On the last day of January, my back went off the deep end. I had been in some pain the night before at work, but having had chronic lower back problems since high school, when I went to the chiropractor the next day, I was expecting simply more of the same. A twist here, a few pops there and presto change-o, I’m back to okay.
Ha. Ha ha ha ha hahahahahaha. No.
Turns out, I had an aggravated disc, which for those of you not in the know means you basically have to lie on your back doing nothing for two whole days, ice your spine just about once an hour, and, if it’s really bad, get help walking around. Luckily, having a loving set of parents who are willing to take splendid care of me and watch ridiculous amounts of X-files with me (20 episodes plus a six part mini-series in two days), I was soon-ish on the mend! My chiropractor said I could even dance a little bit the following weekend, which, naturally, I did. Also naturally, I pushed myself too hard by dancing two days in a row followed by work, which landed me back on the couch, this time even worse, by the following Sunday, which, of course, just happened to be the day before my saint of a mother’s birthday (happy birthday! You get to help me walk to the bathroom!). Anyway, I’m on the mend again, hopefully for the last time, and, as a bonus, despite the suffering it’s caused, God has as usual been using this as a great opportunity for me to grow, primarily through what it’s showing me about humility and community.
Being forced to ask for help is a strange thing, particularly when you work retail. I have a busy job that requires a lot of lifting, twisting, crouching, etc., which essentially means if my back is having problems, there’s not a whole lot I can do. I hate feeling like I’m burdening people, and when you have performance issues like I do, this problem is only exacerbated by knowing that you are in fact, putting a great deal of burden on others.
Except, that’s kind of what community is. Not always burdening others, certainly, but helping them when they need it and letting them help you too. We all have a part to play, and without the others around us, we simply can’t survive. I am finding more and more just how true this is in my life. I can see the change that happens in me when I’m plugged in or when I’m starving for connection and, honestly, it’s kind of neat. I still hate that I feel like I’m letting people down, but what’s really cool is just how understanding people have been. Because a lot of people have had back problems. They know what it’s like. And that gives them compassion to help you. Community, again.
I’ve got a lot more to unpack about this whole back thing, and I may get to it someday soon or let it sit and stew and grow into something else, but for now, that’s where I am. Improving, getting better.
What about you? Have you ever had back problems? Did you learn anything from it or were you pleasantly surprised by the reactions of others? Let me know in the comments if you want! Thanks for reading!