I am still not willing to say there was really anything good about 7 weeks of bronchitis, but I will concede that it gave me my first day totally free of any back pain in years. By Christmas day, the sharp, grabbing pains that are the biggest danger to me had been gone for a few weeks, and the constant aching on days it snowed had finally stopped. But there was a chronic ache in the small of my back that never stopped or let up, and I thought I might just have to live with. It was still the farthest I'd gotten, but it was always there. But after the first week or so of bronchitis, it had finally let up. And, while the bronchitis was completely and utterly miserable, my back didn't lose ground or stiffen up, which my therapist was quite pleased to see. I was pleased too, and would have been pretty giddy about the ache going away if I hadn't still been sick and stuck mostly in bed anyway. It's wonderful to make progress, but if you still don't feel well, it's harder to appreciate how big of a difference it will be.
Last Saturday we drove to a funeral that was about an hour and 20 minutes away. I could tell the exact point where my back had reached its threshold, and the next day I was back in bed, but more due to the bronchitis getting worse from the adventure than my back. It was sore, but it was the first time I had pushed it too hard without being completely debilitated the next day. I won't be trying it again for a while because pain is the most dangerous thing for my recovery right now, but even less-bad is progress.
Last Monday, I woke up pain free and able to breathe normally again. I can't even TELL you how great that felt........right until I burned the daylights out of my hands. And this is a very fragile recovery, because by Thursday the pain in my hands had wound my back up again to the point of misery, and I had to use the meds to stop it. So I know there is still a long, long, LONG way to go, but until this little glimpse, it was entirely possible that I would never, ever be pain free again. I thought I had come to terms with that, and I was even reasonably okay with the chronic ache once the snow-related pain eased up on me because the possibility that THAT was going to be with me the rest of my life was dreadful. It turns out there are lots of things about pain I didn't know. An intense pain that will let up if one lays still is much less overwhelming than a less intense ache that just doesn't let up. Some pain is more dangerous than other types. Pain that doesn't move is probably a structural issue. And pain changes your life.
Today, for the first time in probably 2 1/2 years, I woke up, got dressed, and made the bed:
Saturday my hands had finally stopped hurting enough for me to wear loose gloves and I was able to go for a walk. It was cold and raining and I came back soaked, but it was wonderful because it was the farthest I had been able to walk in quite a while, and Boise gets such a bad inversion that in the 7 weeks of bronchitis, I could barely breathe at all outside--much less walk. Today, however,