Friday, March 11, 2011

Now I've gone and broken myself...

After gloating a month or two ago about outlasting the brickie, I'm now a confirmed invalid. Seems like the constant physical strain has finally caught up with my back. The lay term is "compressed disc", also known as herniated, prolapsed or ruptured disc. Medically, it’s “focal left posterolateral disc protrusion … indenting the thecal sac and displacing the left S1 nerve root”. In other words, me back is farked. I now have to see a neuro surgeon to see exactly how bad it is and - hope of all hopes - pray that I can resolve this without any invasive surgery. Having nursed a loved one through spinal surgery and recovery before, I have no desire to put Dana through that torture. Nor do I want to go through it all myself for that matter. So we'll see what can be done with physio, stretching, trigger points and anything non surgical that may relieve the symptoms. Apparently these things are capable of restoring themselves over time but I don't have 2-3 years to lie around and wait for that...sheesh, what would I blog about then?

I know now that I probably should have stopped 4-5 weeks ago at the onset of sciatic signs but was uber keen to learn as much from Steve as I could while he was available. We'd never originally intended to, or budgeted for, a brick and rock layer but we'd seen his work at Marijs & Peter's cottage over Christmas and were wowed. So, we struck a deal to get him to hang out at Bogie for a few weeks and teach some of me the tricks of trade while we laid as much as we could. Intention was then for me and Dana to finish off whatever was left over. Well, I reckon I picked up enough tips as we went to be able to finish off the walls to a pretty high standard. Only one small hitch - I'm now stuck prone on the couch in Reservoir waiting on the quacks...bugger.

Moaning and groaning aside, Dana and I spent the weekend @ Chez Bogie washing off the work that Steve and I had finished off 8 days prior. Should really be cleaning those rocks within 3-4 days after laying but it actually went well. Dana got all kitted up and splashed the acid around scrubbing away and I followed with QC and pressure washing. Managed to work through the discomfort (thank you codeine!) with lots of laydowns on the dirty carpet pile. We got it all done in a day and, if I must say so myself, it looks absolutely fantastic!
armed and dangerous
this thing packs a punch

looking sweet
view from the bogger seat - we chose some very lumpy rocks for this

So, the project goes on hiatus for some time while I get fixed up. Apart from the physical pain, I'm mostly spewing because I was really getting into the whole being outdoors building stuff process. Sure, there've been hassles with weather and supply of materials and advice, getting people organised and motivated but they are small potatoes compared to the joy of looking over a well done bit of work on your own house. Dodgy back aside, I was also getting all fit and feeling great for it. Now I have to waste away for a while before taking the long slow road to recovery. One thing is sure - I'm not gonna give up too easily on this gig. I so much want to see this house finished and for us to be living in it.

old fossil now bedded down for a looooong time
this one came as a surprise - didn't see half of that detail before scrubbing
saw some art - couldn't resist
more reflected musings

I'll keep you all posted...



  1. Shit! Sciatica is bad but compressed discs are badder. Look after yourself, Listen to the doctors, physios etc and get better soon! Love the photo of Dana! Cool gumboots!!

  2. Thanks Rachel,
    I'm doing all the doctor things.
    Got Dana those boots while working in th US a while ago...designer wellies!!

  3. Hey John, just ran this problem past Donna, and she reckons that it is definitely one that some Feldenkrais could provide not just relief, but help put things back where they belong! Best place to start in looking for a practitioner is the national website:

    From one back sufferer to another, I wish you success in the pain reduction stakes. BTW, those rocks are AWESOME!!

  4. Hi Dave,

    Cheers for that. I am doing physio at the moment, which is starting to relieve the symptoms and correct imbalances. Catching up with an old mate next week who is also a Feldenkrais practitioner.