!).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, her Highness has a sharp word for her staff, who apparently let her languish on the veranda:

Hili: I don’t understand why it took you so long to open this door.
A: I was asleep.
Hili: That’s not your job.
In Polish:
Hili: Nie rozumiem dlaczego tak długo nie otwierałeś tych drzwi?
Ja: Bo spałem.
Hili: To nie jest twoje zadanie.
Clearly, sleeping is the cat’s job!

57 thoughts on “Thusday: Hili dialogue

  1. Oh weh! Hexenschuss! That’s what it’s called in German. The idea being that a witch pointed at you and made your back hurt. So annoying and painfull, the bane of the desk workers!
    Get well soon!

  2. Oh man cats are good at the evil eye! I “snapped” the bag I was about to use for disposing of the treasures I scoop out of the litter box and kitty jumped two feet in the air and ran down the stairs. She was giving me that look all day yesterday; hopefully we will move past this episode. Eventually.

    1. I find I’m startled like cats are. Someone shouted gleefully behind me when I was walking to my car the other day & I nearly jumped out of my skin. I feel a lot like that cat in the video that forgot there was a lizard behind him.

  3. Hili looks rather intimidating at eye level, on a shelf just outside the door. I’m sure she’s aware of this.

    1. That is very true! I thought I was the only one who appreciated her fine snowy-white paws! I think they are also indicative of her good proportions. Hili is a big cat with big paws, but everything is the right size.

  4. I recommend naproxen for back pain. Too much and it kills your stomach though. I doubled what the recommended dose was last week because my back was hurting me (all my muscles tighten with migraines and a week of them left me like a stiff ball of fibrous tissue) and I paid for it in stomach pain.

    1. Wish I had read your comment half an hour ago…I just got back from a quick trip to the drugstore where I settled on acetaminophen for…wait for it…lower back muscle spasms.

      Been a long time since the last episode. It was a bit annoying yesterday, got kinda bad but not too terrible late afternoon despite a bit of stretching. Nothing day before yesterday. Really bad this morning, though I slept fine.

      I’m hoping the drugs will do enough to the pain that I can fully stretch everything, and that the stretching will stop the spasms. We shall see.

      Might be marginally less pain than when I started typing…but, then again, I waddled into the bedroom and laid down to type.

      …and it’s definitely better now after a certain cat just took an emergency cat nap on my chest. Amazing how that works….


        1. There’re lots of variations…but the one consistent theme I’ve found of anything that actually does any good is to, very carefully, very gently, stretch as far into the pain as you can tolerate, then just as carefully back out. The act of stretching hurts a bit more than your current baseline of pain, but it lessens the pain after the stretching and helps speed the recovery.

          You can do it sitting in a chair at a table. Sit up straight. Keeping your back straight, lean forward and shift some of your weight onto your elbows. Slowly rotate your pelvis outwards, like an attentive slouch, then back to straight.

          Yoga has a bunch of poses, with one of the more relevant ones being a pairing of “cat” and “cow.” Start on your hands and knees. Arch your back up like the Halloween caricature of a frightened black cat, again trying for as much rotation of your hips as you can manage. Then go the other direction, trying to imitate the posture of a cow. Slowly and gently rotate back and forth between the two, pushing yourself as far as you can tolerate. You’ll find that “cat” tends to hurt more than “cow.”

          One other big consideration…make sure you always stay in a position where you can take much of your weight off your legs, either by supporting yourself with your arms or by lowering yourself with your arms to a neutral position. Or, in other words, don’t get yourself into a position you can’t get yourself out of.

          It probably helps to understand that it’s almost always a muscle spasm in the same family as a “Charlie horse.” You could even have one muscle out of place crossing another one, or otherwise twisted. And much of the discomfort aside from the actual pain is from other surrounding muscles that’re all tensed up in order to “protect” the spasming area, to take the load off of it. The problem is that the spasm isn’t going to go away until all that stuff around it relaxes enough to let things settle down.

          Once you’re past it, a pair of good Yoga poses to help keep things limber to help prevent recurrences are the “cobra” and “downward dog.” Cobra is easy and might be something to try now; lay on your stomach and raise yourself up at the waist as high as you can with the help of your hands pushing at your waist. Don’t try “downward dog” until you’re healed.

          A lot of the pain medications at the drugstore included caffeine as an active ingredient. So, I’m about to make my first attempt at Turkish Coffee with the ibrik I bought a couple days ago. You’ve got that espresso machine in the office, no? Perfect excuse for an extra cup.

          …and, if you can scare up a cat to borrow for a bit, that always helps….


          1. You also can never go wrong with icing. We like hear better but you have to know when to use it. When you are in full spasm, icing is best.

        2. A little bit of gentle stretching, appropriate to your current level of incapacity, is sure to help. My best luck was using heat and cold alternately. I use a heating pad for 15 minutes, then apply a cold compress – one of those blue packs you put in the freezer.

        3. People with back pain- and I have been one for many years- I recommend a McDavid Back support, adjustable. It helps me from *re-inuring* my back during moving stuff, yard work or karate!

      1. I too found my lower back pain weird. I often have mid back and shoulder/neck pain. I switched chairs at work and put time into adjusting it and I feel a lot better though my back is entirely too stiff. I need to star back with yoga.

        1. I have moderate scoliosis, with sciatic pain, and gentle stretching works for me.

          Out of curiosity I picked up a yoga magazine one day, and inside the magazine, a woman with severe scoliosis explained how yoga is what kept her mobile. Without it, she would be so stiff and locked up from muscle tightness that she would have been unable to move. Yoga = lifesaver.

          1. I imagine there’s likely a lot of woo surrounding a lot of yoga…but the basic stretching and exercising parts of it are good.

            And you don’t need to “do yoga” to stretch and get the benefits thereof. It’s another one of those things that you’re not likely to go worng whichever route you take.


            1. When I had an inflamed disc,I got a yoga for backs tape and followed those exercises gently and carefully. In a couple weeks, np my back was better.

              1. Not at all surprised. And the exercises, if you’ve kept up with them or something similar, likely helped prevent recurrences and minimize them if they’ve happened.

                Almost anything that focuses on “body core” — the torso, as opposed to arms or legs — is going to be good…

                …with a caveat. It’s very easy to focus on the front, on the abs, and ignore the back. So, make sure that, whatever movement you do in the one direction that you pair it with something similar in the other. For example, if you lie on your back and raise your extremities — such as with leg lifts or bicycles or crunches or jacknives or whatever — then also lie on your front and raise your extremities. A very simple-yet-challenging one is “Supermans.” Lie on your stomach with your arms over your head. Lift both feet and both arms (and even hips if you can manage it) as far off the ground as you can. It’s nowhere near as easy as it sounds….


              2. During my long time suffering with migraines, I used to have crazy tight muscles in my neck. Yoga was the only thing that kept me mildly functional enough to work. I’ve let things go for a while now though. I’m ridiculously stiff now.

              3. It’s scary how quickly things can go south if you neglect them, and I’m frequently daunted by the thought of what it’ll take to get back…I have to keep reminding myself that it won’t be as bad as I think it will because the recovery is always quicker than the initial build-up. Not that I ever believe myself.

                I still wish I knew what triggers a muscle spasm like what Jerry and I are going through right now in the first place.


              4. I once slipped on ice on my parents’ front step. Brutal spasms! You’d think the back was broke. I think it is nerves saying, “holy crap I think the back is injured, here lets annoy the muscles so this stupid organism doesn’t do anything to ruin the back completely”. Meanwhile, a lion comes by & starts eating you because you can’t move. Thanks a lot nervous system.

              5. Yeah — I don’t think very many people going through this the first time (or the first time in quite a while) can emotionally accept that it’s really “only” a muscle spasm. It feels like there’s gotta be something more going on — and, of course, sometimes there is. But most of what you’re feeling is the reaction to something bad. Even when there really is something bad, it’s the reaction that’s responsible for a lot of the pain with the something bad being a surprisingly minor contributor.

                The good news, such as it is, is that you get all of the pain but without the underlying injury….


            2. I put yoga, massage therapy, pilates and chiropactory in the same class, more or less.

              The problem is when people start saying that all of the above can cure cancer, make unicorns fly out of your butt, etc. Basically, one way to feel good and relieve tension is to stay limber! I view chiropractory as just another form of massage therapy, and it has worked for me in that regard. As long as you don’t expect miracles.

              1. You want to be careful with the chiropractors. Some (too many) of them don’t know enough anatomy to safely be manipulating people’s bodies the way they do.

                But, those sorts of caveats aside…yes, there’s a great deal of benefit to be had from the power of touch, and, no, it doesn’t do diddlysquat for much of anything past soft tissue problems.


              2. For years I went to a great chiropractor. He mostly did soft tissue work – active release, etc. and he was pro science (had a science degree but so do many of the quacks) and he didn’t subscribe to any woo. We used to laugh at the other crazy local chiros who believed in healing crystals and such. I miss him but he practices in the town I no longer work in and it is way away from where I work & live now.

              3. My GP was an ER surgeon in a past career and has some sort of chiropractic credentials. He’ll do adjustments when he thinks they’ll help, or at least won’t make things worse.

                The basic non-woo part of the theory really just boils down to good posture and it’s damned hard to argue with that.


              4. I saw a review of the research on the effectiveness of Chiropractic and they concluded, as I recall, they were not any more successful than standard physical therapy except at treating lower back pain where they were marginally better. I’ve never been to one and don’t plan to. All the hype is based the anecdotal reports of friends of friends it seems to me.

              5. I liked my guy and I had a bad experience in physio. Where I went, the guy wanted to make as much money as possible so he’d treat way too many people at once and not wipe down the table after (I got lots of colds because of that). He also gave you acupuncture & that other thing with the electricity and needles without putting a swab of alcohol over the area to be punctured first. He would also say things like “this isn’t a spa” if people complained about any pain from the treatment.

              6. Wow…that is the exact opposite of my own experience with physical therapists. Then again, the majority of the clients were employed by major league sports teams, including some very big people with even bigger names….


              7. Right Diana. Physical therapists can be nasty. Mine treated my back and blew out my knee which had been fine. I left in much worse shape than I went in. That was over a year ago and I can still feel it. Never again. I’ll just get a good book or YouTube video and treat myself.

  5. I hope you have a fast recovery. I recommend:

    Hot tub
    Doing your bent-knee crunches (I find these often help even after the muscles spasm — they stretch out those offending muscles)

  6. Stretches to ease back pain:

    Back exercises to strengthen back muscles:

    Pelvic tilts:

    If your temperature is elevated or the back pain is persistent and doesn’t clear up very soon, see a doctor, in case it’s kidney issues which can cause lower back pain. You also don’t want to aggravate your back if something is really amiss there. Drink lots of water anyway in the mean time.

        1. Certainly not for something this common and relatively straightforward.

          I think a lot of medicine is like this. Scary as all get-out when it happens to you out of the blue, miserable even after you know what’s going on…but, in the big scheme of things, not all that big a deal.

          …at least, not that big a deal if you have access to modern medicine. If you don’t know to stretch, a sore back can last not a day or two but go on for weeks or even months…and if you have to go out and hunt during that time or else you’ll starve?

          Things that today aren’t that big of a deal are likely a big part of the reason why our ancestors lived lives that were so often nasty, brutish, and short.


        2. Hi, Diana. I remember you mentioning your neck pain. I recently heard on CBC radio that people who are on the computer a lot or check their cellphones a lot tend to have neck and shoulder pain. A lot has to do with poor posture, and it’s very bad when we have our cell or computer screen positioned in such a way that we have to hunch forward and look down at it. It’s a weird new habit to form, but it’s best to hold your cell up (and reposition your comp screen) so that you don’t have to bend your head down and forwards to read your messages. Bad for the spine and you can get all kinds of pinched nerves.

          Asked my new family doc (studied at Mac) for a possible name of a doc in Hamilton but no luck. She said the best route is through the healthcareconnect service. It shouldn’t take more than a couple of months, maybe less, given your chronic issues.

          1. Yeah my pain is less due to less driving and sitting. I do have a spur on my neck high up and that causes chronic muscle spasm so I always have some pain and stiffness on one side.

    1. …and, I’m reminded of another crucial component to stretching, one that’s often not emphasized enough in instructions: relaxation.

      It’s one thing to successfully twist your tortured body into whatever pose you’re going for.

      The real challenge, and the one that pays the most dividends, is to relax as many muscles as possible once you’re properly pretzled.

      It might superficially seem like relaxing should be easy and…well..relaxing. But, man, is it not! Your every instinct is to fight to keep your body from moving in that direction that’s causing the pain the pain the pain, and relaxing is the last thing on your mind and something that’s instinctively only going to make it worse…and it might, to a limited extent…but it’s also the pathway out….


      1. Excellent point Ben.

        When I cycle my back, I focus closely on the sensation of the blood flowing into the muscles, which is pretty easy to discern. If that isn’t happening, then they are still tensed and need to be relaxed.

        And it can be VERY hard to relax those muscles — they are in spasm. The stretch (for me) is an aid in getting those muscles to relax.

        And once they are relaxed, they need rest.

        1. Yeah…there can be a slow-spreading not-quite-tingling sensation of warmth. Damned hard to get, at least for me…but it’s not just a relief, it is relief.


  7. Yikes, get better soon, PCC! Glad you elicited all the helpful hints above–I’m sure I’m not the only one who can also benefit from them.

    And that’s a beautiful portrait of the Princess!

  8. About everybody’s back pain: as a sometime swimming teacher, I have to point out the benefits of swimming. I think it fixes everything, but this may possibly be a slight overstatement. It certainly allows gentle movement (I am thinking of a leisurely front crawl) without the necessity to support your body weight. It improves muscle tone and accomplishes the stretching exercises that people have been talking about, and all the time you are as light as a feather without undue pressure being put on your sore places.

    1. I couldn’t agree more about the benefits of swimming. I try to get to the pool once or twice a week. It feels great.
      But, I wouldn’t swim right after an injury. You could make it worse. First, I think, it’s important to allow time to heal with very mild mat exercise.

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