Saturday, July 23, 2011
It has been two weeks since my Dancing with the Stars stunt landed me on my lower back. Now, only two weekends later, I am coasting along on Aleve Liquidgels after running out of the medicine prescribed by my favorite doc-in-the-box, Care Now. Since midnight of July 9, I have become more agile in getting out of bed, dressing for school, and caring for Russet. Having sampled the life of the physically-challenged, I can truly appreciate not only the importance of agility but, also, what happens when people misplace it following an injury.
First, we get out of bed. Simple, right? We do it every day. But, now, with an out-of-whack back, I have to re-learn how to sit up without screaming. Drawing from my physical therapists’ training back in November of 1995, I plant my fist on the bed to boost myself up. So far, so good. Now, if I can only stand in a perfect 180-degree angle.
That leads to Step Two. Hot showers are my new best friend. A few minutes underneath a steaming spray and I’m as limber as a stick of chewing gum in the July sun. Soon, I’m unscrunched enough to dress myself.
Segue to Step Three. Unlike skirts, shirts, or dresses, which I can pull over my head, I have to figure an innovative way to get into my jeans. First, I unzip them and drop them, leg holes gaping, on the floor. Next, I sit down, grab first my left leg and, then, my right and aim my feet into the leg holes.
Now, Step Four — breakfast. As always, I start by feeding Russet. But wait — her food and water bowls are on the floor! Oh, noooo! Remembering the two-year-old tantrum my back threw the last time I bent over, I look around for a solution. The kibble part is easy, as I can scoop it up from its bin and dump it into her bowl. The water, though, is a bigger challenge. At that moment, the large measuring cup peeking through an open cabinet door gives me a light-bulb moment. I’ll simply run tap water into it and cascade it like a mini-Niagara Falls, into her water bowl below. Once again feeling like a good dog-mommy, I now fix my own breakfast. But when I open the door to the fridge, Reality slaps me full across the face. The coffee can, and jugs of orange juice and milk are all on the lower shelf! Hmm…maybe if I bend with my knees…?
But even they protest.
“Crrrrrrack! Try that again and we, too, will revolt!”
Oh, well, I tell myself, gulping my morning meds with bottled water. Orange juice, coffee, and cereal are highly over-rated. Better make do with a slice of toast and grab my coffee at school.
Then, I glance at the digital clock on my stove. Yikes! 7:45 already? Better walk Russet and get the heck outta Dodge!
Step Five is right around the corner. But, even though my little dog leaps up on the couch and tries to help, getting her halter on makes yet another demand on my beleaguered back. Then, we have only to step outside when she sees a cat in the road and forges ahead, causing the muscle in my lower back to stretch tighter than a rubber band over a bowling ball.
“Keep it up, missy,” it threatens, snarling and shaking its finger at both of us. “One more move and I’m gonna snap!”
With the cat safely out of sight, Russet and I make it back home. Grabbing my keys and book bag, I walk out and fold myself gingerly into my car and begin the ten-minute drive.
As I pull into the campus parking lot, I sigh with relief. Step Six should be a slam-dunk. All I have to do is teach text-happy kiddos how to write a complete sentence. How hard can that be?