I have a bad back, so today, I am talking about a literal pain in my a$$. I herniated a disc playing soccer when I was 17 and haven’t been the same since. It’s been a number of years (I won’t say how many) that I’ve struggled with it, the pain ebbing from nonexistent to excruciating, which is where I’m at with it these days.
The smallest things are impossible without pain – putting on shoes or pants, picking up my cat (who, to be fair, does weigh about 20 lbs), or bending over, ever so slightly, to spit out toothpaste. Certain things come off the table for a while, like exercising, quickies (which I consider exercise), dancing (also exercise) and I am oh, so sick of it.
I am in physical therapy and know I’ll get better eventually, but I won’t lie and say there haven’t been tears, shoe throwing or serious contemplation about asking a total stranger to help me tie my shoe that’s come undone. I haven’t actually done that last one because I can walk pretty normally and worry no one would believe that I actually need help and I’d feel super awkward. So instead, I walk the two last blocks to work with my shoelace picking up SoHo’s finest grime and wait to sit on my office floor and painfully tie my own shoe.
Fortunately, I’m constantly reminded of the small things I take for granted like taking a bath or sleeping those extra 15 minutes and rushing to work each morning. I need all the time I can get just to wash my face and put my socks on. I’m also reminded of how great my live-in boyfriend is as I watch him do all the cleaning, laundry and cooking with no complaints. I think about these things when I feel my pain and frustration turning into a total public meltdown.
This isn’t the first time, or the last, that I’ll go through this, either. Like cheaters, once a bad back, always a bad back. But for now, I’ll think about how lucky I truly am and internally debate if I’d give up coffee or alcohol for no back pain. Oh, and triple knot my shoes.