Monday, August 10, 2009

Helpless


Sometimes the workload and obligations get heavy and we daydream about maybe spraining an ankle (nothing terribly painful) so that we're forced to slow down, put our feet up and have other people carry our load for a while. Or we wish there'd be a snowstorm or something that keeps us in the house with no place to go and plenty of time for spinning or knitting.

Then real life happens, and we take it all back.

Yesterday, I was doing my usual chores and just innocently bent over to dump the greenish water out of one of the alpaca's drinking buckets. And it happened. I felt the all-too-familiar sensation of one of the disks in my lower back leaving its proper location and yanking lots of tendons and ligaments with it. Instant agony. I called DH on my cell phone and had him help me finish up the chores. It really wasn't too bad - it was tender, but I could get around. I expected a good night's sleep to put everything right. I took some ibuprophen and put an ice pack on it to keep any inflamation to a minimum.

But this morning when I got up I couldn't move without searing pain. Ruh roh. DH got the animal chores done, worked on a few work-related things on his laptop, and we waited for my wonderful osteopathic physician to begin her office hours.

Her first available appointment was at 1:20, so after an interminable wait, we got in the car to head to her office. Years ago, she had miraculously fixed a similar problem for me with some Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy (OMT) where she basically folded me up like an origami crane, leaned heavily on me, and popped the disk back into place, pretty as you please. I had walked out of that appointment under my own steam with hardly any residual tenderness. But today was different. Maybe it was because more hours had elapsed since the incident, or maybe it was just a worse incident. She bent and folded and pressed on me until we heard the satifying pop of the disk, but the pain persisted. In fact, it almost seemed worse.

This was not what I had expected, and I got a little panicky. I hurt no matter which way I tried to move, and the feeling of being trapped in a painful and broken body was terrifying. She gave me some muscle relaxers and a scrip for pain pills, and told us to call her if I wasn't significantly better tomorrow.

Finally, the spasms began to relax. I spent the afternoon alternately sleeping and typing on the laptop, sideways, with one finger. Many friends offered encouragement and support. DH and DD have kindly taken care of the animals, and we had a lovely supper.

It is so hard for me to be helpless. I recognize the life lesson in this for me: so much of my identity is wrapped up in being competent, strong, and able to pull my own weight, that when I find myself incapacitated, it rocks my world. It is a huge pill to swallow pride and ask for others to do my jobs - especially jobs that are not appealing (let's be frank - raking alpaca poo is a job that might test the closest friendship).

But I will surrender to the reality that if I don't take really good care of myself in this situation, the whole family will suffer down the road. So. Pass the vicoden and excuse me while I go pass out.

3 comments:

  1. Ohhhh, that kind of back pain is the worst . . . it hurts to sit, it hurts to stand, it hurts to walk, it hurts to lay down. I totally feel for ya -- been there, done that (except without the doc who folded me into an origami crane).

    I hope you mend fast!! If you aren't up and moving by the weekend, let me know -- I will come rake some poo for ya!

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  2. Honey, I am sooo sorry you are having to deal with this. It is bad enough dealing with the pain, but when you are an independent, self-sufficient type person, it is emotionally draining as well. You are so blessed to have a DD and DH to help--and so well. Sending you healing hugs and each of them gratitude hugs for taking care of wife, mom and wonderful friend.

    And if you need more help, please, please please let us know. Be sure to tell us if we should wear our poo raking shoes. I don't think my Jimmy Choo's would work well in the barn. :-)

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  3. Thank you so much, ladies. Morning update - I am able to walk without my stick/cane today. Still not doing hurdles, but we are definitely improving. Thanks so much for your love and offers of help. Let's see how it goes - I'd love to be 99% by at least Thursday.

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