As many of you know, my life as a fast moving train was derailed last Monday when my back went out. After a year of no back problems, a year of thinking my change in employment would eliminate the risk of future back injury, it is the truth when I tell you I’ve been fighting off some minor depression this week.
I couldn’t work for 2 days, and on day 3, after only working in the morning, I was MAD at the situation. Tired of and still not thinking (or standing) straight because of the pain, I came home, curled up and fell into a deep sleep of escape. Man, this was really feeling like a lemon.
But, when given lemons, I can make a damn good lemonade.
So here are 7 Benefits To Back Pain:
1. You don’t have to make the bed. Because you actually can’t. Bending, twisting and yanking aren’t part of your recovery plan.
2. You don’t have to blow-dry your hair. You can’t bend over at all and raising your arms overhead is hardly possible since you have to hang onto the counter top at all times while standing.
3. You don’t have to shave your legs. After a few days, you get a 5 o’clock shadow, but this is your time to practice being a hippie. You can’t even reach your knee, let alone your lower leg and propping one foot up on the wall is out of the question, so you accept your inner gorilla take some Tylenol.
4. People might offer to rub your back. Personally, I would stay away from strangers on this one, but if it’s anyone you know, let ’em do it. Never pass up a back rub.
5. You begin to understand why your grandfather walked, always bent over, with his hands clasped behind his back. You physically can’t stand up straight. Your bones just don’t allow that at this time. Therefore, gravity is pulling the top half of your body toward the ground with each step. If your arms keep dangling there, gravity pulls harder. You figure out that if you clasp them behind your back, resting on your gluteus maximus, you feel slightly lighter and your nose drags further away from the ground.
6. You understand the benefits of your grandmother’s rolling walker with a built in seat. You can use it to hold you up while you walk and sit on it when you need a break since you can only walk part way to the mail box before threatening to fall over.
7. You learn to accept help. Even though you might not be good at it, you find you must accept, otherwise your Taco Bell will not make it to the stands at the soccer game. Even the car keys are too heavy to carry.
I’m fortunate. When my back goes out, it goes back in and I’m usually back to 100% in 2 weeks. But I know there are people out there, and you might be one of them, who live with chronic back pain.
Chronic or not, I encourage you to see the bright side of your situation. Look for the things you CAN do. Make changes, temporary or permanent, to your work, home life, recreation and leisure that will cause you to get the most fun and enjoyment out of life. Appreciate and seek out the things you CAN do.
- If you can’t go to work because you can’t complete the necessary functions safely for yourself or the people around you but CAN go to your son’s soccer game where you will be able to ice your back in the car, do your stretches on the bleachers and fill your spirit with laughter and new memories created with your girlfriends, do it.
- If you want to fulfill your consulting obligation but can’t load the car with all of your presentation equipment and have committed to teaching 50 kids how to be better employees at their summer jobs but CAN ask a friend to go with you to load and unload and set up, because you know how much your presentation will impact the lives of the young people you are influencing, do it.
- If your doctor says by the time you have grandchildren, you may not be able to use your arms and you fear not ever being able to hug them but CAN make quilts now so that when you have grandchildren each one will have their own quilt to wrap up in as their hug from grandma, do it.
- If you can’t walk as fast as usual but want to make the annual girls night New Year’s Eve hike to the summit of the local hilltop to light off sparklers but CAN ask your bestie to go up at your pace and help you sit and slide down the steep spots on your butt, do it.
Do it because you only live once, because we all should appreciate the small things and because it’s good to have friends.
P.S. Thanks to Mom and Jeanie for the inspiration, Emily and Carrie for the soccer trip.
P.P.S. On day 1, instead of sulking all day, I used my time in the recliner chair to find a good chiropractor and write this.