Today was a ‘visit the hospital day’. I took my back to the hospital for a check-up and yet another treatment. It’s an old back, one I’ve been using (and maybe abusing) for 79 years. After some discussion with the doctor at the pain clinic, I got another dose straight into the nerve. “If you say it helped, let’s do it again. I think we’re on the right track,” she said as she stuck what felt like a horse needle into me.
We live in a retirement home and some days I feel I am surrounded by people with back problems. Electric wheelchairs, human-powered wheelchairs, walkers of a dozen different designs and a variety of sticks and canes are to be seen everywhere. Residents hobble or walk with very short steps. Some, like me, lean to one side or the other. Someone told that I look like a giant question-mark coming down the sidewalk.
I often think that the back is a marvel of engineering, able to bend in any one of 360 degrees, able to lift heavy weights and carry massive burdens, but designed to last only 70 years. The pain, when it comes, is excruciating and becomes the focal point of one’s very being. It’s hard to bear and makes life difficult. But it’s not as difficult as warning children and grandchildren to take care of their backs.