Somewhere around 10 years ago, I had a back “issue”. I wasn’t doing anything crazy, all I did was plug my laptop in to a power strip on the floor and stand up. Well, I didn’t get all the way up, because I was frozen in pain. The pale white, cold sweat kind of pain. Off to the hospital and then home for bed rest. If I remember correctly, it took at least a week to recover.
10 years later, I get an anniversary visit. Again, not doing anything stressful, but maybe I can identify a little more that contributed to it this time. The memories are not so pleasant as each one comes back to me. This time around I don’t have the luxury of higher medication, so I’m getting by on heat, cold, and Advil. I have a business trip next Wednesday; not sure how that’s going to go. But I’ve had a couple observations as I attempt to remain as still as humanly possible to reduce the likelihood of pain.
This is more of a restatement of a fact I learned 10 years ago. Once you have a back failure, you will never be the same. And that was true. Every once in a while I’d get a warning that I was doing something wrong or overdoing something else. I was always careful to take it easy after that. This time, I think I got the warnings too late.
Next, recovering from a failure is like playing Operation. You move slowly, carefully, trying to remain as steady and still as possible, then BZZZZT! – you get zapped. You freak out, nearly collapse from the stabbing pain (or just freeze solid), and you lose the round. You have to start over.
Typical things become scary as hell. Coughing, sneezing, going to the bathroom, all might trigger a slight pain or a massive wave of pain. I am sure it is just like having any abdominal surgery except on the opposite side of the body. Something simple like getting up to get a drink is not so simple.
Time seems to shift around. This morning when I sat on the edge of the bed and had a total seize, when I finally got myself lying down again, I looked at the clock. It was 9:00. The next time I was able to look at the clock it was 9:12. I must have passed out from the pain or something, because it only felt like a minute.
I’m not spouting these observations as complaining or whining. I kind of find them amusing. It’s like I was one kind of person – healthy, active (both overstatements, BTW) – and now I’m a disabled person. To me it feels like a test, like “let’s see how you handle this.” And for the most part, I think I’m doing ok. I’m still as productive at work as I was when I was at my desk. I am getting by with lunch delivered to me. If things get really bad, I might have to have food delivered or drive to a drive-through. I can’t walk for extended periods right now.
But being in this condition makes one wonder, what if I was like this for the rest of my life? That’s an answer I’ll not share.