I have a bad back. Well . . . actually, I have a good back, it just happens to ‘blow out’ on an annual basis. I’m still not sure when or how to anticipate an episode. Is it related to weather, stress, how well I stretched that day? There do not seem to be any signs of impending incapacity — I’m blind-sided every time.
One minute, I’m fine. And then I do something as innocuous as bend over a sink or sneeze or twist to make the bed and then bam – a sharp shift in my lower back, a gasp borne of shocking pain and I’m down for the count.
Normally I fight the intrusion for awhile. I bring out the cane that I purchased for these occasions. I snack on ibuprofen and wear an over-the-counter back brace. I try to tighten my core (wishing I had stuck with the Pilates class). I make every effort to keep on going with my routines, albeit more slowly, until bit by bit my back begins to call the shots and, suddenly, I cannot even get out of bed.
This week, I spent three full days on a heating pad in bed. Surrounded by books, snacks, and dozing cats, I watched sunlight stream, slant and disappear throughout my bedroom all day long. Contrary to my usual response, I didn’t curse the inconvenience or bemoan the rotten timing . . . and, to my surprise, it turned out to be a lovely respite. I sighed into the delicious laziness of complete surrender. Sometimes accepting what is, without any resistance whatsoever, can be very sweet indeed.