The embarrassing thing is that it all resulted from a single sneeze. While washing the breakfast dishes no less.
I pulled a muscle or muscles in my lower back last weekend. It happened in the blink of an eye, with the pain instantly shooting all the way up to the top of my spine. I howled in utter discomfort. Gorgeous ran into the kitchen and asked me the most sincere and practical question that one can certainly inquire in such a situation: “What happened????!!!”
My response took a slow-motion, hybrid form of Shemp Howard and Marcel Marceau, trying to both explain the circumstances of what transpired and also the extreme level of pain under which I was suffering. Were we engaged in a cocktail party charade competition, I might have single-handedly won us the trophy. I managed to explain what had happened and how I literally could not move because of the intense throbbing pain that was currently assaulting my body. Somehow she got me from the kitchen to a dining room chair where I sat for the next 20 minutes contemplating suicide or a shot of a good single malt.
As a kidney stone sufferer, I do know from pain.
Wait, I said that wrong. In the current political climate I need to use a more correct machismo convention:
Honestly, it really doesn’t matter what kind of pain we may have suffered in the past. Pain is subjective and when one is in agony it’s not a good idea to go for exercises in comparative studies. I remember once telling a friend who had just given birth to twins that I could appreciate what she went through because I had previously experienced kidney stone pain. Her response was to stare back at me in silence. I suspect that spoke volumes about my idiotic attempt for solidarity. Everyone has a unique and personal response to pain, and comparing myself to a woman who just had twins probably wasn’t the way to go.
“Excuse me, Waitress? I’ll need some ketchup with this crow. Thanks.”
All of my current misfortunes have happened at a time when I’ve been viewing myself within a prism of invincibility. About two months ago, alarmed at a six pound weight gain, I immediately went on a crash diet. The evening carb intake was curtailed as were all sweets. The results were positive and swift with not only the six pounds eliminated but several more to boot. Gorgeous immediately began complaining about my now being too skinny. Isn’t it awful when jealousy raises its ugly head? So déclassé if you ask me.
She specifically complained about my shoulder having an uncomfortable bony feeling instead of the soft fleshy one she was used to cuddling up against on our nightly couch moments. Her complaints fell on deaf ears, however. I was becoming buff again, baby, and no one was going to get in the way of my new Ryan Gosling look. Love is after all fluid and full of changes, variety being the spice of life and all that. Use a pillow, Darling. Your man is a rock hard specimen of trim and thin hunk.
One of my favorite Yiddish words is “Kenahora,” which roughly translated means “don’t jinx it.” Depending on how authentic you want to be, you can add a “poo-poo” or “too-too” coda to it for dramatic effect. As I’ve strutted around in recent weeks in my haze of dietary and weight-conscience cockiness, I should have known that karma was surely lurking just around the corner. Had I only uttered a random “kenahora” with regard to my sudden rise in self-esteem, I might not be in the painful physical condition in which I currently find myself.
Once again my own exaggerated hubris (some might say chutzpah) has done me in. To paraphrase Peter Gabriel, “poo-poo to you; keep them mowing blades sharp.”
Twenty four hours prior to the momentous sneeze, I saw a notice at our gym for a part-time opening as a counter clerk. With full bravado and esteem due to my aforementioned buff stature, I engaged the gym manager in conversation about the job along with a robust level of confidence and courageous fortitude. Only belatedly do I now recall his bemused simper as he handed me an application. Perhaps the graying vestiges of my 1980’s self-esteem uplift wasn’t as apparent to him as it felt to me.
Ah, but then in an instant my sneeze happened.
Eventually Gorgeous transferred me from the dining room chair to the relative comfort of our living room sofa. With pillows surrounding my every rump, Trump, and hump (sorry, I couldn’t resist), and now on a steady diet of anti-inflammatories every four hours, I very quickly reverted back to the more precarious and vulnerable 2016 version of myself rather than the one I had created in my mind. I spent the rest of the day hunched and stooped as I made my occasional way from the couch to the bathroom and then back. In a flash I went from Ryan Gosling to Abe Vigoda. Perhaps middle-aged shoulders should be a little softer after all.
Today I fortuitously had a chiropractor appointment scheduled. Instead of the usual bending and forced muscular contortions I’m used to him making me do, the good doctor instead gently massaged my back and neck muscles. He made me feel at least momentarily better. Gorgeous encouraged me to return in two weeks to get more of the same rather than my normal one month follow-up.
Needless to say, the gym hasn’t called to ask me to come in for an interview. I assume in a week’s time or so I’ll return and be greeted by the manager as the member with the AARP discount that I in fact am. Hopefully by then my Hunchback of Notre Dame gait will have disappeared.
So, everyone, do be careful when you sneeze. Let go of dish pans and plates if you feel a sneeze coming, and do try to be watchful of how you’re standing in relation to your back and shoulders. And by all means acknowledge your loved one’s complaints before you jinx yourself. Kenahora.
Until next time…