Can’t say I’ve actually thrown my back out again; there was no one event which landed me on the ground in a lightening flash of pain, but rather this time it’s been gradual. Each day my back has been springing up in pain at a certain twisting or bending point culminating in a situation today which has me unable to sit in any one position for long or pick anything of substance off the ground.
I know, I know. Core muscles. Yes, got it. I spend so much time fixing things and doing chores and taking care of chickens and kids that it just hasn’t made it into the daily routine. But I know, I know. I should floss, meditate and do sit ups. Yeah. Not quite there. But with this being event number three in the back department in as many months, I’m seriously thinking about a couple of reps in the morning. Doesn’t sound so intimidating. Not when the alternative is walking around bent over like a humpback octogenarian.
I did get a fair amount of work done this week as I slowly worked my back into submission. After having driven eight fence posts into rocky soil (Greenfield is notorious for being very hard to dig in) and having put up some 120 linear feet of chicken wire – complete with working gate – my body was feeling it, but not so much my back specifically. So with no red flags, I continued my work. My new fence was not the success I’d thought it to be when I made my up-beat post about DIY pride. Yes, it was up, no it did not keep the hens in. Oh, initially it did. For about an hour or two. When they first realized their confinement they lined up at the perimeter, staring out at my with big ‘love me’ eyes, pleading to be released. As I would not help them, they helped themselves. Within a couple of hours everyone save Max (too big to squeeze under) was out and about, underfoot and leaving fresh poop all over my front steps once again. This required the big guns. Our neighbor and his dad have a homemade mill, and they were kind enough to not only cut some scraps for me, but to deliver them. Zac even placed the big ones neatly along the bottom of the fence where they were intended. I simply placed down the rest. Not much labor, but again enough to begin to tip the scales.
My hens were now contained – a huge advance for us and one step closer to getting out of here this summer – yet I had more before me. I’d made nesting boxes last fall but petered out of DIY steam and left them on the floor of the coop for the winter. Tired of waiting for some handyman to come to the rescue (this is a busy time and none will take my piddly little jobs. Very frustrating.) I decided I’d just do it myself. So I screwed on some L brackets, then hoisted the shelf up and above my waist – oh oh, it’s getting dicey, I can feel it… Out-of-shape muscles shuddered to hold it in place while I leaned in with my drill and tried to get them secured to the wall. I did it, and it was something that had to be done. But I do think that was the moment when my back had had enough. I noticed I was unable to stand up straight after that project.
A few more chores later – several trips carrying two five-gallon buckets of water down the hill to the garden, beginning to shovel the year’s poop and litter out of the coop (heavy stuff), washing the grimy walls of my house that face the driveway, moving all the unused tools back to the garage – after these tasks and more, my back has finally had it. Slept last night on a heating pad despite the fact that it was 85 degrees in my bedroom. Felt better this morning, so I know I’m on the right track. And I’ve just about accomplished all that I can do myself. So in the end, it was worth it. I’m used to muscling through things, but what I’m not used to is a body that doesn’t follow my lead. I never thought aging would get in my way. Getting older is for other people, right? Reading glasses? Those are for wimpy mamby pambies… and me. Who can’t open a jar? Can you imagine arthritis so bad that you can’t even do that? Well, yes. I can.
Ah, mortality. I still don’t get it; that I too am being swept down the river. I too am aging. My body is simply not able to plow through life’s tasks without a bit more TLC. Damn. Really? Me too? There must be some mistake. Right? As I make the merest shift in my seat while sitting here, writing, a searing mass of pain stabs at me from out of nowhere, reminding me that it’s all true. Crap. Still so much to do, but alas, I just don’t think I can do it today. I have students coming later; I need to make sure I’m doing ok by the time they arrive. Elihu can amuse himself with his rc helicopters and books, so I suppose the best thing I can do right now is accept my mortality…
…and go back to bed.