All entries for Tuesday 12 December 2006

December 12, 2006

Mark's back

I’ve been away from the Internet for just over two weeks with a prolapsed disc (according to my physio – but that’s the same as a slipped disc, just a bit more accurate description) but am now able to blog again. So this entry is about my return, but also about the problems with my lumbar region – hence “Mark’s back” (see what I’ve done there?)

The main thing I’d want to say is my apologies to anyone I know who’ve had a back problem and I’ve not been sympathetic enough. This year that’s two colleagues in CAPD and my brother. I’ve had back ache off and on, but a brief visit to the chiropracter and it’s sorted. I didn’t expect this level of pain was even possible from a back. As long as I was absolutely still, and horizontal I was fine, but even rolling over was a concentrated effort in working out which leg to move and how far because any slight twist to the spine and it felt like I was being stabbed. And then you’re half way through the roll and you hit the wall and have to work out how to move laterally when you can’t actually lift yourself up. Unless you’re on a frictionless surface it’s impossible.

Going to the loo is a major undertaking, crawling isn’t too bad one you’re up on all fours (I haven’t had carpet burns like this though since … well that’s not something I can go into) it just takes a long time, but how to actually get on the loo once you’re there is a major dilemma. Getting dressed when you can’t reach your feet is also impossible. I spent the first two nights at my parents’ place sleeping on the bathroom floor. I had to ring them to take me there to look after me, since although Sina’s fairly good at climbing curtains and ripping up lampshades, she’s pretty hopeless at stuff like fetching me food and drink. And the first week or so there, I was in their living room the whole time, since I couldn’t make it upstairs into the spare bedroom.

None of this is recounted for sympathy – that’s not really something I feel comfortable with. It’s mainly because it was such a revelation to me how absolutely helpless you are without all those little bits of cartilage in the right place in your spine it seemed worth reporting. I’m amazed at how much I took for granted with having mobility, walking and so on, and how frustrating everything is without it.

My mate Rachel, bless her, looked it up on the Internet and informed me it’s age-related, although apparently over 50s are less prone to it than people in their 40s, so in some ways it’s a sign that I’m not that old yet. Straw. Grasp. My mate Jill told me her husband had a burst one, which sounds far worse. Well is far worse. At least I can now sit in a chair and work for about an hour at a time, and that’s less than three weeks after the injury.

And all I did was lift a 10 kg bag of cat litter and fill up Sina’s litter tray. I just did it at an angle. So here’s the moral. If you’re between 30 and 50, lift with the knees, and do it straight up and down, no turning while you do it. Either that or keep a phone at floor level so you can ring for help. Well, specifically, mine was plugged in to a socket at floor level to recharge it, so I could pull on the cord to reach it – but the principle’s the same.


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