Friday (3/14/14) wasn't just a "rest day" -- it was an "I know tomorrow is going to be hard on my back, so I'm not going to poke the bear by going to the gym today" day.
On Saturday (3/15/14), I had the pleasure of volunteering at the DC Rock'n'Roll Race Series at Water Station No. 8 (the first station for those continuing past the half marathon to the full -- "Eight is great, come hydrate!"). It's bittersweet that I couldn't run the 5k, like I had wanted to, but it was awesome to get out there and see all the runners. Also awesome were the number of runners that said "thank you" as they ran by.
But... six hours on my feet, bending over and pouring wee little cups of water/Gatorade took its toll.
After lunch with my co-captain and a neighbor who came down to help, I came home to take a nap (and some anti-inflammatories) in order to have a modicum of energy for a friend's birthday celebration later that night.
I used to be, but I'm no longer a fan of crowded bars. I'm less a fan of crowded Irish bars the weekend before St. Patrick's Day. But I'm a good friend and sometimes you just gotta show up. I lost count of the number of people who bumped into me or put an elbow right in my back. Or you say "I have a bad back" and they try to give you a back massage.
Harder to bear, though, were the few who tried to do side-bend wiggle hugs. These were the few times I actually winced or yelped in pain. I tried to keep that happy-go-lucky face on, but there's nothing that scares me more than a wiggle hug. They start off all benign, and then you feel the person begin to shift their weight. You do everything you can to resist this movement, but they are determined to treat you like a slinky.
A few of those hugs and a few drunk people falling into/spilling beer on me was enough to send me packing.
Morning the next day (3/16/14) was rough. I had multiple invites to go and do things (visit my niece, grab a beer, hang out) but it was all I could do to get out of bed and make myself some tea. Nurse Jack Cat took care of me, but the woozle can't make a waffle to save his nine lives.
Point is this:
Having an injury sucks.
Having a chronic injury sucks.
Having an "invisible" chronic injury sucks. (For instance, everyone gave the guy at the bar with his leg in a cast a wide berth, but when I asked a guy to stop elbowing me because I had a bad back he thought that I was just saying it for shits and giggles).
But you know what doesn't suck? Having people in my life who understand that my saying to them "I can't, my back won't let me" isn't a personal attack against them. I'm not trying to be anti-social or inflexible. I'm not trying to weasel out of plans with people. Some people understand that I'm saying "My pain is preventing me from putting pants on."
Also in the realm of "not sucking" -- people who give "solid as a rock" hugs -- they use their arms to give a gentle squeeze and just let me drop my guard and relax into it.
And some people just give me crap about it.
I have some moccasins they should try on.
Sorry your back is giving you grief. I have "invisible" bad shoulders which are gradually getting better but I still can't do up my own bra. I remember once back when they were truly bad I was in an audience and the guy on stage called for volunteers. A friend, who didn't know me very well, grabbed my arm and put it up in the air to volunteer me as a joke. The agony of my shoulder! To his horror and astonishment I burst into tears. Chronic pain (or any pain, I guess) just sucks. I hope you recover from the big day soon.Reply
I don't like going to bars very often either; I like spending time with my friends, who like going to bars, but I don't feel comfortable in that kind of atmosphere. And I rarely drink alcohol, so it isn't much fun watching everyone else get drunk when I'm the only one who's sober.Reply
By the way, I tried to follow your blog, but for some reason I keep getting an error message; I'll come back and follow the blog later.Reply
I have walked in your shoes with DDD and five other chronic, uncurable diseases and/or disorders and you care way too much about what people think about you especially regarding your chronic pain. Try to let go of people's judgments of your disease. You're going to be dealing with this your whole life, stop wasting time and energy on things you can't control or change.Reply
I don't consider putting a voice to my feelings a waste of my time.Reply
I am so sorry to hear of your chronic injury! It must be so hard to function on a day to day basis with that amount of pain. I used to have a back injury and the pain was unbearable. My doctor recommended TA-65 a natural supplement that helps with chronic pain. Here's the youtube clip my doctor referred me to, where Dr. Ed Park describes how TA-65 can help your pain! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FP7hjJ1xVLAReply
Nothing worse than back injury, I am suffering with mine for 3 years now. I found that a little bit of yoga helps, as long as I don't over do it, but also as soon as I skip a session pain comes back. Golden middle is the way to go, I guess.Reply
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