Back Inaction

So last week, I decided to play at pretending to be a Real Man™ and attempted to replace my nine-year-old car’s battery. You may recall my car’s infamous breakdown last summer. Well, the battery managed to survive that incident (despite one mechanic’s assurances that he would need me to buy an expensive new battery) only to die two weeks ago when I accidentally left the overhead light on during the coldest weekend ever. I’m pretty sure I could have jumped the car back to life, but given how much it had been through recently I thought it best to spend the fifty bucks to replace the battery.

I should add that I had to quite literally chisel my car’s right tires out of the ice that had enclosed them. I used the claw end of a hammer and the process took nearly an hour, at the end of which my hands had started to turn purple from frostbite (true!).

Anyway, after some trials and tribulations, I got the new battery in. However, in doing so, I also managed to strain my back. As sometimes happens, the strain didn’t come calling until two days later. On Friday (which was fortunately a day off for me), I slowly deteriorated, my back spasming occasionally as I tried to twist it loose.

I’ve gone through this several times before. I’ve always had a bad back (I herniated a disc at age fourteen and had to have an operation a year later), and a strain+too much sitting often causes my back to spasm painfully. However, if I can twist just the right way when it starts, I can avoid it entirely. If not, however (and I always know right away if I’ve failed), I’m in for three or four days of ibuprofen, heat packs and occasional excruciating pain.

I failed this time. Friday was okay, but Saturday I had to go in to work and ended up collapsing to the floor twice. If you’ve never had a back spasm, it feels like your lower vertebrae are grinding against one another and squeezing the nerve in between. You don’t really respond consciously; you just drop, because you’re body’s saying “Holy $#|+ this hurts we have to do something to make it stop RIGHT NOW!!!” At one point I was on the phone with DG; all she heard was “So yeah, when I get done here I wauuugh!! (thump) I gotta go it’s happening again bye!”

I managed to get back to my car by walking slower than my 87-year-old grandfather, gripping whatever railing was available to me, with frequent breaks to wait out the latest spasm. I drove home and basically didn’t move for the next forty-eight hours—plenty of time to watch the original Pink Panther, The Departed and get addicted to the game Hexic HD.

I tell you this not for sympathy, but so you can be amused at my pain. Because it was kind of funny, especially when I was limping to my car. I laughed. Then cried. Then laughed again.

Some things also of note this weekend:

DG and I got a guinea pig. We named him Tribble (yes, we’re nerds), and he’s a year-old rescue from the MSPCA. His fur is black, white and caramel and he likes hay and orange slices. So far he likes DG much more than me. I’ll get a photo up soon. He is very adorable. This is just the first step; next comes the dog, and then we’ll work our way up to human spaw—I mean, a kid.

As noted in the Aside, we also scored a Wii. After a tip from Ed that Target had the Wii in its flyers (meaning it was guaranteed to be in stock), DG got there at 8 a.m. to be there when the doors opened. There was no line, if you’re wondering, though the Wiis were definitely not going to last all day.

This ties back into my original point in that the main reason I worked so hard to get the new battery in (rather than letting my car, which I don’t really need right now, sit there until the snow melted) was because I’d been told by a Best Buy squeaky-voiced teen that they would be receiving a shipment of Wiis on Tuesday morning. Of course, this turned out to be technically true but worthless to me, as I learned when I got to Best Buy on Tuesday (my back strain already secretly working on its upcoming betrayal); it turns out that even if they got any Wiis in, they would have to wait (like Target) for the Sunday flyers.

In any event, we got a Wii and a guinea pig and I got a bad back and it all turned out well for everyone, except me and my bad back, which is better now.

  1. Big Guy left a comment on March 6, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    Nothing by sympathy for you Chief, back pain sucks.

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