Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind

No Longer Taking the Back for Granted


Back painI’ve been anticipating (fearing?) a fall for months now, even before Lori had hers in NYC. When your knees are as messed up as mine, the idea of a fall on ice in the winter makes me take baby steps when I walk on untreated surfaces or simply stay inside. Out in Denver two weeks ago, I almost took a major header on the brick sidewalk after exiting a bus while out shopping. I flailed my arms around and that seems to have altered the inevitable crash with the ground.

My luck ran out on Wednesday. Or rather, the anticipated fall arrived.

I was walking back from a doctor’s visit, enjoying the nice weather and taking pictures of things along the way, when I stopped at an ATM machine in one of those little teeeny spots along a strip mall where you use your card to enter. I swiped my card and opened the door and promptly fell forward like a tree falling hard to the ground. No time for the arms to flail, or space either. I knew I was falling and there was nothing I could do about it.

My head had a glancing blow with the machine and my right upper arm/shoulder hit that privacy guard thing on the side. My knees smacked down and my chest took the brunt since my arms were not helping to break the fall. Whooomp. Immediately my BACK started screaming at me, though why the back hurt so much when it was my front that hit, I’m not entirely sure.

People helped me get up, although it took an astonishingly large number of them to get me vertical. That was humiliating, since the aware part of me knew that a smaller person wouldn’t need so many people to haul her weight up, and I found myself apologizing for making it so hard for them. I refused several attempts to call 911 and just thought I needed to walk it off a bit and figure out what hurt.

It didn’t take many steps to realize that my back felt as though it was on fire – the whole back, with every step or turn or breath. My knees were getting stiff, especially the “good one” which hit harder. I walked back to the office, taking a lot longer than the usual 10 min. to make the trip. By then I knew I had to go see someone to get drugs, if nothing else.

I ended up at the hospital ambulatory care unit, much smaller than an ER and also with a shorter wait; I was only there 2 hours. After x-rays and limb pushing and pulling, they told me nothing was fractured and that the back muscles were in spasm. I wasn’t at all surprised that the worst part was in the areas where the front had hit first; I knew from massage therapists that muscle tension on one side is balanced by muscle pain on the other.

I now have big honking Motrin for pain and spacey-making muscle relaxants to, well, relax the muscles and also help with pain control and ice packs on assorted sore places 4-5 times a day.

The hardest part was getting in and out of the car. It’s low to the ground and I do more twisting and turning than I’d realized and with every move or breath making the back fire worse, I found myself sitting in the car with one leg in and the other leg out, trying to gather the nerve for the spiked pain that would get me all in. Getting out wasn’t any easier.

I spent yesterday at home moving as little as possible but enough to keep me from stiffening completely in one position. I’ve been taking the back for granted and had no idea, really, how many things the body does that involves using all those back muscles that are now as sore as hell.

It seems to be resolving itself into knee stiffness and bruising, upper arm stiffness and pain, and moderate to spikingly bad back pain on the right side. I sit and write with an ice pack on that section of the back and it feels wonderful. I also have my trusty bag of frozen peas on the knee.

It’s the Friday before Memorial Day and it would seem sensible to stay home but I don’t think I’m going to. We have an out of state visitor at the library and I already missed my scheduled time with her on Wednesday, having preferred a date with the hospital. So I think I’m going in to fulfill that commitment today and to see what all I left on my disaster of a desk. No sudden moves allowed. I know, going in is not my brightest move; if getting in and out of the car is still as hard as it was, I won’t even start the engine. But I know that moving around – carefully – is good.

It makes a change to be thinking of my body and evaluating pain and muscle reactions instead of only seeing excess pounds.

6 thoughts on “No Longer Taking the Back for Granted

  1. I hope you’re feeling better today. You poor thing, this was not good timing, I know, with all the stress you already had to deal with as you exit your job and get ready to start another.

  2. Anne, so sorry about your back–ooooh! Were you planning on going to Denver for SLA? If so, email me!

  3. I’m so sorry to hear about your accident! I hope everything heals soon.

  4. Anne, I hope you’re feeling better today and reconsidering going in to work.

    I know how you felt, I apologized to everyone and I wondered if I was going to squish the poor man who helped me up. Get well!

  5. So sorry to hear of this! Please take it easy and let your body recover. You’ll be in my prayers.

  6. Anne, I’m late in telling you how sorry I am that you fell and hurt your back. I hope by today (Tuesday) you a getting a little relief.
    Take care.

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