There’s nothing pretty about throwing out your back.  I don’t even like how that sounds.  But it happened to me yesterday. It was the smallest movement that radiated pain into an entire low-back blowout.  I was sitting on a bench and reached down to tie my shoelaces.  A very sharp pain kicked in the low center of my back, then moved out to either side of my hips.  It actually took my breath away it was so sudden, swift, and sharp.  I found it interesting the thoughts I had, and here’s part of the narrative that went on in my head:

First, there was the premonition.  I don’t normally wear shoes that need to be tied.  So whenever I do, I think of my father because he suffered what would be a fatal stroke while tying his sneakers.   I was thinking to myself before my episode, what would I do if that happened to me?  There’s no one home like there was for Daddy.  Would I just lay about until someone found me?  That’d be terrible to come home to.

After the series of thoughts about my dad and what I would do in that situation, BAM! That awful pain happened.  Then kept happening.  And it knocked the wind out of me.  I managed to stay seated on the bench for about 20 minutes, just waiting for the twisty, knotted, aching muscles to stop.  I moved a couple of times and the spasms started.  OK, ok, I get it, I said to my back.  I’ll stop.  I’ll slow down.  I’ll make this better.  My dogs were in the room with me and by now, knew something was wrong.  They laid close by.

Then the directives began, “…pick up your phone, Pamela. . . Google/Wiki what to do. . . ‘what to do when I throw out my back'” was autofilled before I knew it.  Smart phone, indeed.  Still sitting on the bench, I read that I needed to lie down on my belly and rest my arms loosely by my sides.  This supposedly takes pressure off the low back area.  So, that’s what I did.  And that’s where I laid for about the next hour.  (It was true, the pain subsided a bit, but snarled at me when I tried to get up the first couple of times).  I knew I was stuck down there, but I didn’t know how I’d get up.

So, I texted three people.

Jim (husband):  “Back went out.  Can’t move.”

Jenny (sis):  “Sister down.  My back went out.  Can’t move.”

Lil (bestie):  “Lil.  My back went out.  I can’t move.  Can u check in on me?”

And the responses:

Jim:  “Do you need me there?”  (I didn’t want him to leave work for this; he still had a full day ahead).

Jenny:  “Oh god.  LOL.  U always crack a joke even when you’re not well.  You need a valium.”

Lil:  (phone rings): “Girl!  What’s wrong?  I’m coming. . . ”

In a few minutes, Lil came to the back door, fought off the crazy dogs, and was right beside me.  I was eye-to-feet with her beautiful black patent, pointy-toe flats and leather jeans!  And I was face down on my bedroom floor, counting the dog hairs and dust bunnies I’d missed with my vacuum.  Counting down the days until we tear the carpet out of here.

In the minutes that passed, not knowing how I’d get up, IF I’d get up, or who would find me in what condition, I decided to take a selfie.  And a short video because I wanted to remember what this feels like: Awful.  Both are not at all “pretty.”  But it was real.

Lessons learned:

  1.  It’s a good thing to always have your phone on you.  Lifeline (I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up) is a brilliant, necessary invention, but my iPhone helped out in my situation.
  2. Heed Life’s signs.  I’m taking this as a warning to slow my roll.  I’ve got about 10 different irons on the fire right now, and I need to tread a bit more lightly.
  3. Breathe through the pain.  I honestly did a lot of breath work while I was down.  Inhale health and vitality; exhaled it straight through the muscles to blow it away.

Be kind to your body, especially when it has a mind of its own.


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