25 February 2009

Back is back

I've got a bad back.

Not bad in the sense it sneaks out when I'm not looking to go shoplifting or orchestrate mass genocide, bad that it just goes out. Period.

For no rhyme or reason it can suddenly decide that it no longer wants to support the rest of my body, and takes a day, a week, a month off....

It's currently having one of it's hissy fits, and yesterday, with no warning other than feeling bit stiff the day before, it decided I wasn't supposed to get out of bed. As it turned out I'd booked yesterday as an Annual Leave day anyway, so I didn't miss work, but I did miss a day off with mrsslippy that we had planned on using to buy, and then consume some very nice food from our local Farm Shop/deli.

Yesterday started badly.

I managed to get out of the bedroom without waking mrsslippy, so she didn't notice quite how long it had taken me to first stand up, and then traverse the room clutching at furniture. The next major problem was not being able to reach something I normally reach quite easily. I shan't go into details, but suffice to say, it was first thing in the morning, I had left the bedroom, but wasn't in the kitchen yet. A different, and difficult approach paid off, then straight back to bed. However, mrsslippy was now awake, and I was rumbled.Another day of me lying around in self pity, expecting waitress service on coffee and food.

Then I had a first. It wasn't witnessed, so I said nothing at the time.

I fucking fell over.

Not tripped, slipped, or somehow got entangled in the debris that tends to accumulate next to my side of the bed. My legs gave out, and I fell. I'd spent half a minute extricating myself from the side of the bed to leaning on the window sill, and felt upright, but I let go, went to put my weight through my left leg, and crumpled like a sack of shit. I somehow got myself onto the bed again, and dragged myself back to a straight lying position, and when mrsslipy returned from the kitchen, I said nothing. I've told her now. Today is a better day. I wanted to be sure this wasn't going to be a recurrent theme before 'sharing', and if it was, work out the best way to tell her. Anywho, as I said - a better day.

I've had problems with my back for years. I've tried to work out why. It's probably wear and tear from years of abuse. I started doing a paper round when I was 12 with a bag that split from the sheer volume of papers in it. I don't know exactly how heavy it was, but I suspect that as a young teenager I had more weight slung over one shoulder than a grown man is allowed to carry today with Health and Safety guidelines.

I've done my fair share of manual work, whether it be lugging frozen food around a freezer warehouse, or the slog of being a nurse on an orthopaedic or geriatric ward (all those patient lifts that are outlawed now? I'd do them all day everyday when I started).

But I've never hurt my back at work. What tends to happen is a cough, a sneeze, a long haul flight, and before I know it, kerblammo, I'm fucked.

I've noticed over the years that this doesn't happen immediately. It's far more insidious, and perhaps because of this I have gotten slightly better at spotting the warning signs, and getting back on my feet quickly.

Because the thing is, I don't have a weak back. Far from it. It's incredibly strong, and that's my problem. My back seems to think its in danger, so the muscles seize up so I can't bend or move. I used to see an osteopath who would pop and click parts that I didn't even know could move. I've been there at an acute inset phase and there is nothing they can do. The muscles are so tight there is nothing they can manipulate. I have steel rods running the length of my spine.

And that's what I had yesterday, but fortunately, I also have an action plan. Lots of hamstring stretching (with the assistance of mrsslippy), slowly but surely gives enough play in the muscles to stand and walk relatively easily, even if not comfortably.

This morning, with her gone to work, I got up in the usual lumbering speed of a man who doesn't do mornings and is 2 stone overweight, rather than the that of a a giant sloth with a hangover, albeit with the assistance of the window sill. Using a belt thrown around an ankle and looped round the head of the bed creates a bizarre pulley system that enables me to stretch my legs.

What I unfortunately can't do, is dress myself, and that has become the yardstick for whether I go to work or not. Where I there, I could sit at my desk for short periods, and provided I walk around and stretch at regular intervals, could possibly pass for 'normal' despite the discomfort. I've gotten very good over the years at ;
  1. Ignoring pain
  2. Knowing what physical movements I can and can't do without arising suspicion.
But without trousers and pants, that is all irrelevant. I have shoes that I can slip on, but wandering round the office 'cock out', is probably just a bit too unconventional to be classed as normal behaviour, even for me.

All being well, I'll be back at work tomorrow, although still in some discomfort no doubt, but today I'm in bed with my stretching exercises, and fuck me I'm bored.

Can you tell?

slippymark has already watched Alien vs Predator Requiem, Repo Man, and There Will Be Blood off of Sky+, and will probably have to start digging out DVD's soon.


  1. Hi mark
    I must be fairly bored too as I took the time to read your blog- only joking :-)
    I really hope you recover quickly. I
    knew you had a bad back but didn't really know the ins and outs of your problem, sounds pretty bad and very restricting...
    Would write a longer message but must shoot off, have an appointment with Occu Health as I'm under Stage 2 of capability :-( so they're basically in the proccess of deciding whther to terminate my contract...
    Anyway, I wish you a speedy recovery.
    Helena x
    PS: Don't forget to ask Mrs Slippy to do a Falls Risk Assessment! Only joking, couldn't resist it! Get well soon!!!!!!!

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