Pains, Strains & Automobiles

     Famous last words: “I’ll hold up the mattress with one hand and pull up the bedskirt with the other.” The next thing I know, I’m in my wife’s Jeep being transported to my doctor’s office for an unplanned emergency appointment for my out-of-whack back.

     The week started on a positive note. I had vacation time to use before the end of the year, so I planned some last minute winterizations at my vacation home in New Hampshire. I would only be gone for a couple of days so I’d still have time left to come home and finish my Fall cleaning and begin my holiday preparations. None of this came to pass when I wrenched my back into painful spasms on something as innocuous as a bedskirt. Who the heck even has a dust ruffle on their bed these days? Meet my wife – Stoneham’s own Martha Stewart. Replacing the bedding with a new comforter set was the last chore scheduled on Wednesday morning before my wife and I would begin our drive home from New Hampshire.

     If you’ve never had a problem with your back, there really are no words to describe what happens when you inadvertently move the wrong way and your muscles suddenly snap like a broken elastic. It’s like being shot in the spine. Picture a giant pair of scissors severing your spinal chord causing intense pain and forcing you into the fetal position for the foreseeable future. I bent at the wrong angle and lifted the side of the king-size mattress, which was enough to put me completely out of commission for a few days. I had so much to do this week, but after my back spasmed out, I was done. Luckily there was a bed beside me to topple on.

     My vacation was suddenly over. I managed to grab my coat and hobble down the stairs (lots of them). I made my way to my wife’s Jeep and sat there as she finished putting the bedroom back together. I was sitting in pain in the passenger seat as my wife made multiple trips up and down the stairs (lots of them) carrying our luggage, food, folding chairs, laundry and a multitude of assorted boxes and bags we were lugging home for the winter.

     I called the doctor from my cell phone and asked if he had any emergency appointments available. I was traveling from New Hampshire but I would make every effort to be at the office whenever he could fit me in.

     Sitting in the car during the long journey home did not help my condition. I could barely stand up straight, let alone walk up the five brick steps to the doctor’s office. I have the only doctor who doesn’t have a handicap entrance to his office.

     An 800mg Ibuprofen and a bottle of muscle relaxers later, I was home on my sofa with an ice pack on my lower back. I can’t tell you how much I hate being out of commission. I’m a do-er with lots to do. Instead, I was stuck sitting on my couch watching the world go by. Television news gets repetitive really fast when watched over a prolonged period of time. Even the latest sex scandals no longer held my interest. My Facebook posts were getting sarcastic as YouTube clips from the movies “Misery” and “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane” summed up what it felt like to be a patient in my own home.

     My son helped by dragging my Christmas decorations out of the basement for me. Sadly, my outdoor holiday light display will be non-existent this year. I may have to settle for a single candle in a single window, and even that might be a stretch. It’s the thought that counts, right?

     If you see me walking gingerly, slightly bent over and moving slowly, it’s not because I’ve prematurely reached old-age. I’m not making any sudden movements because I don’t want my spine turning into a Slinky. Like everyone else, I’ve got lots to do before Christmas. Sitting on the sofa is not on my list.


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