Another Non-Fatal Hurdle

I feel good about the fact that my back is spasm-ing in an extremely painful way but I have gotten myself in a chair anyway and am attempting to write. What I’m learning is that it’s tough to write about anything else when my back is spasm-ing, so I’m just gonna go with it. I remember the last time this happened, it was the week before final exams at my first year of law school. I’d never felt pain like that before. I got into bed, got on my back, and attempted to remain completely still so as not to trigger the shooting pain that ensued when I moved. I knew the plan was not sustainable, but I did not have a better plan.

My father the surgeon had a fancy back surgeon consult about the issue. She checked me out and concluded that I needed to get up and move. Move slowly, move in small ways, but move. She gave me little movement “exercises” to do, like gently rolling one leg, then the other, then one arm, then the other. She told me to get on a treadmill on slow and let my arms gently swing. She knew her stuff. I needed her to tell me I would not break if I kept going, even though it felt like I would break.

This time the spasm is on the heels of a long journey sitting, and a possibly mis-guided attempt to hang on the monkey bars at a playground with Ax, which I knew at the time was maybe not a good idea but I did it anyway. This time I know better how to recover at least. I know the trick is to keep moving and keep breathing, gently, slowly, consciously. Not lock up. I am confident that my back is not broken and that I am not dying, even though it kind of feels that way.

Instinctually I want to get on my back and stop moving. But I’m not doing that today. Today I am typing anyway, and then I’m getting in a hot shower and doing my day. I’m keeping going – slowly.