I was sitting at my desk writing Thanksgiving cards, when I got up to cross the room to retrieve a couple of AA batteries to include in a small gift. I leaned down and to the left about five degrees …
I was sitting at my desk writing Thanksgiving cards, when I got up to cross the room to retrieve a couple of AA batteries to include in a small gift. I leaned down and to the left about five degrees or so and felt this nerve zipping sensation in my back. Instantaneously, I could hardly straighten up, and crept like a crab and bent knees back to my chair.
I was flabbergasted. What had happened?
In explaining it, nearly everyone said that something similar had happened to them. “I don’t understand what happened,” I said. “I didn’t do anything.”
I called Narrowsburg’s local pharmacist, Colin Peters. “What did I do?” I asked him.
“You strained your back,” he said simply. He told me to take ibuprofen, apply heat and cold, and move very slowly especially as I began to feet better.
“I hate to tell you,” he said. “You’re not as young as you used to be.”
We chatted a bit more and I hung up the phone grateful that in my own unknowing, there were others that had more experience.
There was other advice. “It’s a muscle strain, so use arnica, both the salve and the pellets. And don’t overdo it.”
When I called and canceled my five-hour car trip to Vermont, my father told me to lie on the floor and gently cross my ankles. “It’s an exercise and it can really help,” he said. “Trust me, I know back troubles.”
Worried, husband Stephen wanted me to immediately go to the doctor or chiropractor. I told him I just wanted to take care of it myself for a while.
And so I have. It’s been improving for the last three days. It still hurts, and I will probably have to have it looked at. But oddly enough, I am somehow happy for the experience of being less than able-bodied as my lower back is recovering. The experience has made me appreciate my body and my well-being, as well as its limitations.
“The body is a complex thing,” my mother said. “I like the idea of lying on the floor and stretching gently.”
So I have spent the last several days resting, easing out and into different sitting positions, being mindful about how I am moving.
Sitting on the couch at my son Zachary’s house after a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, I was content to hear my grandchildren’s voices, and only imagine how the newly installed batteries made the Lego train move. Rather than climbing up long steep steps to the second floor, it was enough to just sit and listen.
I have become hyper-aware of my surroundings and my energy level, and am content that the pain is diminishing somewhat, and I am moving a little bit faster.
I feel I have walked in different shoes.
I understand how climbing into a pair of underwear is an accomplishment.
I remember that as a child when I would fall down or get banged up, I would laugh uncontrollably. “Are you okay?” I would be asked. “No,” I would say between uncontrollable laughter.
That memory and that laughter came back as I found myself stuck in various positions, unable to move. Even as it hurt to laugh, I am awestruck to experience that old memory again. To experience myself as a vulnerable adult with deep aches, laughing in the midst of unknowable pain.
And, ironically, I have the perception that, even as I am physically unwell, I am feeling better and present for whatever challenge comes my way.
I hope you are too.
Sharing our stories at this time of great disruption keeps us balanced, connected and more able to find gratitude and meaning. Able to feel better.
I truly just want us all to feel better. Our world needs us.
Thanks for being on this journey with me for these past 12 months. And if you have any stories about how any of my musings were significant in your life, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for the complete series of “I just wanna feel better."
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