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I was going to talk about my morning walks this month so I could share with you the marvel of seeing a fox in the salt marsh, or a tiny frog on a fencepost, or even how beautiful the mountains look first thing in the morning when the air is crisp and clear. And then my back went out.
This isn’t the first time it’s happened, but it’s been long enough since my last bout that I had sort of lulled myself into thinking I was past this nonsense. As someone who never had back problems until recent years, it’s a phenomenon not unlike the fox, the tiny frog or even the mountains, because it definitely brings tears to my eyes!
If you have never had back problems, stop reading this story right now and go do something physical. Yes, you heard me – stop reading and start moving because that’s exactly what I wish I could do. For those of you who have had back problems, stay and commiserate with me. You probably already realize that after a few days (okay, even hours) of intense back pain, one’s mood becomes less than festive. I say this only because it’s been four days since this started and no one in my immediate vicinity will have anything to do with me. I think I’ve given grouchy a new poster child! And please don’t dare ask me how I’m feeling, because I’m liable to tell you, and trust me, there aren’t enough hours in the day!
Before my back went out I had plans – big plans. I was going to get a lot of packing done. I was going to do a lot of writing. I was going to see a bunch of movies. I was even going touch my toes repeatedly, just because I could. I’d even taken a couple of days off work so I would have ample time to get all of the aforementioned projects completed. Maybe my first mistake was making plans. Because since my back went out about the only thing I’ve been able to do is whine and complain. I’m a fun-fest if ever there was one.
There are lots of theories about bad backs. A chiropractor friend told me that many times what manifests in the back is actually the result of something else completely. He said that many times when people have suffered from an intestinal disorder like the flu or food poisoning, a few days later their back will “go out.” While he was sharing this tidbit with me, I began thinking back (no pun intended) to my previous week’s behavior. I had been dealing with some sort of intestinal problem which I vehemently hoped had nothing to do with the sushi I’d eaten. As if that wasn’t sufficient reason for concern, I’d also managed to eat an entire bag of movie popcorn all by myself. Could tainted fish and popcorn hulls account for my present condition? The mere thought makes me shudder (and even that hurts)!
Another new-age-sort told me that when our backs go out, it’s nature’s way of saying ‘slow down.’ Actually, she told me that any ailment is pretty much nature’s way of telling us we need to take it a bit slower. Really? Is that the best you’ve got? If so, it’s surprising that the entire population of the civilized world is the least bit mobile. We’ve somehow managed to elevate the rat race to the rat triathlon. If we aren’t trying to do more than is humanly possible on a daily basis, we (or perhaps that’s our bosses) feel we aren’t doing our part. Heck, I remember people telling me that I got breast cancer because I needed to stop and pay attention! They were well meaning, and not trying to be mean, but even then I had to question this line of thinking.
Nearly as plentiful as well-meaning friends’ reasons behind back ailments are their solutions to the problem. Soak in hot water. No, no wait, put a pack of frozen peas on it. If that doesn’t work, lie on the floor and pull your legs towards your chest and hug them. And, probably the most reliable – if none of this works, bend over and kiss your backside goodbye! I venture to say this last pose is probably the real reason I’ve been taking yoga – I just didn’t realize what I was trying to accomplish.
By the third day I was so bored with myself that I finally accepted a challenge from a friend on Facebook beseeching me to start participating in the game Words with Friends. I love words. I live for words. I’m a sort of word-a-holic. Unfortunately I stink at this particular game. I mistakenly thought since I excel at Scrabble, this would be a no brainer for me. To date, all it’s done is make me feel like I not only have severe back pain, but it’s accompanied by an equally severe pain in the neck called Words with Friends! This is one instance where I think the word “friends” has definitely been abused.
So now, just to reiterate – I have a bad back, I stink at word games, I’m grouchy as can be, and as I finish this story, my Labor Day holiday is now over and it’s nearly time to go back to work. What do you want to bet by the time I have to head to the office my back will be completely mended? I think I know a four letter word that would work just perfectly right about now!