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Briefly back in the saddle ...

Friday 01/12/18

Debby Faulkner-Stevens

I had recently started horse riding again after a gap of many years and it was wonderful to be back in the saddle if only for a gentle hack with a little trotting. All I could sensibly manage as all my riding muscles are a little out of shape. I was lucky enough to have my own lovely Welsh mountain pony when I was a young woman and it was a wonderful period of my life with some marvellous memories and great characters.

I did, however, have a very nasty fall - not whilst riding my pony - and landed flat on my back on the main road looking up to see a Mini and a rather scared looking driver looking down on me. Somehow I had the presence of mind to keep a strong grip on the reins so the chestnut mare who had shied and tipped me off in the path of the car had not galloped off down the road! 
That incident  left me with a weak back that soon lets me know if I've overdone it. I am very familiar with the feel of the particular pain that causes and treat it successfully with painkillers and sometimes massage.

Over the last three months I have been experiencing a different kind of pain in my back. Much more acute and not eased by my regular over the counter pain killers, so, after two months of it I go to my GP who diagnosed muscle spasm and  prescribed heavy duty painkillers.
A good friend recommended a chiropractor her husband swears by so he paid three visits to my home as by this time I was unable to drive or walk easily. He was mystified as to why his treatment was having no effect so, frustrated by the lack of progress and worried by my being in such pain, my husband arranged for me to see a doctor privately.
More heavy duty medication followed - by then I had got to the liquid morphine stage. Once again the pain relief did nothing and so I had an MRI scan, the  results of which had me in A and E the next day and a week long NHS hospital stay with lots of tests and a CT scan to boot.
It appears I have something called discitis - pretty rare apparently, trust me! - an infection that sets up in the spine hence the medication had no effect as antibiotic treatment is needed to attack the nasty little visitor that has set up home in my spine.
Good to know I check out 100% in a all respects and am in excellent health apart from the virus which, although horribly painful, is not causing me to be ill in any way.
I have just had tissue and bone samples taken from my spine at the Nuffield Hospital in Oxford. Better gloss over that as it was pretty horrible, other than to say the young man who introduced himself as my nurse during the procedure shook my hand and said,'My name is Vlad'. I defy anyone not to mentally add, 'The Impaler', and given they were about to stick what felt like nine inch nails into me, rather appropriate.
Home now, and with a new set of pains to deal with as well as the discitis pain. Thankfully the puncture wounds respond to painkillers in the normal way, so that is a relief!

Of course, no painting has been done for a few weeks now and how frustrating is that??? Normally in November I start making the story books for the grandchildren and I shall be so miserable if I can't deliver anything hand done this year.
Once the results are back from the Nuffield, I should be staring on a lengthy course of antibiotic treatment. It can take 6 - 8 weeks of intravenous treatment, but I'm hoping that once it gets in to my bloodstream I should start seeing improvements in my pain and mobility quite soon.

Luckily, I managed to finish my entries for the RMS exhibition and all have been accepted as have the six miniatures I sent to The Miniature Arts Society of Florida annual show. I received a lovely invitation to the private view but unfortunately won't be going. Maybe next year .....

The Great Secret Project is done - at least my dear friend and collaborator in the project has completed his part and it is rather marvellous. He is justifiably very pleased. Now it's down to me to do my bit and I can't wait to get back to work and hopefully be  fit enough to ride again very soon.

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