Category Archives: sciatica

A challenging trip to London

On Thursday and Friday of this week, we made a short targeted trip to London. The aim was to see a couple of exhibitions that were about to close. I had made the hotel booking a couple of weeks ago, when I thought I was clear of the sciatica, but it made an unwelcome return a week ago, reducing my mobility again. Coupled with the bad weather, I did wonder if I could make the trip at all. But I was determined to try.

We set out mid morning on Thursday, and had a very good trip to London, getting to the hotel (the Tavistock, Tavistock Square) just before 1:00 pm. There was no weather disruption, and although we saw plenty of evidence of snowfall on the way down to London, there had been none in London itself. Our first exhibition was ‘The Last Tsar: Blood and Revolution’ at the Science Museum. To get to the Science Museum involves a fair walk from South Kensington Tube Station, but I managed it with a few stops. I was concerned that this would be annoying/embarrassing to Angela, but she supported me 100% as always. When we got to the exhibition, it was excellent, and there were a few seats inside so I could rest from time to time. The exhibition was about the last years of the Tsar in Russia, and included the latest scientific evidence which explained how and where the Tsar and his family were killed by the Bolsheviks. There was also much interesting supplementary information on issues that affected the family, like the haemophilia which the Tsarina was a carrier of, which was passed on to the one male child in the family. How this originated from Queen Victoria was discussed, and led us to purchase a book called ‘Queen Victoria’s Genes’, by Potts and Potts, which I am currently reading.

We left the exhibition, had a fortifying cup of coffee, and headed back to South Kensington, perfectly timed for the start of the rush hour! But people travelling were very polite to me, and I was offered a seat when we got on the very crowded Piccadilly Line train. We made it back to the hotel (once again, I had to stop every now and then, but the main thing was that I kept going!) We had our dinner in the recently refurbished bar area (which was very nice).

The next day we had planned to go to the Gainsborough exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. In the end I decided not to tempt fate, but to stay at the hotel. Angela went, and enjoyed it, although there was the usual problem of too many people in the exhibition moving too slowly and crowding round the paintings. I would certainly have struggled with that. When Angela returned, we went to Euston, and found no problems or disruption (there had been some overnight snow to the north of London). We caught our train back to Stoke and then a bus back home with no problems.

I was very pleased to have made the trip. I was concerned about my slow walking in London, and possible weather disruption. In the end the first was no problem, and the second didn’t happen. All in all I feel encouraged by the experience, and if my problems continue I know I can do something like this again.

A footnote on the sciatica – as I said, I thought I was clear of it, but it returned. After much thought and discussion, we concluded that it was due to 2 things – going straight back into my old routine without giving my body a chance to readjust, and the return of the cold weather after a relatively mild spell. As a result, I am taking things easy in the hope that it will diminish, and if/when it does, I won’t make the same mistake again, but give myself a chance. I’m hoping for the best.

 

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Feeling better and pain free

For the first time, for two months, I am feeling better. The sciatica has largely retreated, leaving me with the occasional twinge in the knee, but that will hopefully pass with time and exercise. I had an excellent appointment with a specialist doctor on Friday, and her opinion was also that the sciatica has largely gone, and that we just have to watch the knee and hip, and if they don’t get better, action may be needed. I’m hopeful that it won’t be needed.

When you have been in pain for so long, you almost tune it out (although not when it’s severe of course). Sitting here and not feeling any pain is a revelation. At my worst, I couldn’t envisage working, let alone doing any form of creative planning. I am slowly getting that ability to think back, which is just as well, as I have projects to plan for just over a week’s time.

I have discussed with Angela how it all may have started. Certainly, having several hours in a very cold room a few days before I first noticed the symptoms can’t have helped. And carrying two heavy trombones backwards and forwards for several weeks for rehearsals and a concert that happened a week before then didn’t do any good either (and I won’t be doing that again – I will use the alto trombone where possible!) For now I am just grateful that this difficult time seems to be over.