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Friday, August 05, 2011

Oh, my aching back!

It's my own damn fault.

I wish I could say that I hurt my back while lifting a crying child or pulling someone out of a burning building.

No. I hurt my back while sitting in a beach chair for three days.  One of our daughters was visiting.  I was reading a book. A good book. A really good book.

Does that ascribe at least a modicum of virtue to my pain?

Probably not.

It is better today. At least I'm not walking like "Pretzel Woman" today, and the pain is lessening - it's more like an persistent strong ache.

Patience has never really been my strong suit.

I'm seeing a chiropractor regularly. I'm having daily mild adjustments, mild vibration, light and electro-stimulation and hydroculator packs. Years ago, I bought a home electro-stimulation unit and have been using that at home to augment the therapy. I'm also using light, mild vibration and heat therapy at home.

Oh, and Naproxen for the pain. Which helps. Some.

Actually, the problem is less with my back and more with my mood. Which has been foul. I can't do the things I want to do. Which is annoying. And, frustrating. Hence, the foul mood.

It's my pride. I know it is. I'm so damn independent and used to doing the things I like when I want and usually at a rate that's faster than the average bear.

Yesterday, I went to the market because I needed some groceries. But first, I ran a few errands - bank, post office, like that. By the time I finished and was in the check out line, I was walking like Pretzel Woman again.

The clerk took one look at me and asked, "Ma'am, would you like some help getting your groceries into the car?"

I got all girly-burbly and manage to chock out, "Oh, yes. Please. Thank you so much."

The next thing I knew, he was picking up the phone and calling someone. All of a sudden, a young man named Charles was packing my bags into boxes, saying, "If you give me your address, I'll deliver this to your home five minutes after you get there."

I totally embarrassed myself and started crying, saying, "Oh, no, no, no. You don't have to do that."

"Yes, Ma'am. I know I don't have to. There's no charge," he assured. "It's a service we provide for our customers who have mobility issues."

Mobility issues. Suddenly, I have mobility issues. Who knew?

"Well, it's just temporary," I said. "I'll be fine by Saturday or Sunday. Really. I just sat for too long in my beach chair and pulled a muscle. I was reading a book and I lost track of time. I'm really going to be fine. Really," I said, as I dabbed a tissue at my eyes.

And, I will.

But, this has been humbling.

Charles arrived at my home almost exactly five minutes after I arrived, just as he promised. He brought the boxes into my house, helping to put things into the refrigerator and freezer and into the pantry, closely following my directions.

When he finished, I pulled out a $5 bill to give him a tip. He looked horrified. "Oh, no, no, no, Ma'am," he said. I can't take that. That's way too much.

"Look," I said, "If you take this $5 I promise I won't cry. If you don't, well, I'll probably get absolutely hysterical and it won't be pretty."

He smiled and said, "You remind me of my grandmother, only you're a lot younger but just as stubborn. And, funnier."

"Thank you, I think," I said as I handed him the $5 bill.

He looked down at his feet and then looked at me and said, "Your car has a placard on the dash that says, 'Episcopal Clergy'. Is that you?"

"Yes, sir," I said. "Why do you ask?"

"Well, I'll make you a deal," he said. "If you say a prayer with me, I'll take your $5."

"That's got to be the best deal I've had in a long time," I said. "Sure, let's pray."

"Wait," he said, "I really need prayers for my dad. He lost his job six months ago and hasn't been able to get a job. I told him that I would take the year off to work to help the family, but he won't hear of it. I'm working this summer to help with my college tuition instead of taking summer courses, which really embarrasses him. He's a very proud man. He really needs our prayers."

"I think I know a little bit about pride," I said, "And embarrassment. So, this one will come from the heart."

We held hands and prayed. He thanked me and gave me a big hug before he left.

I'm not sure, but I suspect that prayer for Charles' dad probably did more to heal my aching back than heat or electro-stim or vibration or Naproxen.

I suspect that prayer that comes from a humble and contrite heart is a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving that rises like incense before God.

Maybe that's why I'm doing a bit better today. That, and I'm doing my reading in a proper chair and not a beach chair. My mood is even better today. I know I'll be back to my old self by Sunday or Monday.

Until then, though, I plan to continue to walk a bit more humbly with God.

It's not only good for my soul. Turns out, it's also good for my back.

Oh, and of your kindness and mercy, please pray for Charles and his dad.

It's not the economy that's breaking the back of this country. It's the unemployment.

Now, there's a real 'mobility issue' for you, right there.



Linda Kaufman said...

It is amazing how God chooses to work in us those things we cannot work out for ourselves. Through other folks, usually not of our choosing. "O God, open our eyes to see your hand at work in the world about us." Thanks so much for taking time to share this. And God bless Charles and his dad.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks, Linda. You are so right. I am so blessed.

Muthah+ said...

A little work does the old fire horse good! Met Counterlight today. He's in Big D visiting parents. We loaded up on enchiladas 'cause he can't get good ones in NYC. Can't get Tex-mex in yankeelandia.

Check out my blog for the weather report

Paul said...

I have been unemployed. Not now, thank God, but long enough to know how much it hurts. When I see unemployment numbers like these, I think about how lucky I am. I will say a prayer tonight for Charles and his dad. And for countless more.

For your back, I recommend stretching and core strength exercises. Some swear by Pilates. I am using a book from the Core Performance series. (Search Amazon or you local independent bookstore.)

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Muthah+. Just went over to your blog. 109??? OMG. Didn't we go to Dos Locos when you and Judy were here in RB? Good Tex-Mex there.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Paul - thank you for your prayers for Charles' dad and so many others.

I'm really in pretty good shape. Core strengthening doesn't work on stupidity.

IT said...

Section 2: the unexpected encounters. Or, why it's good to keep a sticker on your car.

Caminante said...

For Charles and his father, for those who are unemployed, underemployed and soon to be unemployed.

And prayers for a gimpy back, too.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

IT - Actually, I usually keep it in my glove compartment but I had left it out from a pastoral call last week. I just might keep it out there now.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks, Lee. There are so many to pray for.

motheramelia said...

God really does seem to bring us to the right people at the right time. Praye,rs for your back and for Charles' dad and for all looking for work. I've been there a couple of times in my life. It sucks.

whiteycat said...

Amazing how God sends persons or circumstances into our lives when we are in need. Add my prayers for Charles and his Dad. You were there just when the two of you needed to be. A little synchronicity goes a long way! Hope you feel better soon.

Brother David said...

Prayers for Charles, his dad and his whole family, I am sure his dad not having work effects them all adversely, and also for you.

Ice massage. Ice helps with pain and inflammation, but as a massage it is sometimes easier for folks to get beyond the icy cold pain threshold. Freeze water in paper cups. Tear down the cup to expose the ice and use the rest of the cup to hold the ice. Keep tearing the cup away as the ice melts. Keep the ice in constant motion moving all around the infected area. When the area starts glowing red, stop, the secondary effect has kicked in.

Primary effect: numbing and pain relief, reduction of inflammation, vasoconstriction

Secondary effect: vasodilatation and increased blood flow bringing nutrition and increased immune response

Of course, if you have issues with accepting the help of others, this will set off your boundaries because you need a partner to do ice massage on your back!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Motheramelia - Thanks, m'dear.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Whiteycat - Yes it does. Thanks.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks, Brother David. I'm using heat and cold, actually, and it's working well.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Maria can rub those kinks out for you when she gets there :)

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Anonymous - Shhhhhh!!

Anonymous said...

While your other friends are all wondering about Kirke's(Maria)whereabouts, I've got $100 that says she's on her way to RB to see our resident Lesbian Priestess. : )
I've got a pretty good memory, see, and I distinctly remember a discussion on FB several months back about this trip. It stuck in my mind b/c I was turning bright GREEN as I followed the conversation. Time will tell if I'm right. I just hope we don't have to witness any Shenanigans, like the infamous KISS at the Episcoblogger meet-up. All I can say is a part of me will die if that happens.
I'm sure you wouldn't want to break your favorite Rhinestone Cowgirls heart, so I expect you to be on your best behavior during her visit.

Love you sweetlady. : )

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Check out my FB page. You were absolutely right on target. No kiss but lots of laughter.