So, I have been laid up for almost three weeks now with a “bulging disc” in my lower back. It is a frustrating thing for me as I like to think I am a fit active person who loves Yoga and Pilates, walking, my morning swims and bike rides with “handsome farmer husband” when he nags me enough and it isn’t windy or rainy (I have my rules). Like most people I know, having a sore back wasn’t ever going to happen to me. It was a shock when it did.
At its worst sitting was painful, I couldn’t stand for long and I struggled to sit down on the toilet without pain. I could not put pants on without help (thanks amazing child number four) and had to let my legs ‘drip dry’ after I got out of the shower. The worst thing was I could not drive my car. For me that is like cutting my legs off. Living on a farm, out of town is difficult enough but if you can’t get in your car and drive to the shop to get food, the mail and most importantly, a decent barista made coffee, it is like life itself has ended. Bottom line, I was relying on other people to help me with all manner of things; my children, my mum and dad, my friends and neighbours and my ‘handsome farmer husband’. I had to learn to ask for help and had accepted that I would not be able to do any normal day to day activities for an indefinite time. So this was all fine and dandy, for a while.
It had been about a week since the initial back pain had started and it was definitely getting better. I had seen a chiropractor who relieved some pressure. I was taking it easy, no bending or picking things up off the floor. No packing the dishwasher, loading the washing machine or unloading the washing machine. I was struggling to lie down comfortably, but once I got there I was OK. I had resigned myself to taking anti-inflammatorys and pain relief constantly and was resting as much as I could. One week to the initial day and I was feeling heaps better. I felt great as I got out of bed, gingerly, but much easier than the few days before. I felt so good that I had made a few plans for the day. Make some pies for lunch, maybe even do some washing, perhaps re-edit a blog I had started.
As I was standing at my sink I had an urge to sneeze, without even thinking of the consequences, I did. Oh dear. Oh dear. There were a lot more interesting words coming out of my mouth than that, but they cannot be printed here. I could not move. I was in so much pain I could barely breathe. I held onto the sink and broke out in a sweat, the pain was intense and I actually thought I might vomit right into my kitchen sink. So I breathed through the pain, or tried to. Looking back I now liken it to labour pains, but I knew darn well they weren’t going to end and I wasn’t going to get a reward, like a beautiful little baby.
So, I thought I would lie down on the floor, that will help settle it. Ah, Nup. Now instead of standing up in pain I was lying on my floor in pain. More pain, which would not go away. So just so that you can see my dilemma here, I was actually in my dressing gown and that was all. I was actually busting to go to the toilet but couldn’t move. Luckily two of my boys were in the house so I yelled out to them and asked them to help try and roll me over. In my pain affected brain I thought I would crawl to the toilet. Ah, Nup again, was I stupid or just optimistic? I am not sure. It hurt so much and it had started to spasm. I was panting through the pain, breathing similar to birthing my kids. It stopped me from passing out, lucky I remembered that, lucky I was already on the floor.
Long story short, the boys got my ‘handsome farmer husband’ who was fortunately close by in the shed and he then called the ambulance. Much to my embarrassment three ambulances turned up. (Another long story). Obviously they didn’t want to miss out on anything. I met some beautiful, caring, wonderful people, who gave me some major pain relief in the form of a ‘green whistle’ or two and some other stuff which I cannot remember, then they whisked me off to hospital. Before the ambulance people came I had to ask my ‘handsome farmer husband’ to help put my underwear on. It was bad enough I was going to the hospital in my dressing gown, I was not going anywhere without my knickers. It hurt but it was worth it.
So my morning sneeze set me back to even worse than the beginning back pain. I spent a few hours in hospital being monitored by nurses who tried to keep my pain level as low as they could. After a few hours a lovely young doctor looked me over, gave me a referral for a CT Scan a few more pain killers and and sent me home. Back to the couch, more rest, more anti-inflammatories and very strong pain relief. Lucky me, I got a walker. It helped me walk, albeit, slowly. I felt older and slower than my 98 year old grandpa but the walker was invaluable. For the first three days back at home I didn’t go anywhere without it.
Eventually my back has calmed down. I am walking without my walker. I have had my scan and I am heading off to see my doctor next week. It seems I have a bulging disc, which requires rest but also gentle movement that does not antagonise the issue. Fortunately for me (or unfortunately) still no bending or lifting allowed; eg, washing, dishwasher stacking, cleaning, sweeping, vacuuming etc, etc, etc. There is less pain when I am sitting and I am trying to help out by cooking. It has been a challenge. I have to ask for help just to get a plate out of the cupboard. Most of the time I feel useless. I am judging myself harshly. Who knows why this happened, but my sister always says there is a reason for everything.
I found many intetesting articles to read while looking for information on the internet. Videos on how to support my back while sleeping and and activities which will help strengthen my back without doing more damage. I also found many interesting articles to read. One was Spiritual Meanings behind Physical Aches by MindJournal. Their meaning is as follows; “lower back pain indicates that we have taken on more than we think we can handle’. And truth be know I may have thought that recently. I may have been overwhelmed with the things I wanted to get done and probably quietly wondering how I could manage everything even though I had managed quite easily in the past.
Also while totally incapacitated I came across this verse by Safire Rose. I will leave it here for you to read. It is called She Let Go.
And so that is what I am now trying to do. Let go of the self judgement that I have back pain and a health issue. Let go of what I think people think of me. Let go that the dishwasher is not loaded the way I do it. Let go of the sight of socks and shoes cluttering around the door way of our home. Let go that the bread is not back where it lives but just dumped on the bench. Let go of everything not being done my way which I like to do my way. I just had to let it all go and hope for the best. And you know what? I am still here and the world is still turning and I am grateful for my body and family and everything is OK. Not perfect but definitely OK.