Monday, January 31, 2011

Who's Got My Back? Hopefully Not You...

It’s been too long since I blogged last, so I thought I’d give a brief update.

As the title suggests, I’ve been having some pretty bad back problems of late. It started on Christmas Eve as I was wrapping presents. I awkwardly reached for a gift label, and my back muscles completely tweaked. I spent Christmas Day on the couch as family celebrated mostly without me. That laid me up for a good week at least, and with the help of my blessed Dad, was able to function at least as a household.

Then Friday it got me while doing laundry. Tweaked again, and in much pain. I always knew housework was bad for your health, and now I have proof! So when I ask if you’ve got my back – God, I sure hope not. I wouldn't wish a back injury on my worst enemy. Once you have a bad back, I’m afraid it’s pretty hard to not have one again.

I started thinking about all my back issues yesterday, did some math (yeah, I know – scary), and discovered that I’ve had back problems for half of my life now. Twenty years this August. That’s a long frackin’ time. I originally blew out three discs in my lower back while working as a nursing assistant in a nursing home on August 24, 1991. I remember that day vividly, and the poor elderly woman I was dressing at the time. I swear, I could even hear my back breaking when it happened. That incident had me on Workers’ Comp for more than two years. I eventually settled that claim in 1995, and still kick myself for doing so. I haven’t been the same since.

I continued to have problems on and off over the years, and finally got to a point where I couldn’t even walk in 2003. I ended up having a complete disc fusion on October 13, 2003, another day I’ll never forget. I woke up from anesthesia to find out that my Mother had passed away while I was in surgery (another story for another day). It was an odd, serendipitous event because I don’t think I could have handled my Mother’s death had I not been so loopy on the necessary painkillers. That sounds horrible, but I think it’s true, and I digress…
This isn't my actual back, but this is what it looks like now...
Once I healed from the surgery, I felt like Superwoman. My back was now forged with titanium steel, and would out survive me…life was good. I was careful, for the most part, not to overdo anything that could bother my back. Then I got to where I stopped being careful. Being a single mom, and a homeowner, stuff needed done, and I was the only one to do it. So I did them. What else was I supposed to do?

However, life has a way of bitch-slapping us when we least need it. Christmas Eve, for example. Not when I was building the trellises in the back yard, or putting in complete flower beds in the front, or even putting together Josh’s basketball hoop. Nope, it had to hit me on a major holiday. Not when I was lugging concrete from the back fire pit, or even when I work on my car. Nope, just when I picked up a laundry basket. Bam! Hello back pain…my old friend.

Tired of it? You betcha. Half my life is about long enough I think. 

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