Time hits again, mentally and physically. Once I doubted back pain. Why, the complainer was walking. But then so many complained. Pain was in their eyes.
My dad as a younger man spent weeks in a hospital in traction for his back.
At 35 I faced a back dilemma. Where we lived at the time, several women wanted to start a basketball team for fun, exercise, and competition. Since I had played four years in high school, half court style, and been a “rover” on a community college team, I saw little need to attend practices with some who had never played, knew nothing about the game. At 5’6″ in my canvas hightop shoes in high school, I was the tallest and guarded the post. We may have won two games in my high school experiences. But a game was a place to go, people to see, songs to sing, and the boy’s team rode the same bus with us on away games.
That rover spot was a joke for me. It meant two team members could run the full court, crossing the line. The assignment nearly killed me.
But back to that women’s team. Finally I dressed appropriately, had some athletic shoes, and went to practice. I could dribble, pass and catch the ball. This night I might have been introduced with my experience. And we were practicing long shots.
After bouncing the ball a few times, feeling awkward, I began shooting for the basket. With the third thrust to the basket, a branding iron hit the pit of my back. Casually I made it to the wall to rest. Then almost crawling, I went out to my car, drove home, and lost all the food intake I had eaten that day. Eventually I was back to normal and never mentioned the game again.
But then I took a hard fall when I was in my late forties, the mother of teens and a high school teacher. When I stood up, I knew my lower back was on fire. But I sat down, skipped lunch, and endured the day. I was teaching Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales.” Who else could teach it? Sitting in a wooden chair with a heating pad on my back, I taught and took Ibuprofen or something like it. Once home, I lay on the floor, sometimes a vibrator under me.
The pain in the back went to the hip. The next year that line of pain ran down my leg. Soon I noticed my foot attached to that leg having numb places.
Then, almost three years later, Spring Break came, and the first morning to celebrate I sat up, and bombs went off in my back. I had ruptured or “blown” my lower disk three ways. I could not straighten up or walk, only crawl in agony while the attitude of my busy family will be ignored at this time.
From my bed with my phone I found a military-retired surgeon at Medical City. I had one visit. The doctor said, “I can tell your pain is intense; I’ll operate Thursday, and you walk out Friday, pain free. Walk is all you are to do for six weeks. Your scar will be one inch in length because you’re overweight.” I could have wept from faith and happiness.
Last year my husband lifted something too heavy and the result was his first incapacitation at 76. He had to have surgery on three vertebrae and something done to his sciatic nerve. Once home, had much to deal with. One night in pain, he looked at me disgustedly and said, “You just can’t imagine the problems I’m having. You’ve never had back pain.”
Hitting him would not have been right.