Band of the Week - Porcupine Tree

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Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Back Problems

Ever since I was quite young I have always been aware that being tall will inevitably lead to problems with the back, be it in the form of muscle spasms, trapped nerves or just plain old backache. Growing up with a father who suffered with slipped disks even before I was born has made me realise that it could happen to me. My dad was having back problems from his mid twenties which eventually led to him being in traction at the army barracks cum orthopeadic hospital at Gobowen just after my birth and of course he eventually became paralysed at the age of 48, which of course he never recovered from.
Today I went to Llandudno casualty department to see what could be done for me. Since the late 90's I have had recurring back problems which have eventually gone away and life goes on. Until the next incident, usually overdoing it, lifting and carrying heavy boxes of reams of paper, dragging and folding tables for meetings, storing heavy items up the attic etc. I never used to think about it. I was never one to say no when help was needed, unlike a certain person I have previously mentioned in this blog, you know the knobhead. Well, it appears that I have a prolapsed disk in my lower back, which by all accounts is something physiotherapy can help, but if it doesn't then surgery may have to be the option. I will be going for an MRI scan at Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor soon to confirm the prognosis, and then we will know the next course of action. I went directly to the hospital because a) it was near Ben's school therefore convenient, and b) I'm sick and tired of living in pain for half the year, and just putting up with it. A bit of background for you. I had a particularly bad bad back episode in 2002 when I was off work for I think at least 2 weeks. I was folding a table, clearing the room after a meeting when I could feel a tear in my back. In many cases with me in the past, a backache would come out of nowhere, no idea how I got it, it just appeared, and I would just slap on the heat pack (or cold pack, as some believe is best), pop the pain killers, and wait a few days. This was different. I remember very clearly that I could not straighten up (which is very embarassing when I had to go out in public), and most worryingly, a really bad pain in my lower back whenever I tried to walk. I'm rooted to the spot, afraid to take another step. Not a pleasant experience. It's only happened once since this time, but I guess I know what it is now. I'm a little peeved that my GP didn't take the steps that were taken today. I'm probably guessing that my present problem started then, in 2002, and all I got from my GP were pain killing tablets. They worked, and there is a tendency to accept that all is well, until the next time I decide to do something heavy. As an example of how delicate my back is, I was in ASDA yesterday and some thoughless person had left a box of quiche in a basket under the till, too lazy to put it back in the fridge. So, I bent down to get it and felt that something, not major, went. Today I have been in agony and enough is enough. This is no way to live, and despite my fears of hospitals, and what happens in them, I decided to go there and face the inevitable. I'm glad I've gone in and faced up to it, because the prospect of ending up like my poor dad could have been my future as well. I'm not afraid to admit it, but in the waiting room I became emotional, the combination of not knowing what was going to be said to me, and it was the first time back in the hospital my dad had died in 5 months ago. Every now and again he still gets to me. I suppose it's still early, the grieving period. It's hard to believe, actually, that only 5 months have gone since that awful time, and yet it feels a longer time. I suppose a lot has happened in between stretching time to last longer. Anyway, what a difference a week makes! I get a degree one week and a slipping disk the next! The highs and the lows of life. In fact, I look on today as a lucky break and am gaining strength from the positiveness of my action. I've probably been walking around with a slipping disk resting on my sciatic nerve for the last 7 years for God's sakes! I'm lucky I'm still walking, albeit a stooping one and a great impersonation of an extra from the 'Planet of the Apes' film! Wait, I think I've used that gag before!
So, I have now a great excuse to get out of the washing up, and I can feel not guilty watching DVD's!

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