For the past couple of days, my lower back has been going into spasm at the drop of a hat. Well, if I’d dropped a hat and had bent awkwardly down to pick it up, I could understand it. But there has been no dropping and picking up of hats that I’m aware of, and even MY memory can’t be that bad!
But, of course, I MUST have done something……this is a definite Payback reaction. What have I done?
Thinking back over the last few days, the only thing I can think of is that I had the audacity to think I could sit in my orthopaedic office chair and write a letter three days ago. They reckon back injuries take a day or two to manifest symptoms of pain. It must be that. It’s the only unusual-for-me thing I’ve done lately.
The spasms are evil. They catch me unawares. I go to move, to adjust my position, and I’m left gasping, my breath gone in a grunt. I am slashed, stabbed, zinged, and zapped, smacked, smashed, gripped and grabbed by these fiercely rigid pains wrapped round my whole lower back and S.I joints. I can’t stand up straight. Literally. I look like the character of Mrs Overalls in Acorn Antiques (Google Victoria Wood, Julie Walters and Acorn Mrs Overalls for an explanation of this if you’re outside the UK). Getting me out of bed and to the loo this morning required B hefting me bodily out of bed and holding me bent double whilst I shuffled awkwardly down the landing, one of my hands clutching and sliding along my thankfully long bannister rail, the other clutching my back in a parody of a pregnant octogenarian.
I can’t get comfortable. Sitting hurts. Lying on my back hurts. Lying on my front is worse. Lying on the side offers no respite. BEING hurts. If I dare to move, I’m doubled up. Even my go-to heat pad isn’t cutting it.
I (ok, WE) decided it would do me good to sit in the sun-drenched garden today. I had to use my stick to get outside – the big stick, not the single-footed slightly-more-acceptable, semi-elegant black one I usually use in the house, garden and on social occasions. This is the four-footed heavy-duty number, the one that crushes my spirit because it makes me feel like such a failure. Old before my time. Nothing like the all singing, all dancing, nightclubbing, car-booting, d.i.y’ing, yoga-ing, horse-riding, show-jumping, animal-training live wire I once was. No Ninja Warrior competition entry for me this year! B helped lower me onto my sunbed with its enormous and usually comfy cushions.
I lasted for precisely twenty minutes before I was forced inside to take more Valium. I had hoped that the 10mg I took last night would be enough to loosen the taut ropes of muscle, but apparently not. I was thrown into juddering, jerking, jolting spasms just lying there. Reluctantly, I hoiked myself up with my big stick, and ten minutes later I had managed to make it back indoors. Jolt-jerk-judder, jolt-jerk-judder, jolt-jerk-judder……my garden isn’t that big, but progress across a whole four yards was slow.
I couldn’t even collapse on the sofa, because my back and all round through both hips was restricted by rigid steel bands of spiteful pain. All I could do was sit (also not comfortable), wildly clench my non-existent stomach muscles to take the pressure off my back, and grab more Valium and morphine.
Eventually, with the brand new sunshine (summer is late this year – I’m usually as brown as a nut by at least the end of May) beckoning again, and with morphine taking the edge off, I jolted, jerked and juddered me and my big stick outside again.
Got to the sunbed. Problem. B had helped me onto it earlier, but was now upstairs working. Hmmm. Can’t bend down. Can’t stand upright. I’m somewhere between the two. Daren’t kneel as I have problems getting up once I’ve got down even without this back problem. Can’t twist and turn my way onto it. Can’t twist or turn, period. I am rigid. I feel as flexible as a turtle. Ok. So, what, then? How do I get back on my lovely comfy sunbed and proceed with the ritual sunbathing?
In the end, I had no choice but to use my big stick like a sort of fireman’s pole, grabbing its length with my hands whilst I put one knee then the other onto the bed. Next problem……now I’m on my hands and knees on the sunbed, and have to find a way of lying down. I can’t turn over, I find, so I am forced to push the release lever to let the head-end go down flat, and just gently, oh so gently, spread myself flat, with my head hanging just over the end of the bed to keep the tension off my back.
Valium and morphine kicked in, and kicked me out of consciousness.
Probably just as well.
B came and fetched me about an hour later. Good job he did, because by then I couldn’t have got myself back up again. I seriously don’t know what I’d do without him.
He very kindly spent some of his precious evening time, time I insist he spends relaxing, massaging my poor back. It did the trick. His magic touch persuaded the spiteful fingers of spasm to abate. He pushed them away. I wasn’t half as crippled by the time we went to bed.