There is no tapping out, even when your back's out
Flat on my back, motionless in pain. This is where I am right now.
Do y’all know I used to be a track star? Well, I tell the kids that anyway. I ran track in grade school and a bit in high school. I did the 100 meter-dash and the 200-meter dash. I used to be pretty fast. I loved the feeling before the race, and the sound of that fucking gunshot start.
A few weeks back, I started to up my workout game... because you know, I’m 42 and I need to stay alive for four kids. So I’m trying to eat healthy (this can mean just eating only one Oreo as opposed to an entire sleeve). I’ve even been trying to take the dog on a quick morning run (seriously if you blink you’ll actually miss the run)... and I’ve been lifting weights on my late husband's weight bench in my basement.
Now I know from years of experience that every time I start in with working out and weight training that I pull something or strain a muscle or blow some gasket up on this old body of mine but I just keep trying it anyway ... it’s like a sick game I play with myself every few months or years of inactivity then exercise.
So the past few weeks I’ve been putting weight on that bar (please don’t anyone get excited or proud, the weights are like the size of the donut munchkin holes I can pound like nothing)... and I was doing ok for a while. I was getting cocky.
But after sitting at my desk this afternoon on an hour-long phone call with the insurance people (because I realized nobody at the Cobra place was getting my payments), my back started hurting. I pressed on throughout the call because I can’t seriously be on a phone conversation to save my life once my kids get off that bus...
“Yes, hello it’s me again. Yes, my husband is still fucking dead but y’all keep sending correspondence to him. Yes, you told me you were sorry for my loss the last eight times I called trying to get you guys to fix this. Ok, well no you can’t talk to the subscriber or get his social from him... cause, you know, dead... yes, I know he is listed as the subscriber but it’s since been changed or at least the last eight people here told me they’d change it...and hey, while I have you, Payton is a female child, not a ‘son’ as you have listed here... oh yes, sure I guess I can go back on hold again.”
While I sat on hold, my four very tired, hot and hungry kids got off the bus. I’m giving them evil eye and shushing them and hard snapping my fingers like a madwoman at them but my kids are like a bad strain of E coli —they are immune to all my shit. I realize my back is killing me and I can’t get up. Kids are now eating chocolate chips for an after school snack.
I finally get off the phone, (pretty sure I’ll be calling them back tomorrow or the next day or next week to talk about his still-existing deceased condition which makes him unable to be the subscriber here).
I’m limping like Frankenstein toward the kitchen. I miraculously made it through dinner feeding all the kids and managing not to stab one child who asked me to make a different meal because she didn’t want spaghetti sauce but just ‘plain noodles.’ I also managed to swat another kid who asked for dessert before I even wiped the table or took a bite myself.
I’m now in full hunchover mode loading the dishwasher. Thank God almighty it’s raining and soccer practice was canceled tonight because there was no way I was going to be able to hoist myself into the car and drive anywhere at that point.
I realize the pain in my lower back is getting sharper by the minute and I’m starting to panic. I don’t have anyone to tag out with. It’s me 24-7 here, guys. It sucks being alone. But I gotta finish this fucking Monday race.
I whimper all the way to my bathtub where I run the water for the girls. “I don’t care if you wash your hair just get your damn body wet and put on pjs!”
Next, I’m lying on the living room rug moaning in pain and the dog is licking and biting my hands. She grabs my phone in her mouth and trots off with it. So even if I need to call 911 to get myself off the damn floor I wouldn’t be able to.
My youngest comes and stands on my back—normally my laying face down on a carpet is their invitation to do just this—but this time, it’s only added more excruciating sharp pain to what I’m feeling. I wince getting up telling the girls mommy can’t make it up the stairs to tuck them in, but give me a hug here at the base of the stairs (where I’m doubled over frozen in fear of breathing).
I would admit any exaggeration here —but I endured natural childbirth with my firstborn and a good five hours of it with the twins, so I’m serious when I say this is no embellishment.
I think of labor pains and remember the warm bath scenario. So, I’ll try anything because right now I’m basically walking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame throughout the house. By this time, the bath has tepid, dirty water in it but I don’t give a shit. Eventually I realize that the bath thing isn’t working (and didn’t work in labor either for that matter) so I devise a plan to get out of it.
I am also cursing myself for throwing out all of the pain meds that used to sit in the cabinet. The Vicodin. The Percocet. The muscle relaxers. They’re all gone. I only have some weak ass ibuprofen— I don’t even have any damn Midol, because (as I bragged last week to a friend), “I have never gotten any cramps, ever!”
So now let’s have all you envision what it would look like to see a grown-ass, naked woman trying to pull herself from a garden tub without the use of her back. Yep, not pretty. Nope, more towels than that, people. Yes, a lot of crawling on the tile. More wincing.
I am now laying flat atop this bed. I don’t have the energy to figure out where the heating pad is or an ice pack or the Andrea voo-doo doll someone has clearly been torturing all day. I have on whatever clothes that were closest to me on the floor. I’m guessing the kids are sleeping. I pray this goes away by morning.
I get no sick days here. I’m it. I can't tap out. I got the Tuesday race tomorrow. And the Wednesday one after that... my races never end.
I’m the fucking track star.
This blog was originally posted Sept. 24, 2018 on the author's Facebook page.