Ach. Pain.

My visit to the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow ended badly. I don’t know what it was—hoisting a suitcase into the car for the return trip home or reaching across the day-bed to strip the sheets from that odd piece of furniture that doubled as my sleeping nest—but some unwise movement did damage to my body.

I felt the pain first when I was stripping the sheets; as I leaned across the too-small-for-a-man-my-size bed, I felt a sharp pain in my lower back, just above the point at which my lumbar vertebrae connects to my sacrum. Well, that’s where I think I felt the pain, anyway. I had already taken my suitcase to the car, opened the hatchback, and lifted it inside. That may  have been the point at which I did bad things to myself. But it was at the point of the simple act of stripping the bed at which I felt the pain.

It  hurt from the outset, but got progressively worse. I told my car-mates I would be unable to help them get their bags into the car. The accommodated me. I crawled into the car and began driving home. They offered to drive; I refused, believing the pain would be best controlled if I had the steering wheel to use as leverage to lift myself in and out of the car. I think I was right, but the pain got worse with each passing mile.

By the time I got home, my lower back was in full rebellion. I extricated myself from the car with great difficulty and made my way inside the house one slow step after another until I was able to find a place to sit at the dining table. My wife emptied the car of suitcase, coats, my hat, and computer. She fed me a light lunch of spiced cottage cheese.

Afterward, I tried to sit in a straight-back chair in the living room, a painful mistake that exacerbated the pain. The only position in which the pain was tolerable was while standing, bent slightly forward at the waist. It was obvious to me I could not long endure that odd position, so I decided to try getting horizontal in bed. I was stunned to learn how bloody hard it is to go from vertical to horizontal with a painful lower back. But I finally did it. Two hours later, I was surprised to learn I had drifted off, in spite of the pain. Yet the pain seemed to have gotten a tiny bit better.

I got up and sat at my computer. Wrong decision; wrong chair. More pain.

Then, a little later, a wonderful dinner of baked cod and steamed broccoli and a nice salad. The pain was a touch better, but still agonizing.  I tried and succeeded to sit on the sofa. The pain was relieved a bit if I moved “just so.” And so I did. After watching the final episode of House of Cards for the third time, I watched an episode of Orange is the New Black. When I first started watching the series, I found it highly appealing; what the hell happened? A good drama turned into a slapstick soap opera; is that what bad writing does? Or it is the direction?

I held out until just after 10:00 p.m.  Then, I crept into bed and tried to find a comfortable, or at least a less painful, position. Up twice to pee in the night, I realized getting out of bed can be just as painful as getting in. I was awake far too much, but the pain was tolerable. Suddenly, it was after 6:00 a.m.  How the hell did that happen?

As I swung my legs off the side of the bed, I learned my pain had not disappeared in the night. But it’s marginally better, almost tolerable now. And so it is. If I could get up from this chair, I’d go in search of a large quantity of aspirin to see how well that works. Better yet, perhaps the morphine fairy left me a present while I was away at Dairy Hollow. No, I suspect not.

I do loathe pain and I am not at all good at dealing with it. I think I have an allergy to it; pain causes me to whine, though not necessarily aloud. But I can hear it and I don’t like it. But I prefer the silent imaginary whining to the real nasty pain. I sure as hell hope this pain dissipates quickly. I cannot imagine even going to the store like I am now. Hell, I cannot even imagine standing up.

With good fortune, by this time tomorrow my agony will be a distant memory. Exceedingly good fortune, I suppose. Call it what it would be: magic.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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One Response to Ach. Pain.

  1. Joyce says:

    Until you have experienced on-going back pain you have no idea how it impacts you both physically and mentally. Try using ice packs to ease the pain but if it isn’t better in a day or so go see a spine specialist! I have SpineTeam Texas on speed dial. I was actually house bound November and December. Had 4 super strength steroid shots in my lower back on January 8th and after two days of recovery I now feel 20 years younger. Have to keep reminding myself not to do too much. Am back to grocery shopping, doing laundry, going to the library, etc. I know the shots aren’t a permanent solution but I’ll take what I can. John, please take care of your back!

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