Sunday, April 23, 2017

1980 (20) - Crisis #1

Brown Landscape - Art Quilt by Jean Baardsen

To go to the beginning of this book, Tropic Moon: Memories, click HERE.

Our first crisis came when Ed's physical condition deteriorated significantly.  I suppose this is as good a time as any to present Ed's "medical opinion" as to the source of his problems.  He felt that during our several-day trip in December from St. Maarten to Antigua, when he'd been on the wheel for extended periods of time, and had been rather careless of his sitting position, he had abraded the casing on the sciatic nerve on the right side of his body.  This is where the nerve passes through a small opening in the muscles in the hip.  He reached this conclusion (and it was several months in the forming), based on talks with his Dad, some problems his brother once had, visits to a chiropractor on Tortola, and a study of Gray's Anatomy.  He never did see a medical doctor or get an x-ray.

We also understood there are two types of nerves, one taking messages to the muscles, and the other returning pain signals to the brain.  For all the months since Christmas, Ed hadn't had much muscular control in his right leg.  When lying on his back, he hadn’t been able to lift his leg more than six inches.  Coinciding with our haul out at Nanny Cay, Ed started getting feeling back in the leg muscles, and the pain was excruciating.  In fact, the pain was so bad that when I learned of an American "bone doctor" on the island, Ed agreed to see him.

Fabric Postcard, 4" x 6" - Jean Baardsen

The “bone doctors” were two chiropractors.  They both examined Ed, and agreed they couldn't determine the source of the problem - but did offer several possible causes.  The more professional of the two chiropractors explained about the opening in the hip muscles where the nerves pass through.  The other one, among his many guesses, suggested muscular dystrophy or multiple scleroses.  The chiropractors wanted Ed to get an x-ray, but the only machine on Tortola was broken, and Ed was in no shape to travel to St. Thomas. 

Ed saw these men for five "adjustments."  He had so little muscular control, both the pelvic bone and the hipbone could move around loosely.  The chiropractor would pop the pelvic bone back into place, but by the time that Ed got back to the boat, and climbed the steep ladder to the deck, it would have popped out again.  Ed learned to pop it back in by himself, while lying on his back.  One interesting aspect of Ed's recovery was that the muscles "came back" one at a time, starting at the bottom of his leg, and working upward.  Each muscle pained him for several days, and then he'd have a day or so of relative comfort before the next one would act up.  I have no idea how many muscles there are in a leg, but this went on for weeks.

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