Sunday, July 19, 2009

I'm Feeling Numb

That's the title of a cool U2 song. It's also the condition of my left thigh at the moment.

A couple of weeks ago I started to have some pretty bad back pain, mostly in my lower back. It started pretty suddenly: one day I just stood up from my desk at work and my back was pretty stiff. I didn't think much of it until later that day when I stood up again, and it was even more stiff, plus there was some pain. Things got worse over the following days.

It got so that every time I stood up after sitting down for a time at my desk, I could barely walk because my back was so stiff and sore. And the pain lingered. It would hurt me on into the evenings, and pretty soon it was a regular thing. I finally made the link that my pain was probably associated with the chair that I sit in at my desk, considering that my back was most stiff when I stood up from it. I started sitting in a straight - back chair late last week, and it has been getting better. Until yesterday.

It was yesterday that I finally got around to replacing the toilet in our main level bathroom at home. It had been leaking for a while, and it just needed to be replaced. I had replaced a couple toilets before, so I wasn't too intimidated by the job. I went and bought a toilet, and then came home and pulled the old one out. When the old one was out, I noticed that one of the slots for the carriage bolts on the flange connected to the sewer pipe was rusted out and had broken. hence the leaky toilet.

I jury-rigged the bolt using a washer, and put the new toilet in place. As I was tightening down the bolts, I heard a snap, and the toilet went limp off its mountings. Tightening the bolts broke the flange on the opposite side! Now I had no way of securing the new toilet to the floor. Since it was getting late, I gave up for the day. But when I finally stood up, my back was stiff and sore again. Sitting on the edge of the bathtub, leaning over the toilet all day did not do my back any good.

I took the project up again on Sunday afternoon. There were several more unexpected difficulties, but I muddled my way through them (although the toilet is still not fully installed - stupid shut off valve!). During one of my four trips to Home Depot today, I noticed that when I reached in my pocket for my keys, I couldn't feel my leg. I had been sitting on the edge of the bathtub all afternoon again, and my back was pretty sore. And now my left thigh had gone numb! It still is as I write this. My wife thinks I may have pinched a nerve. I called my bro-in-law, who has had his share of back problems, and he thinks my spine is swollen and is pinching a nerve that runs down my leg. Great.

I'm not sure what to do except perhaps wait it out and hope something changes. It's a really weird feeling. I keep tapping it and scratching it, hoping to feel something, but nothing.

I'm feeling numb.

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