Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Overdoing It

Last Saturday dawned cool and clear, with a touch of southerly breeze. I decided it was time to shake off my physical troubles of late and go outside and do some work. One thing I do for exercise is cut wood, the dead fall on the vacant lot south of us or from the common property east of us. We have lots of downed trees, from 3 inch diameter up to 12 inch that need cutting.

Well, they don't really need cutting, but it seems a good way to get some exercise. I finished cutting a large tree that came down and almost hit the house. The lower portions of the trunk were 12 inches diameter or a little more. I cut it into 24 to 30 inch lengths and piled them, not really planning to do anything with them. Then, last year our daughter and son-in-law in Oklahoma City began burning wood in their fireplace. Not for heat but for ambiance. The bought the starter logs and wood bundles you see at many stores in these parts.

So I decided to take the wood from my wood pile, cut it to shorter lengths, and split it. Then I figured Lynda could take a nice amount each time she went to OKC for grandmotherly duties. Well, that next time was Monday just passed, and Saturday dawned no only clear but also without any wood split. So I dragged out the maul and the wedge and set to my task.

What I quickly learned is my fingers and hands are much too weak to wield the maul with any force. So I got the sledge, a lighter instrument, and tried to split logs with just it and the wedge. I found this worked fine. A few taps with the maul seated the wedge, then a few good blows on the wedge split the log. I worked at it for two hours, resulting in the wood pile you see in the picture.

Now, this may not be much production, or much of an accomplishment, but for me it was great. I felt my hands working more or less the way they should. My knees were not hurting, and the longer I got into my work the less I felt any knee pain (that that, you ehrlichiosis bearing buggies). Of course, I was tired at the end of my work. A brief nap in my reading chair and a shower were most enjoyable. But I felt great.

Until about bed time, and the next day. My left knee felt pretty good, as if I popped something back in place as I mauled. But my right knee was pretty much toast. I got around on Sunday, but with knee weakness and pain. Slowly it improved through the day—faster than the muscles recover after playing baseball for the first time in the spring. I walked both Monday and Tuesday noon to no ill effects.

Then, last night I walked about two miles at a fairly fast clip so I could get it all in before dark. By bedtime I could sure feel it in my right knee, worse than it was Saturday night.

So, what should I do for this RA flare up, brought on no doubt by that useless tick? Exercise is supposed to be good for RA. Maybe just no quite so much exercise, and a little more gentle. I'll try that for a while. I skipped my noon walk today, even though the weather was gorgeous. I'll let my knee heal a little then try it again, at a gentler pace this time.

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