Ok, so it’s not quite Brokeback Mountain, it’s more of a clever title (which sadly isn’t all that clever either). There are no gay cowboys vying for each other’s love in my home, and they’re not dragging me out to the mountains once a year for a hidden tryst that neither’s wife knows about.
Instead I “simply” broke my back two summers ago while washing my hands one Sunday at the end of June.
I’d returned home after leaving my pregnant wife, and daughter with my parents (for only a short moment). The goal was get home find the phone number for the flooring store, and head out again to pick up my wife (J). We’d originally planned to let my daughter (M) hang with the grandparents while J and I went to town with the flooring.
I get home, take care of business, and then when washing my hands I heard a deafening “pop” followed by immediate searing pain then I collapse to the floor. I’m thinking that was weird. There’s no other pain for the moment. I try to get up and that’s when it hits. Pain like I’ve never felt coming from my lower back; it’s only at this point that I realize the reason I can’t actually get up is because both my legs aren’t moving and my left arm is paralyzed.
Using my best Jack Bauer trick, I one arm myself across the floor dragging my husk about 10 feet to the phone. I call my wife and she shows up about 10 minutes later. By this point the incredible pain and back spasms have set in deep and hard so much so I ended up having complete loss of lordosis (curvature) in my lower spine. Yep straight as a board, and very painful.
So what would bring this on in a 39-year-old man in generally good physical health? Stress my dear readers, lots and lots of inhuman stress, bad posture, working long hours for little reward, internalizing emotions, not dealing with things head on, self-wallowing, self-pity, and above all a complete a total disregard for every single warning sign my body was putting forward.
The car was moving at 400 km/h flying through every warning sign along side the road that there was with little regard for what was actually written on the sign.
When car finally went off the cliff the end result was 4 degenerating vertebrae, 2 torn discs, complete loss of lordosis in the lower back, and an inability to piss without a tube shoved up my urethra (albeit only for 2 days). On the upside at least it wasn’t something terminal like massive coronary, leukemia, or the litany of other equally debilitating things some 40-year-old friends of mine didn’t survive during the previous five years.
I used the time since my accident to bring myself back to mental sharpness, recover from the trauma of being away from fulltime work for nearly 12 months, and to find my centre. I’m a little more country and a little less rock ‘n’ roll now, you could say. Using a whole year to get your mind in gear, realign your goals, and figure out how you’re going to support your family is no easy task, and I’m still working on the right mix of elements to keep my life’s juices from turning volatile again, but it’s a long way down from the mountain and every so often I just pop.
With 2011 finally here, and 2010 sent off chasing my birth year I believe that I’m now physically fine and mostly recovered. There are still some tricky days that end with me feeling like I’ve been the shoe of an elephant, but they pass. I take no pills (save the odd Advil). I take vitamins daily; I eat breakfast on most days; and I’m still struggling with that late dinner bad habit.
This year I’ve promised to honour myself and deliver on regular tune ups with physio and therapeutic massage at least once a month. Serenity. Yoga. Better eating habits, and better sleeping habits (as you can see that’s going to take a little more work considering I’m writing this at 12:35pm).
The never wavering support and love of my wife J, and my two little one M (the monkey) and now the brand spanking new R (the id) keep me motivated on the hard days and floating on the good ones.
Slow and plodding, but ever vigilant my goals are set and shall be achieved.