Twelve years ago, in a life I can still remember but rarely think about, I was in an accident and sustained compression fractures in my spine. A year off work and a lot of good fortune later, I made a full recovery.
A full recovery is not the same as having my old back though; it’s not the same as it once was. It’s sensitive now, protests more, will not stay silent if I ignore it. Finding out the hard way, I realized that I needed to care for my back with stretching and strengthening or it would seize. And mostly I felt lucky that such basic interventions could go so far with a back with well-earned trust issues.
But I fell off the wagon with this a few months ago, and my back started to hurt, sometimes enough to prevent sleep. With the embarrassment of a slow learner, I confess I did nothing about this. It’s true that I was extremely busy. But I should have known.
I dropped my children off at school on Monday morning and bent over while trying to clean up the kitchen. I have been in bed almost continuously since.
People who don’t have back trouble (including me pre-accident) don’t quite understand what it means. The back hurts, yes, but it also means you can’t walk, lift your arm, turn your head, or cough. Everything stops.
It’s wildly inconvenient. In addition to the predictable whatever for dinner and sending children to school without socks and spousal double-duty and help from family and friends, there were other consequences. I was so looking forward to attending a soapmaking workshop at my new store on Tuesday, and this blog presented the chance to attend a kids’ event so enticing that I informed my kids’ school two weeks ago that they’d miss school on Wednesday afternoon. I couldn’t go to anything, of course. Everything stopped.
And yet. Bored and bedridden and in pain, yet I have to confess to another real feeling these past few days: relief. Life has been something of a runaway train lately, and I am doing my best to keep my head about me while riding it. For the moment, I can’t (or won’t) get off – I’ve assessed and re-assessed everything I’m doing, and I don’t want to give anything up. It’s exciting but, well, I’m not really in control of this ride.
Lying down, with time moving more slowly at least for a little while, has been a reprieve, a relaxing of my hold on things. It’s temporary, and hardly a vacation. But it is a pause, and I find myself, somewhat incredibly, grateful for it.
I’m suspicious sometimes, of just how much the mind and body are in cohoots… did my body just do for me what my mind wouldn’t do but perhaps should have? All I know is that when I finish writing this, I’m going back to bed to rest, and to sleep, because there’s nothing else I can do, and I’m kind of glad of it.