Friday, September 25, 2009

Shake It Off Susie and Get Back to Work

This is a message borne out of pain. Last night while out grocery shopping with my sister, Linda, I bent over to place an item underneath the grocery cart. When I did that, my back went out; more precisely, in the estimation of my chiropractor, Dr. John Dean, one of my spinal discs bulged and tapped a spinal nerve. I pray that you never experience that kind of pain or the weakness that ensues. The inability to bear your own weight in an upright manner is frightening.

I have seen stooped men and women crossing busy roads going at a snail pace, and have shaken my head. Not any more! I had the experience last evening of trying to get down the hallway toward my apartment ladened with two bags of groceries, bent over and biting my lip so to not scream out. It was a revealing moment. Good for the old people if they can get underway on their power. Today I walk with a recognizable lean to the left.

Today I went for chiropractic treatment. I have a walking stick that's to be used on hikes. I started using that immediately to manoeuvre around my apartment; I even used it to help get my sandals on. Out the into the hallway, I had to be sure not to get my left leg too far behind or ahead of me. The pain was excruciating; how anyone could have ignored my grunts and tomcat wails from there is beyond my understanding. I was almost reduced me to a puddle of tears on the floor where my neighbour found me. Bernadette (thank you) offered me assistance, coaxing me to call an ambulance. I countered saying I just needed a cab. She had one waiting -- a regular car -- and escorted me down to the street t where would share the ride. I couldn't get in it. The driver recognizing the situation called me a van type of a taxi. The coolness of the morning was refreshing, and I knew I should have dressed warmer. Still, I was doing my best to relax. In case that van didn't show I was counting out my change to take the bus. The cab arrived. The driver, I didn't get his name, was kind and assisted me getting in and out. I got through the treatment that ended in a wonderful massage. It resulted in that I have less pain, however I still lean and will need recurring treatment for probably a week.

What does this have to do with the title? Twenty years ago I worked in a packing plant. My job was to haul product in and out of freezers using electric pallet jacks. On one of those occasions I dismounted and slipped on some ice, landing on my tail-bone. Have you ever done that? There is something about that doesn't leave you on the ground for very long. I wonder if its a self-preservation thing. You dance like there is no tomorrow because it feels like you are going to die right that minute. Then the pain relaxes a bit, and life resumes tenderly. Twenty years ago or so I wasn't very smart. It would seem I didn't have many caring people surrounding me then either. Because I took the obligatory three days sick leave and saw no doctor about it. The attitude of the time, not expressed exactly was "shake it off Susie and get back to work." I seem to recall I had people from the plant calling me not to see how well I was, rather asking, "when can you come back to work?" Eventually I did. It wasn't until ten years had past before the injury started to manifest in disabling ways. It was with almost uncanny ability that the first chiropractor that I saw then was able to state, after reading my x-rays, "Ten years ago you fell and fractured your tail-bone, didn't you?" I had to almost think of it; to remember the event. "How did you know that?" was my reply. the x-rays showed the untreated damage. It's been ongoing ever since. At some inopportune time the injury resurfaces. Now I see my chiropractor every two weeks whether I like it or not.

However, here is the thing. Today's culture is set to be more wary of industrial safety and accidents. We are more keen to do something. Yet, I caution you if you have young sons, don't let them get sucked into that "shake it off Susie and get back to work" syndrome (Its a form of masochism). Because those guys that press it on our young men to be tough, they won't be around to help pick them up off of the floor when they are unable to do so themselves. Don't let these macho guys sell that crap. We all need to treat our bodies like the temples they are. Take care.


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