So, I’m at my Mum’s this week as I mentioned in my previous post. Mum and I are taking it easy. Ha. But not out of choice, and not in the way we imagined we’d be doing. That’s because I “put my back out” on Saturday.
I know that phrase means something different for everyone. Backs are, uh, personal, and unique, aren’t they? To me, that phrase usually means a disc issue created by straining while doing something silly.
Like last year when I fell skiing and landed on my butt with my skis uphill, and my head downhill. A position from which it is very difficult to extricate oneself. And despite Hubby’s protestations to take off my skis, I tried to hoick my legs up, and around, and down. That hurt a bit. I felt the pull on my lower back, but everything seemed okay after a minute, and we continued skiing. Then that afternoon, while changing the sheets, twisting to pull the fitted sheet over the mattress, I finished the job. And I don’t mean making the bed. As I said at the time, it’s not sports that will hurt you, it’s housework that’s dangerous.
This time around I injured my back through a series of silly choices which Mum and I both knew better than to make. It all started when I was making up the bed in my room, actually her spare room off the living room. I couldn’t find the quilt that goes on my bed. Mum was calling suggestions from her big chair in the living room. I still couldn’t find it. Mum, exasperated, yelled, “I’m coming in.” Then I heard whirring as she launched herself from her big electric chair. She struggled to her feet, then couldn’t squeeze her walker between the chair (I mean, that thing IS huge) and the cedar chest. So she carried on without the walker, hanging onto various pieces of furniture, until eventually she stood in the doorway of my room and pointed out where the quilt was. Thanks Mum.
Then she tried to turn around and go back the way she’d come. Uh, oh. As Mum says, she doesn’t reverse well anymore. So I lept in to help.
The path between the chest and the chair was too narrow to allow for us to stand side by side so she could hold my arm. Instead, I put my arms around her waist from behind. We proceeded for a couple of awkward steps, trying not to laugh. Then, Mum stalled. She couldn’t bring her right leg forward, couldn’t “get her hind leg moving,” as she says. Her bad knee and general pain and stiffness from arthritis make moving hard, and tedious. It’s so frustrating for her; she wants to move her leg and it won’t cooperate. Growing old takes an inordinate amount of patience, I’m learning.
Sometimes Mum talks to her bad knee, warning it to not dare give out on her, or she tells her leg to get moving. That day she talked to me instead: “Give that leg a kick, Susie,” she barked. Nope that didn’t work. “See if you can lift it at the knee, and then I can move it forward.” Okay. I leaned to the right, and grabbed her leg with one hand, still holding onto her with the other. With my help, the knee bent, and rose, and she moved the leg forward. Yah!
Then she swayed to the right. “She’s going down,” I thought. So, I lifted my right knee until my thigh was parallel with the floor. She held onto my leg, and used it as a kind of handhold to push herself upright. We stood there awkwardly for a few seconds. Mum catching her breath, hanging onto my leg. Me standing on one leg like a stork, holding her from behind. Maybe wincing a teensy bit. But only a bit.
Then, once Mum was back in her chair, I went back to making my bed. Cue the ominous music. That damned fitted sheet did me in again. What is it with me and housework?
So. There we were. Mum feeling bad that I’d flown all the way down here and hurt myself on my first day. Me feeling… well… pain. Hip throbbing, lower back in spasm, upper back aching from not being able to straighten up. Walking bent over and to one side. And grumpy. “We look like twins” Mum said from her walker. “Hardy har har. Not as funny as it looks, Mother,” I snapped.
But. We have progressed a little since Saturday. I made a full meal for us tonight. Couldn’t muster much beyond scrambled eggs and toast for a while. Standing for too long hurt, getting up and down hurt… well… you get the idea. I went to see a physiotherapist yesterday. He was wonderful. I go back on Thursday. I stocked up on painkillers. I’ve been making full use of Mum’s heating pad. Last night I even went for a short evening stroll down to the ferry landing.
The river was calm and beautiful. It felt wonderful to be moving. Upright and moving.
So the best laid plans, and all that, can fall apart. And have fallen apart. I still hope to get to the bank later in the week for Mum. And maybe to the book store for her after my physio appointment on Thursday. But I won’t be cooking up any extra meals to freeze like I usually do when I’m here. We won’t have our Jane Austen movie binge. Although we have managed at least one episode of The Great British Baking Show each evening before early bed. And we probably won’t get to the wardrobe organization and clear-out that we were both looking forward to so much.
Doris from Devon edits her closet. That would have been fun. Maybe in the spring we’ll do that.
I guess the worst part is that I have not been good company this week. There have been no cosy chats in Mum’s room after she is in bed when I pop in to see what she’s reading. No reminiscing. No jokes. Well, except the one about us being twins, which I regret to say I did not take with good grace.
Maybe the weekend will be better. Maybe I’ll be in less pain and better humour, and I’ll whip us up a quiche, and a pan of biscuits, and we’ll watch Pride and Prejudice, for like the twentieth time, until the wee hours.
P.S. Things must be looking up. I‘ve even broken a smile once or twice as I‘ve been writing.