Friday, February 04, 2011

Early-morning ramblings

Nancy asked in a comment I posted a couple of days ago, "Did you really post this at 3:14 A.M.?"
Oh yes.  I sleep well most nights; I usually go to sleep within minutes of going to bed.  However, no matter whether I hit the sack at 8 P.M. or midnight, I wake up early.  Usually not at 3 A.M., but often at four, and almost always by five.  I decided years ago that six hours of sleep must be right for me, because I cannot force myself to sleep longer unless I take an over-the-counter sleep aid.  Since I don't have to go to work, I don't often take a pill unless I've had a string of nights of only sleeping four or five hours.  
I'd love to sleep longer.  I lie there awake for an hour, sometimes, hoping sleep will return; it seldom does.  
Michaele left this comment on my previous entry:  "Six miles a day?"
This is in reference to the fact I mentioned walking that far, back in 1983.  
Yes, that year I became rather addicted to walking; there were days I even walked twelve miles.   
It's no wonder my knees are bad, is it?
Here's the scoop:
Cliff worked at a butcher shop three miles from where we lived during that two-and-a-half-year period.  He had a spell of extreme back trouble; he was off work for at least three weeks.  A couple of times he passed out from pain, just getting up to walk to the bathroom.  When he walked, he bent to one side; he absolutely could not straighten up.  
I checked out a book at the library, "The Back Book".  It really enlightened us on back problems and what to do about them.  
One thing suggested in the book was to start walking, because the more you lay around, the worse your back is going to get.  Cliff had tried everything else, including going to KU Medical Center, trying to find relief.  The specialists found very little wrong with him except for some nerve damage and several arthritic spurs, which the doctor said you will find in anybody who does hard physical labor.  There was no medical remedy for these problems.  
So Cliff figured he had nothing to lose; he decided he'd walk the three miles to work every day.  Since I really had nothing better to do, I accompanied him and then walked home alone.  That was my six miles a day.  
When Cliff started walking after being laid up so long, he looked like he was related to a pretzel, leaning to the side from the waist at a precarious angle.  Each day he straightened up a little more until he finally was walking totally upright.  
Cliff's back is still fragile as glass; every morning when he gets out of bed, he lists to one side a bit.  As the day goes on he straightens up, but he always has some degree of back pain.  When weather prevents us going for our daily walk, as it has in the past few days, his back stiffens up even more.  
That butcher shop where he worked for so many years is responsible for most of Cliff's back problems.  He was the strongest person there, so he was the one designated to lift quarter- and half-beefs from one rail to the next.  
You wouldn't believe how strong he was back then, seriously.  One time he had a brush hog mower chained up to a tree lifting it off the ground about three feet, so he could get underneath it and work on it; the chain gave out and dropped it on him.  I was inside the house; he yelled at me, I went running.  He needed me to get on the tractor, turn it on, and lift the brush hog off him.  I didn't have a clue how to do that, so my poor husband, frustrated by my incompetence, lifted the brush hog off of himself enough to squeeze out from under it.  
I remember when our first pig was ready to take to the butcher shop.  We didn't have any loading facilities, but Cliff rigged up something so that hopefully, we could lure the pig up into the pickup bed.  That's the day we learned that pigs are very smart; they know when they're being trapped, and they will go anyplace except where you want them.  After a couple of hours trying in vain to load the pig, Cliff got it cornered, stepped over it, reached down and put his arms around the pig.  Until he stood up with that pig, he and the pig facing the same way, I had not realized how big the animal was:  it's back feet were dragging the ground!  The pig was as long as Cliff was tall.  The feet dragging the ground hindered Cliff from stepping forward with his load, but somehow, amid much squealing from the pig, he got the job done.  Cliff and the pig were about the same weight.  All these kinds of activities, of course, contributed to his "glass" back.  
Speaking of his strength, Cliff had a reputation as an arm-wrestler, so of course everybody wanted to take him on.  The only time I saw him lose (back around 1983), he winked at me so I'd know what was going on and deliberately let a man win.  
He finally stopped arm wrestling when it began leaving him hurting for days after a match.  His right shoulder is afflicted with arthritis from so many years of wielding a knife; it's even somewhat misshapen, and I learned a long time ago not to pat him on the back at that certain spot on his shoulder.  It doesn't take much to make him wince in pain.  
Gee, I was only going to explain the six-mile walk.  I do go on, don't I?  

So far we have twenty-nine people who would like to have PW's latest book.  I hope the person who most wants it, gets it, whoever that may be.  By the way, I have three of her cookbooks to give away later on, in case you never got one back when it first came out.   They're signed, and they're brand, spanking new.  So keep that in mind. 


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Walking is one of the best exercises you can do and one that most of us can do. I miss having nice weather to walk in. It does make you feel better all the way round. 2 miles at a time is about all I can do. I hope your Friday is a fantastic one!

Adirondackcountrygal said...

Maybe I need to try that for my back problems.

Margaret said...

Walking is excellent exercise too. I love to be out in the fresh air, although I can live without the rain/wind. I'm glad that Cliff has found a way to keep his back issues somewhat manageable.

Anonymous said... know...cliff and I could be related we are somewhat alike..we neither one can hear very well if at all...and we both have back problems...and arthritis...we both like to eat and really need someone to watch out for us so that we don't over do it...and we both have a big heart...altho somewhat bruised!!! yup...we must be kindred!!! and I just looked at a PW cookbook on sale at Walmart...I picked it up and put it down three times LOLOL...oh..and since Cliff and I are somewhat is good to have you in the family too and hugs from sunny 27 degrees Kentucky

Sonya said...

Hey. I am posting from the docs office. I can read on the go with Google mobile reader. Cool. Walking is so good for us. I want to walk more this spring. We have big dogs around here though. Have good day.

Lindie said...

I have PW's cookbook. I waited for hours for her to sign it and then gave up. Figured the book was the important thing. Read the first half of her bok online and really enjoyed it. Will buy it soon if I don't win one! ;) I have an appointment on the 15th at KU Med Ctr for my back pain. To learn how to manage it. I know I need knee surgery. Keep putting it off.

Sister--Three said...

I love walking and used to jog, but my knees are just wore out. I still have hope that if I could lose 30 pounds I could walk that 3 to 6 miles a day. Walking clears your head and your heart! Nothing better!

patsy said...

it is snowing here.

Nezzy said...

Ya just can't beat walkin' for good all over conditioning! It's cheap too! Heeehehee!

It's snowin' here again too!

God bless and have a fantastic weekend!!! :o)


I understand how you feel about walking. I LOVE it. Until my knees got so bad, I used to walk 4 to 8 miles a day. Now I can hardly walk to my car, out in the driveway. I miss it more than you know. I'm glad you and Cliff still can, though.