In a word, ow.
I tweaked or twanged or otherwise fucked up my back last night. Getting out of my truck.
I do this every year or two. It’s always some ridiculous, utterly inconsequential movement that triggers it — bending over a bucket of beet pulp in the barn, hanging up a manure fork, putting away a colander in the cupboard. It’s never the result of a horse intent on my destruction (or involuntary dismount, at least) or anything dramatic like that. My lower back muscles just decide to clench on either side of my spine, like an anticipatory sphincter at the proctologist’s, and suddenly simple movements make me yelp and swear like a sailor. (Or, um, a horsewoman. It’s not like this language comes hard for me.)
I thought at first I might be able to stretch my way out of this one, but no such luck. Methocarbamol ain’t touching it either — it’s just making me stupid.
Ordinarily, I’m a sturdy little Quarter Horse. Not the most graceful or lithe of creatures, but I just truck on through most physical complaints. Not to jinx myself, but I think I have spent less time in the hospital (so far) in my lifetime, than many of my riding friends do in any given year. No delicate flower, I.
But this occasional back thing — which I admit I have never sought medical help for, since it generally dissipates in a few days and, as far as I can tell, is just a soft-tissue deal, not something major with my discs (presumably, I would be in some degree of chronic pain if it were my actual spinal column) — well, still, it’s a bit of a bitch.
Especially since I am scheduled to assist with the backing of two adorable young medium ponies tomorrow (for the uninitiated, a ‘medium’ is a pony between the heights of 12:3 hands and 13:2 hands, and generally uber-cute), as well as a Belgian mare who is wider than she is tall. Ugh. Suspect I will have to reschedule, since at the moment I can barely manage to hobble from office to bathroom.
I am trying earnestly not to correlate this latest episode of incapacitation with having recently observed my 50th birthday. I’ve been having these episodes intermittently since my mid-30’s, so I don’t really think it’s an age thing. And besides, I’m trying not to put too much emphasis on ‘milestone’ birthdays. I have plenty of things not to be positive about, but 50 really isn’t much different than 49, other than when I get dressed now, I find I’m asking myself, “So is this outfit appropriate for a woman of 50? Or does it smack of desperation?” It’s a toss-up as to whether it’s worse to try too hard not to look your age … or whether embracing the world of Tabi and Jayset is the bigger disaster.
(I did also notice that there don’t seem to be any birthday cards which say, “So you’re 50. So what? You’re still completely fabulous and you look better than ever.” That would have been nice, really. I mean, I’m 15 lbs. lighter than I was a couple of years ago, I’m a little fitter as well, and all in all I think I’m holding up better than some …. but I digress.)
It’s possible, of course, that the back thing is stress-related, but I’ve been stressed for so long that that’s just status quo. I had a job interview last week — yes, a real job interview, my first in almost two years — and I was asked to describe a crisis I had handled in the course of my career. Unbidden, the words, “My whole life is a crisis”, came to my lips. Hey, they might as well know what they might be getting.
And though it’s possible that the interview itself was a stressor, having a physical reaction to it four days later, some time after having driven five hours up the highway and back to attend, seems sorta implausible. Though not completely out of the question.
And besides, I am still basking to some degree in post-vacation bliss. I may be eating Ramen noodles at home and regularly begging my cel phone service provider to give me two more weeks to pay my outrageously inflated bill, but I spent a week swanning around Paris at the beginning of April. Cuz I won a contest. Yes, a real one. And though it did still cost me some spending money, I managed to eat on the cheap (mmm, roadside crepes!) and buy very few souvenirs, so it was mostly about museum entrance fees and there was enough included in the prize to cover that. It was fabulous, and it was my first true vacation in about 12 years, and it was an amazing way not to get bummed out about 50.
Am I getting less negative in my dotage? I bloody well hope not, but I do see one bright spot in my immediate future: as soon as I have observed the withdrawal time on the useless methocarbamol (six hours, sayeth the bottle), I am moving on to the Good Drugs. I have a few prescription pain med tablets left over from the occasion three summers ago when a horse reared, flipped over, and fell on top of me. (Kinda crunched my pelvis. I walked sideways, like a lumpy little beach crab, for about three weeks.)
Normally taking this level of medication freaks me out a bit — I am so not an addictive personality, and avoid anything that might be habit-forming as, um, a force of habit — but the weather is finally, finally improving here and I have stuff to do, so bring on the big guns. I knew I saved them for a reason.