A soft shoe shuffle

Wednesday April 13, 2005

Late last night my back began to complain. Not too vigorously but enough for me to feel uncomfortable and for my spine to start adopting the ‘S-bend’ formation.

“Have a long, hot shower, pop a pill, and go to bed,” said Graham.

I did that. The shower helped, of course, and the pill cut in very quickly as I sat over a soothing mug of peppermint tea last thing. Even so, consigning myself to sleep, I wasn’t at all certain that I’d not be in trouble when I woke this morning.

I wasn’t, though. The pill made me sleep heavy and long, and I was still a little stiff and groanified when we set off to take the sacks of paper and junk from the study to the dump, but not too bad, considering.

“How you feeling?” asked Graham.

“Oh, I’ll do, thanks. Probably better than I deserve.”

“Don’t worry, you can sit in the car while I move this lot.”

“We’ll see.”

As it was, carrying the very light sacks of shredded paper to the crusher was well within my capabilities, and the light exercise did me no harm at all. Graham did the heavier stuff but there’s nothing unusual in that, and I managed the drive home with no great discomfort. The next vehicle is going to have to have automatic transmission. I shall not be able to manage a clutch pedal and stick shift for ever, and I know it.

Oh boy, though, but those pain-killers leave you feeling heavy and glum. I started writing up my journal entry but my heart wasn’t in it so I snapped the computer off, announced an early lunch, and pitched in to make it. Then I groaned myself off to bed for an hour or so.

A little while later, somewhere during my recovery mug of coffee, I came to the sudden realisation that my back didn’t hurt anymore. Great delight and not a little relief was expressed all round.

So, touch wood, and being very, very careful as I reach to do it, I’ve escaped lightly. This time.

I experienced only a slight episode of the old familiar scrunching as one of my vertebrae settled ever so slightly into a new configuration and I hope that it was only a minor deformation. You get to expect these things when you’ve lived with spondilitis for a long time, and I’m grateful that my spine seems to be managing the process really rather well, settling and compressing without causing me too much pain. I’ve only had to undergo one minor surgical fusing of two vertebrae, and it’ll please me greatly if the rest of the job is handled by Nature.

I’m a lucky man. I know it, and I’m grateful for it. Might not be able to tango anymore but I can manage a soft shoe shuffle when the music moves me. Which happens almost every day. Just not today, is all.



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