Back-to-back back woes shift into over­drive

The Hamilton Spectator - - LIVING - LORRAINE SOMMERFELD www.lor­raineon­

I’ve wrecked my back, and I’m plac­ing blame for it ev­ery­where but where it be­longs: with de­ci­sions I make.

I’ve yanked and mashed it in the past, to be sure. But this time I can’t seem to lasso it back from the brink of con­stant ir­ri­ta­tion, if not down­right pain.

When I had the kitchen ripped apart for ren­o­vat­ing, I lost my of­fice. I in­stead perched on the couch with a lap­top, no doubt the pose that has a big red X through it on the how-to primer for proper desk pos­ture.

I lifted too much and painted too much and hunched too much. To mix things up a lit­tle, I’d go weed too much. I got my chi­ro­prac­tor in­volved, who in turn got a mas­sage ther­a­pist in­volved. Both looked at me the same way that I look at a cat who has just barfed on the bed­spread.

One day, be­tween treat­ments from the two of them, I felt great. So I came home and ro­totilled my yard. This was put in the “too much” cat­e­gory. Back I went. “What are your plans this week­end? Can you take it easy?” asked the mas­sage ther­a­pist.

“Oh, yes,” I replied. “I’m driv­ing to New York State. But don’t worry, it’s a man­ual trans­mis­sion, so I fig­ure that’s like a gen­tle work­out six hours each way.”

She looked un­con­vinced. A week later, when I was back on her ta­ble with the failed re­sults of that rea­son­ing hand­ing her a bunch of knots, she again asked if I was tak­ing it easy in the com­ing days.

“Yup. Go­ing to Chicago, but I’m tak­ing a lux­ury car. I think the seats even mas­sage my bum,” I said, won­der­ing if the car I was tak­ing in­deed had that set­ting. I like that set­ting. “As much as I’d like to be pleased you’re not ro­totill­ing, this is not a rec­om­mended ac­tiv­ity,” she said. “You know that, right?”

I didn’t tell her I’d as­sem­bled two heavy bed­frames ear­lier that day. I con­tin­ued to blame the sports car from the week be­fore.

My chi­ro­prac­tor made my back emit some weird noises be­fore telling me I was prob­a­bly us­ing very bad form at my desk. On the way home, I stopped and bought a new of­fice chair. In order to take ad­van­tage of this as­tute pur­chase, I dragged the box into the house and pro­ceeded to as­sem­ble it. And un­did all the work she’d done that morn­ing.

I got my fam­ily doc­tor in on the equa­tion, and she tossed me some new mir­a­cle cream she’d just been in­tro­duced to.

“Let me know if it works,” she told me.

I went home and did my stretches, slapped on the new mir­a­cle cream, in­gested a mus­cle re­lax­ant and sat at my new chair to work. All of this made me sleepy, so I took a nap in­stead.

There was re­ally only one big job left to do. Af­ter truck­ing a cou­ple of big bed frames to the cot­tage last week­end, they needed as­sem­bling. With my niece Kat help­ing, we fi­nally got the huge bolts in place and tight­ened them. We were both sweat­ing, and while my back was yelp­ing a lit­tle, it knew the lake was right there. We stood ad­mir­ing our work. “We put it to­gether up­side down,” I told Kat.

“I know,” she said. “But when I fig­ured it out I didn’t want to start over, so I just let you fin­ish. I think it looks fine.” My sis­ter Gilly will be up next. I hope her back is in bet­ter shape than mine, be­cause that up­side down bed is go­ing to make her nuts.

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