Yesterday, I had an interesting conversation with Daisy's veterinarian, Dr. Dave. A few weeks ago, Daisy injured her knee so that her knee cap repeatedly--and painfully--dislocated. After we did our best to keep her from running and jumping for a week, she was doing much better and hadn't dislocated her knee cap in more than two days. I called Dr. Dave and left a message saying she was doing fine.
The next day, I let her out in the yard, and when I looked out, she was racing at warp speed, a picture of golden enthusiasm and energy. She changed directions suddenly and continued her sprint, ears flapping and fur rippling from the speed in her four furry paws. After staring for a moment in sheer awe of her unrestrained dog joy, I remembered that she should NOT be running. I called her in, and later that evening, she dislocated her knee again.
When I called Dr. Dave yesterday, he told me that dogs...goldens in particular...do not have the cognitive ability to understand that they have to take it easy. As soon as they start feeling better, they go full speed. We humans have to do the thinking for them. He was saying, nicely, that I have to be smarter than my dog, which, clearly, I was not when I let her out unsupervised.
So now Daisy must spend two more weeks on rest and anti-inflammatory medications.
As I was contemplating her stupidity and its consequences, it occurred to me that George, my crazy endurance-athlete husband, understands Daisy's impulse to run perfectly. You see, he has, for many years, repeatedly injured himself, rested for too short a period of time, reinjured himself, and suffered the consequences. In short, he has displayed the same cognitive limitations in this area that Daisy has.
This past weekend, however, he demonstrated a remarkable restraint heretofore unseen in the annals of his triathlon career: he went out for a short run and returned almost immediately because his knee hurt. He had run over 9 miles the day before, and he realized he needed to rest. He limited his activity in response to the thought that pain was trying to tell him something and he ought to listen to it.
He's learning. Daisy, on the other hand, can not.
Since George is, in all other ways, cognitively blessed with a well-developed frontal lobe, I have to assume that his slow learning curve on the matter of injury recovery is a glitch in our evolution. After contemplating George's challenge in this area, I reminded myself of the principle that if you point a finger at someone else there are three fingers pointing back at you. Oh, yes. I'm guilty of this stupidity, too.
I've been living with some pain for a while and have not done anything about it, mainly because I don't want a repeat of six years ago.
You may be asking, "What happened six years ago that would make you stupid, Susan?" Let me tell you.
Six years ago, I had pain and went to the doctor. What followed was a year of medical testing hell, multiple misdiagnoses, and enough test radiation that I had to carry a card explaining that I wasn't making dirty bombs but had been tortured by doctors, in case Homeland Security scanned me with a geiger counter. Good times, man. Good times.
In the end, only two tests proved positive. As a result, I had surgery to remove my gall bladder and started taking prilosec for gastritis. The gastritis was caused by my taking too much ibuprofen for joint pain, which was caused by my insomnia.
Life-long insomniacs, it turns out, have a high incidence of joint pain because the human body repairs daily wear-and-tear in our joints only when we are deeply asleep. We insomniacs don't get enough deep sleep, so our joints don't repair themselves, and we have pain.
I've barely been back to the general practitioner since, though of course I've kept up my annual visits to the stirrups and boob squisher. You know, just for the fun of it. And I've done my level best to get at least six hours of sleep a night, with mixed results.
Lately, I've dismissed some new joint aches and pains as the natural consequence of being a middle-aged insomniac, and when a list of perimenopausal symptoms included joint pain, that seemed like enough reason for my joints to hurt. But the truth is, I don't know. I am not a doctor. And even though doctors practice medicine (wouldn't it be nicer if they did medicine?), they know more about how my body works--and how to fix it--than I do.
I made an appointment yesterday to see my primary care doctor about the pain. Hopefully, she'll simply order me to start doing yoga, which, I've read, is helpful for joint pain and doesn't involve medications that damage your gut or your heart. Because without a doctor ordering me to do yoga, I simply won't do it.
I'm stupid that way.
In what ways are you stupid? How do you ignore what your body tells you it needs? What, if anything, makes you listen?