Apparently the last time I checked in here about the new and exciting back problems I’ve been having was Monday, when I lamented that while Sunday’s walk clear across downtown Portland went without a hitch, Monday’s evening walk in my neighborhood did not. For more reasons than one it makes sense to bookend the run of weekdays with an update.


Tuesday

On what would have been Willow’s fourteenth birthday, I went for my usual afternoon coffee out to read, and that evening I managed to do just short of my full walk, around one and a quarter miles, at somewhere between my middling pace and a stroll, all with a backache.

Wednesday

Mostly this day was spent dealing with the emotional hangover of Willow’s missed birthday, although I did get in my usual breakfast out in the early afternoon, I again managed to get in just short of my full walk at what felt like my exercise pace but according to my watch afterward in fact had been at my middling pace.

Thursday

Upon waking, I managed to wrench the left side of my back so hard that it continued to bother me all day, including while reading at the coffeeshop, on top of feeling the physical hangover from the emotional hangover of the day before, and then did just the long loop of my walk, again at what felt like my exercise pace but again turned out to be my middling pace.

Friday

Yesterday’s wrenched right back continued into its second day, and when I went to turn and sit down outside the coffeeshop it wrenched all over again, sharply, and continued to be a problem for the rest of the day, but some acetaminophen let me get in a grocery errand I needed to do nearby and then get in what’s usually the short loop I tack onto the long loop of my walks, all of which happened at a stroll pace at best.


The biggest takeaway from all of this isn’t just that my back continues to plague me but that on my walks I’m now feeling like I’m exerting myself at my exercise level when it’s really just my middling level. So, less effort is feeling to me like more effort, again putting a damper on the idea of deconditioning.

While I continue not to endorse the idea that any of this is ME/CFS, even with folks on Reddit and Bluesky mentioning “mild” (or, sometimes, more like leading edge) cases, I think it’s time to sit down and read that recent review paper at least to see if there’s any kinds of useful language to borrow.

As mentioned previously, I’ve finally got an appointment scheduled with my new primary care physician, for the second week of November. I’ve got to bring her up to speed on my being autistic and dyspraxic, and on the fatigue and the (related? unrelated?) always-low white counts, and now the back aches and pains.

It does vaguely feel a little bit like my body is toying with the idea of a bit of an accelerating decline, and as I approach the end of my fifty-fourth trip around the sun, I’d really like the next orbit to be one of answers.