Thursday, October 9, 2008


This posting is not for sympathy, it is for informational use.


As a result of having Polio (also called infantile paralysis) as a child, I have come down with what they call Post Polio Syndrome.

What happens at the onset of the polio virus is the killing off of about 80% of the muscular nerve receptors in the body. Luckily we are born with many times more of these receptors than the normal body needs in its lifetime. And since a large percent of polio victims are young children, their bodies reroute nerves to areas that still have live receptors. This sometimes gives at least partial use to previously paralysed limbs and muscles. In my case it involved both of my legs, right arm and spine. I regained full use of my legs and about 90% of my right arm. My spine however was left in a very curved and twisted position due to atrophied muscles, which left me with a limp and loss of 3 inches in height, loss of neck and shoulder muscles left me stoop shouldered.

Post Polio Syndrome happens about 30 years later as the remaining nerve receptors die off from use and abuse causing muscle use loss and eventual atrophy. This can also happen to previously unaffected muscles and limbs. It can also affect the diaphragm and chest muscles causing breathing problems. But it can also cause a problem described as "brain fog". Nerve synapses in the brain misfire causing problems of lost thoughts and words, along with concentration and balance problems. Kind of like A.D.D. meets Alzheimer's adding Dyslexia and dizziness just for fun.

So, in my case, over the last 15 years I have lost leg muscle which causes fatigue and pain when standing, walking, and sitting. I developed restless leg syndrome. I have "drop foot" in my left leg which means I cannot raise my foot off the floor which causes me to sometimes catch the toe of my shoe (when I am wearing them) and trip and fall or stumble. My left leg also just quits on me on occasion, like someone tuning the switch off and back on without warning. My right knee is shot, arthritic and a bone on bone joint. I have lost my pectoral and most of my upper arm muscles in my right arm making it about 60% weaker, and muscle loss and weakness in my left arm. My back muscles are weaker and I have degenerative disc disease, 2 pinched nerves caused by herniated discs, (I can't stand to lay flat on my back or sit in a comfortable chair, riding in a car is pure pain) and arthritis caused from 30 years of abuse working at a grain terminal and carrying around over 50 pounds of excess weight (i.e.-fat), and losing 1.5 inches in height. I can no longer read for enjoyment (mind candy), I used to read about a book a day, having anywhere from 2 to 5 novels being read at the same time.(while working in the library in high school I got bored and read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica collection and the Complete Websters Desk Reference Dictionary from cover to cover in my junior year) Now I get frustrated trying to read and understand a paragraph at a time. Reading used to be like watching a full color movie and now its like watching a black and white documentary without the sound. Writing is a mental challenge especially when fingers don't hit the right key. It has taken me almost 3.5 hours just to write this post so far. I no longer enjoy any of my old hobbies because of lack of concentration. I can no longer wade the river fishing, paddle my canoe, or accurately shoot my guns or bows. I can no longer throw knives or tomahawks. Driving is a mental and physical challenge that I no longer enjoy.

But what I can do is fall. I am slowly getting better at it. Whether it's caused by my leg going out, dragging my toes, loosing my balance or just plane accidental, I can now do it without a moments notice or grace. After I was too disabled to work in 2003, I used to keep a journal of my falls and injuries, but gave up after 2 years as it was quite depressing to read. Now I let my chiropractor do that for me. Most of the time I never even bother to let my M.D. know unless it is serious.

Let me tell you about my last couple of falls. Monday while trying to attach a small set of discs to my lawn tractor to disc up the garden, I lost my balance and fell on the discs. Realising that I was falling, I let my knees buckle (less distance to fall) and relaxed, just letting it happen, and kind of rolled onto my side to protect my now damaged shoulder. The result was not good, but it could have been worse. My right knee, hip and side suffered to save my left shoulder. I had my wife take this photo tonight.

This morning while attempting to sit down at the computer, I pulled out the chair and was trying to sit down, when Gracie my cat, must have jumped up on the seat. I felt her under my derriere and tried to stand up, but only managed to roll the chair out from under me and landed flat on my back on the floor. Saving Grace!!! Ruining my last chiropractic adjustment.
Now both of these accidents caused me to use my injured left shoulder to lift myself up to a standing position, bearing my full weight. I must also use my bad right knee to accept my weight as the left one is untrustworthy. And it is easier for me if I do it unassisted, so all my wife can do is watch and worry.

This is my lot in life and I accept it. Everything I do anymore has a price that must be paid. And that price is pain. Just sitting here writting this has a cost, but me and MR. Pain have had a long relationship. He is like my shadow, sometimes like a bright sunshiney day and he is there in full strength and other times he is hardly noticable like on a cloudy day. But he is always there, waiting for the sun to shine. I even changed the words to one of my favorite songs in his honor. See if you can sing along with me, keep in tune now, because I can't. First the original lyrics.

Every Breath You Take
By: Police
Album: Synchronicity

Every breath you take
And every move you make
Every bond you break,
every step you take
I'll be watching you

Every single day And every word you say
Every game you play, every night you stay
I'll be watching you
Oh, can't you see
You belong to me?
How my poor heart aches With every step you take
Every move you make Every vow you break
Every smile you fake, every claim you stake
I'll be watching you

Since you've gone I've been lost without a trace
I dream at night, I can only see your face
I look around, but it's you I can't replace
I feel so cold, and I long for your embrace
I keep crying baby, baby please,

Oh, can't you see You belong to me?
How my poor heart aches With every step you take
Every move you make Every vow you break
Every smile you fake, every claim you stake
I'll be watching you
Every move you make, every step you take
I'll be watching you
I'll be watching you

[ Police Lyrics are found on ]
Now My Version

Pain’s Song
By: Grey Wolf

Every breath you take
And every move you make
Every bone you break, every trip you take
I'll be clutching you

Every single day
I’m going to make you pay
Every game you play, every night you stay
I'll be clutching you

Oh, can't you see You belong to me?
How your poor back aches With every step you take
Every move you make Every bone you break
Even at the lake, every nerve you shake
I'll be clutching you

Since you've been born, I've been at work keeping pace
when you fall down, landing on your.... face
I look around, but it's you I can't replace
I feel so good, and I long for your embrace
I keep crying Gary, Gary please,

Oh, can't you see You belong to me?
How your poor bod aches With every step you take
Every move you make Every bone you break
Every smile you fake, every nerve you shake
I'll be clutching you
Every move you make, every step you take
I'll be clutching you
I'll be clutching you

WOW, somebody was WAY off key!!!
OH, ...nevermind.......
it was ME.


Country Girl said...

Awwww Grey Wolf, you can't help but feel bad. You have it pretty rough! I love your lyrics and yikes that is some bruise. Hang in there!

Jodith said...

I can so sympathize with the not being able to read. At one point, when my fibromyalgia was at its worst, I went for a couple of years where I just couldn't concentrate enough to read anything. I've been an avid reader since I first learned how, and not being able to read just broke my heart. I think it was the absolute lowest point in my entire life.

I'm so sorry life is so hard for you. But I'm impressed with how well you face it.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Ya know I just have to admit to you that I was slightly dissapointed in your "GROSS ANATOMICAL PHOTO". I really was hoping for something a little more exciting. lol!

But that is one killer bruise, my friend. How long do those types of bruises take to go away?
I am leary of bruises on my own body because they tend to take months to go away and end up with huge knots inside of them.

I'm fascinated with your analogy of Mr. Pain as a bright sun when he's strong and as a cloudy day when he's weak.
Most people would call a painful day a cloud filled one and a pain free day a sunny one.

But I suppose Mr. Pain causes glaringly bright pain, so the type of sunshine that sears your eye is a more relastic analogy for anyone who suffesr such horrible pain, such as you.

About 14 years ago I suffered from two ruptured disc (C6/7) and my life was miserable. For me, standing up was hell and I ended up needing surgery, which took over a year to recuuperate I totally sympathize with you on that type of pain.

I've been suffering from hi dysplasia for most of my life and of course it's gotten worse as I've gotten older (not old, k?)
Sometimes one of my legs just gives out and I hav to be fast on my feet to stop from stumbling.
So I can feel for you in that regard, too.

Your song lyrics made me cry, though. Mr. Pain is such a controlling slave master, isn't he?

I appreciate all the tolls you had to pay just to get your words out onto your blog. I'm glad to learn more about you.

I really wish we did live closer as I'd love to just to hang out, drink, eat and laugh.

Laugh, you say? What about?

Well, we could make up stories, using our brilliant imagination, on how our bruises were procured.

Won't that be fun?

You go first. :)


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

(ps, and please ignore all my typos, k? I'm a dyslexic and light fingered typer, so either letters are switched around, or a few letters just never make it onto the screen. lol!)


Farmgirl_dk: said...

I'm speechless. And I'm conflicted. My heart feels so sad for the pain you carry around every day. Yet, I feel you are blessed with an amazing attitude, a persevering spirit, and a family who absolutely adores you.
How lucky can an unlucky guy be? :-) :-)

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Oh yeah...
(Dr. Danni's orders)

frugalmom said...

Okay Mister. I think those should be your last falls.

I am so sad for the pain that you endure. And yet, the fact that you are able to go thru everyday with such a positive outlook and that you have such a wonderful family by your side, well thats a huge gift.

GreyWolf said...

Country Girl: No actually I have it pretty good. I have 2 friends that I visit when I start feeling sorry for myself, Dan has cerebral palsey and George had an anurism explode in his brain about 10 years ago that left him with NO short term memory. So no matter how bad you think things are...they can always be worse!

Jodith: I can sympathise with you too, as my wife has fibro and most days she is worse off than I am.
And losing the ability to read to an avid reader is about the worst pain that can be inflicted.
Thank you for visiting and commenting.

Lisa: Come on now, that photo was "gross" enough!!!
Just how much more skin can you expect to see in one photo?
The KILLER BRUISE will probably last about a month and was maily caused from the blood thinners I take. Oh, and I always tell everyone that asks about my many bruises that my wife beats me. She then threatens me with a real beating!
I call it MISTER pain because I have learned that it demands respect, and you don't want to tick him off. I did once, and was humbled by the experience. Before my 2 youngest decided to get married a few weeks apart, I was in some pretty serious pain and wanted desperately to walk my daughter down the isle and "dance" at the receptions. So I went and had nerve blocks done, and they allowed me to do most of what I wanted to accomplish. HOWEVER when they wore off my pain tollerence had dropped alarmingly and I vowed never to do that again! It took 2 years to build it back up to where it is now. I rarely admit to having pain now unless it is far above my tolerance. Although I must confess that when it is, ANYONE around me suffers from my pain induced ill temper. My poor wife bears the brunt of most of it, but even my grandkids end up with a GRUMPY GRANDPA now and then.
Yes we do share a lot in common and I am sure we would have great times.
I alredy went first, your turn. And how much "gross anatomy" are you willing to show :)
And how do you manage to ride a horse when you have bad hips? Doesn't that agrivate it?

DR.DANNI paging DR.DANNI, please report to the OR now!! Man has his cranium stuck so far up his rectum he is turning blue!!!
Yes, I can't imagine going though this without my wonderful family.
And telling me not to fall is like telling OPEC not to raise oil prices. A waste of breath, but your heart's in the right place.

Marcee: My "NEW" DR. has told me as much. Don't be too sad for me, there are plenty out there worse off than me. And as you say I have my great family and many friends who are giving me the support I need to get me through the rough spots. GREAT THANKS to you all.
P.S. does Danni "quack" in her sleep? I need to know before I get her first bill, and I figured that since you spent some time with her that you would know. SHHHHH!!! don't say it out loud, she has a stethascope ya know.

Farmgirl_dk: said...

I totally heard that.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Ok, so how's this for sharing my gross anatomy, eh?:

Horrific Leg

and for even more scary skin:
Ripped (scroll down)

And this is why I'm able to ride without too much pain:
My Amazing Saddle

But I really love to ride bareback:
Like This.

But I find that when I do I can hardly walk for several days afterwards. So I don't do it as often now as I would like :(

Owning riding and spending time with my horse is something I've wanted to do for 34 years. I finally get my dream to come true and I'm not going to let my stupid aches and pains get in the way (much).

Hang in there, k?


sugarcreekstuff said...

It sucks that some get handed a shitty deal.
Sounds like you were blessed with a great family and a wonderful spirit.
I'm sending love your way.

GreyWolf said...

Lisa: There Ya go, never let a little pain get in your way.
Nice photos, but bad IVY.
Maybe you should have ripped the other side of those pants too and then laced 'em up and called them DESIGNER JEANS. ;)

GreyWolf said...

Sugarcreekstuff: Thanks for the love, always appreciated.
Ya, but without the bad, you would never fully appreciate the good.
I have been blessed in many ways, so I can withstand a little bad every now and then.
Ya just gotta take life in stride and keep moving forward.
I did enough feeling sorry for myself the first year or two after this PPS hit me HARD and I had to quit work. But I learned to addapt and moved on.