Keeping Track of My Back


Kay Harper 


© Copyright 2019 by Kay Harper 



Photo of a hand picking up trash.

It’s hard for me to realize that although I feel about 28 inside, my body has seen more than 65 summers, and, consequently, there are times when limiting my activity would be a good idea. Under the heading of “Lessons-Learned-the-Hard-Way” is this:

It started out to be a delightful day. Our church was celebrating together with Christmas carols, and a sit-down meal. The children gave us a sweet program, the teens presented one that was truly thought-provoking. There was even time to play a few Christmas games. As the luncheon wound down I had a “bright idea” to help out by collecting trash.

So, I went to the kitchen where I found one of those black plastic bags that is as long as most of us are tall and proceeded to go from table to table twisting, turning and reaching to accommodate everybody’s garbage. Then, I picked up the bag or dragged it to the next table, where the twisting and turning continued. After making the rounds to all the tables I tied up the bag and deposited it in the kitchen, washed a few dishes, spread a little Christmas cheer, said my goodbyes and headed for my car.

That’s when it happened. Right in the middle of a step my back decided to break out in a super-spasm. By the time I reached my car it was tormenting me with no end in sight. Whoa, I thought, what’s this? For some reason my mind didn’t put my recent activity together with the pain—at least until later.

Now there’s pain and then there is PAIN. Mine was the latter and I spent the next week as flat on my back as I could get, because every shift into a new position brought with it jolts of agony. If you’ve ever experienced this you know the torture that, simultaneously. takes-your-breath-away even as its severity must be accompanied by sound effects. “Ah! Uh! Oh! Eou! Mmmm! Ha!”

By the beginning of the next week the pain had let up enough so that I could take a trip to my chiropractor. After examining me he said, “Well, you are wound around and around. What in the world did you do?” I confessed the dumb move (or moves) I’d made the week before as he gave me one of those looks, you know, head tilted down, eyes over the glasses, as if to say, “What were you thinking?”

I saved him the words and said, “Well, I wasn’t using my best judgment.” He continued his stare. “OK, actually, it was dumb from start to finish!” He smiled, then set about fixing all the circuitry that was out of whack in my back. I left feeling almost normal.

The next day I decided to go back to my part-time job. Oh brother, MISTAKE! The spasms attacked, and I was consistently leaning backwards to ease the pain. My, oh my! There were a few sound effects that day, too.

It’s been a few weeks now, and although I am still aware at times of the sensitivity in my back, I do believe I am on the mend, and am so thankful for that. Each morning I do a series of stretching exercises, and that does help—a lot! Even as I’m writing this I’m making a note that perhaps an evening stretching session could help even more.

 So here’s the long and short of it: collecting trash seemed like a good idea at the time. You know, helpful, necessary. But from now on I think I’ll leave such chores to the younger crowd, who are more flexible and stronger. No more “bright ideas.” I will be thinking about taking care of my back for a long time to come. Who knows? The perspective I’ve gained from this predicament is something I would not have had, had the injury not occurred. So, I guess you could say the whole thing was (and still is) a blessing—a “back” tracking one to be sure, but a big and good one to be sure!

Contact Kay
(Please type author's name
in the subject line of the message.)

Story list and biography for Kay

Book Case

Home Page

The Preservation Foundation, Inc., A Nonprofit Book Publisher