Sunday, November 24, 2013

Just How Bad My Back Really Is

Yesterday I was talking to a friend, who suggested I take a martial arts class.  I understand why he suggested it.  He thinks it would be empowering for me.  He's probably right.

I kept thinking about my back, though.  I don't know if I could take a class like that.  I don't know if any instructors would want to try to teach me, with all my back problems.  I'd have to be so careful.  There would be movements I just couldn't do, but I think that would be all right.  But I would have to make sure I didn't fall.  I couldn't risk any kind of injury.  Even a small bump could cause so much pain.

And then I realize, my friend just had no idea how bad my back really is.  I think most people don't.  I try not to complain about it too much, although I know I post about it fairly often here.  I try to do as many things for myself as I can.  I try not to ask for help.  I don't tell people about the things I can't do, or some of the things Isaac does for me, because I feel embarrassed.  I want to be independent.  I want to be capable.

Most people don't know, for instance, that last winter I frequently went without socks.  It was too difficult to bend over to put socks on.  I would just slip on my gym shoes and go out in the cold and the snow to take Isaac out with no socks on.  Yes, my feet were cold.  But what else was I going to do?  I couldn't bend over to put on socks and Isaac had to go out to pee.  This year I have some really warm boots, so my feet will be warmer even if I can't put socks on.

By the way, I have been training Isaac to pull my socks off for me.  He can't put them on for me, but he can pull them off.  He just needs to learn not to bite the tips of my toes in the process.

Sometimes I cannot bend the little bit I have to bend in order to lift the lid to the toilet.  So I trained Isaac to lift the lid for me.

There have been times I've been paying for a purchase and dropped a coin or two.  Normally, I would pick up change.  Normally, I pick up a penny if I spot one in a parking lot somewhere.  But there've been times when my back hurt too much.  I had to just leave the coins lying on the ground.  I couldn't bend down to pick them up.  Isaac can pick them up when he is with me, though.

There have been times, many times, when something as  small as stubbing my toe on a crack in the sidewalk has made me cry, the pain was so severe.  Sharp shooting pains going down my legs.

There have been a few times the pain has been so bad it made me vomit.  I still recall one summer morning when I got up to take Isaac out to pee and the pain was so severe I could barely stand.  I held on to the rail in the elevator.  We stood outside the front door and he peed and I puked in the grass.  I had to sit in a chair in the lobby for several minutes before I could make my way back up to my apartment, where I threw up again, took some pain meds and went back to bed.

Do you know how bad pain has to be before it makes you throw up?  More frequently, the pain is bad enough to cause me to break out in a sweat.

At the grocery store, I seldom buy the large containers of yogurt because those are on the bottom shelf and I usually can't bend over to get them.  I have to buy the smaller, more expensive containers instead.  Sometimes I have to buy milk in half-gallon jugs, even though it costs more that way, because I can't always lift a whole gallon.  When I shop at Meijer, I have to buy 1%  milk, not skim milk, because the skim milk in on the bottom shelf and I can't bend over and pick it up.

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