Monday, 10 November 2008

My poor old back



A couple of weeks ago I hurt my back. I know exactly how I did it. I did it carrying my work-provided laptop. And before you all think what a wimp I am I’ll explain. I've had the laptop, from new, for about two years or so. It is a Dell of generous proportions, so a somewhat weighty beast. The case that it was provided with could be described as robust. I think it's been designed to withstand nuclear fallout. As a consequence the combination of bag and computer make their presence felt. Now, enter the need to get to the railway station in limited time and you have the makings of a disaster waiting to happen. Well it did, albeit in a perhaps more subtle way than you might imagine. Picture this. The strap was on my left shoulder and the bag itself was resting around my right hip area. This is all very well when you are standing still or even strolling along minding the view. But when walking a pace to catch a train Newton's law of motion comes into play. Your striding motion causes the bag to bang on your hip and then fly out side wards, a process that repeats continuously as you rush. To counteract this process I held the bag against my body to stop it flapping about. At the same time I must have braced myself in such a way that the whole process pulled a muscle or strained my back in some other fashion. All I know is that by the time I got home I was in agony. East Midlands' trains don't help of course with their ancient cattle-truck-carriages designed for short-arsed fuckers with 25" inside leg measurements.

After a night's sleep my back felt marginally better, so I went off to work, but as the day wore on it got more and more painful and started to stiffen up. That evening I had arranged to meet a friend at the Norwich Beer Festival. The venue is St Andrew's hall, an old church. We sat in the cloisters drinking our ale. I must say that the alcohol helped to deaden the pain, but at the same time the draft passing us where we sat was weaving its own spell. I arrived home and sat down for a while with a nice cup of tea. It was when I tried to get up that it hit me. I couldn't. I crawled to bed on my hands and knees in the most excruciating pain, and that's where I stayed for the next twenty-four hours, only moving to go to the toilet.

Sitting on the lavvy was the worst thing. No, I take that back. Getting up from sitting on it was what was really bad. Straightening up was just so painful. Standing up or lying out flat were fine, just anything in between didn't work quite so well.

After two weeks I’m still in some pain, but it is getting better. One of the joys of getting older is that defective parts of your body take a damned sight longer to repair than when you are young and supple. And sometimes they don't always fully repair. Who said that fifty was the new thirty?

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