Gray Matters - Hurtin' unit
Belfast — Last week I talked about heading out for a week of much-anticipated paid time off with my son, Shane.
I had all kinds of great plans to do a whole bunch of stuff I typically do not have the time to do during a regular work week, mostly because it's hard to pack a constantly growing to-do list into the confines of the weekend (and that's if you're lucky enough to have both of those days off).
I had planned to visit with a bunch of friends I rarely get to see, particularly former Journal photographer and my dear friend Tina Shute, as she and her fabulous family reside just down the road apiece from my house. I was looking forward to catching up on a lot of spring cleaning around the house, getting ahead on my laundry, finishing the digital yearbook project for Shane's school and getting to the gym super early each day.
Ambitious, I know. Perhaps a little too ambitious, as you will see the more this tale unfolds.
I know I've written in the past about the various ways I've managed to hurt myself (like that time I ended up writhing in pain on my parents' floor after I fell and twisted my ankle while carrying a laundry basket). Or like that other equally embarrassing time I pulled a muscle playing Wii bowling with Shane the day after he got the game system for Christmas one year. Yes, the Wii, that console Nintendo came out with that is very popular in nursing homes and assisted living facilities because the games are designed to respond to physical movements in addition to the use of a controller. Apparently, I am a little too competitive, and despite my greatest efforts, Shane still totally wrecked me in every game we played.
I can usually find something funny about the various ways I tend to get hurt, especially during times when I am not under the supervision of others, as my co-workers have often pointed out. It's easy to do when you're looking back at the whole thing and it doesn't hurt anymore.
Well, I did it again, with the exception this time being that I am still really sore, five days out from when I first incurred the injury.
The week started out pretty well. I got lots of overdue yard and housework done Monday and Tuesday, and was off to a nice early start on Wednesday so I could get my workout in as planned.
Everything seemed and felt ordinary; I didn't do anything unusual. All I know is I was completing a set of rows, minding my own business, when I felt an overwhelming stabbing pain strike in my lower back. I was in the midst of pulling the weight back toward me, in the middle of the traditional rowing motion, when it happened. It forced all of the breath from my lungs, and I immediately had to find a way to release he weight stack as gently as I could (which didn't go so well, and not for lack of trying).
At first, I entered a stage of denial, something like, "I'll just sit here for a minute or two, and I'll be fine. No need to freak out; it probably happens more often than one would think."
Then I figured out it was going to hurt a lot more than I thought it would to bring myself to the standing position again. Then my thought process changed to something more along the lines of, "Hmmm, I may have damaged myself a bit more than I thought. I guess I'm done for the day. Better not overdo it tomorrow."
Yeah, I was way off on that one, too.
I'm sure I looked totally pitiful as I walked to the locker room, with my movements being akin to how one might try to walk after falling and smacking one's tailbone on an icy driveway. It took me a while to get my sweatshirt on, and I left my street shoes in my locker (here is where I need to thank my sister for swinging by the gym and snagging them for me the next morning, as they are my favorite pair of shoes).
By the time I woke the next morning, I needed assistance pulling myself up to the upright seated position because of the stiffness that I can only assume took hold of my body as I slept. Even then, I still insisted I would be completely back to my old self in just a couple of days. No sweat.
It wasn't until later that day, when I shuffled into the local tanning salon for a little shot of synthetic sun, that I began to fully appreciate why I need to stop treating my body like I did when I was 20, or 25 years old. I am ashamed to say what caused me to finally admit defeat was when I had to roll sideways out of the tanning bed in order to get out of it.
That was when I finally came to terms with the fact that despite my most optimistic hopes, I will likely be moving pretty slowly for a while. I am not certain how long it will be before I get back to my old self, but until that happens I will just have to do my best to avoid wicked hard tasks like reaching down to a lower cabinet to retrieve a trash bag for the kitchen (yeah, I hurt myself doing that, too).
The upshot here is, at least I had plenty of time for lying around the house, which I used to finish up the yearbook file.
Geez, I can't wait to see what new unexpected events my next vacation will bring — perhaps I can get through it without ending up in traction.