Monday, January 27, 2014

Hallelujah … I’m sitting at my sister’s dining room table

I ain’t proud.

Not when my back is shrieking like a Halloween wind whirling through a forest full of skeletal limbs.

Since foolishly choosing to pick up a box of heavy coffee-table books two weeks ago, I’ve been a poor facsimile of a 90-year-old humpback witch concocted by the Grimm Brothers, a witch barely able to pick up her book of spells.

Don't try this or you'll end up like me.
The last few days have been hectic, although not always for me. There’s only so much a crippled back can manage during a weekend of packing up my Saturn Ion for my move to Las Vegas.

Priority No. 1 on Saturday was finding someone to help me dispose of a bedsprings and mattress. My initial choice – my longtime friend Jayne – had to work in the morning, so I had to quickly conjure a backup plan. My roommate Deb came through, convincing her friend Stuart to help me transport the mattress and bedspring to the landfill.

There was a time I could single-handedly move a mattress from a U-haul-it truck into a bedroom. But I had a healthy back by then. And I was 37 years old. This time around Stewart did the heavy lifting and I cheered him on as he heaved the bedsprings and mattress into the back of his pickup.

Jayne showed up about 11 a.m. ready to load the Saturn for me. Luckily I had packed most everything I intended to take with me – about 10 boxes – before I blew up my back. Earlier I had gone through two closets and given about half my clothes to Goodwill. I hadn’t touched the rest since the back catastrophe, so it fell on Jayne to pack the clothes in several heavy-duty plastic lawn bags. My plan was to just dump them in … she insisted we fold them; said the bags would not take up as much space.

I held open the house and car doors as she carried the boxes and bags out to the car and packed them just like an 18th-century stevedore packed cargo into a sailing vessel bound from the Old World to the New World. Amazingly I could see out the back window, although a couple of small boxes along the back edge of the right rear passenger window did block a smidgen of the window. It forced me to use my right side-view mirror. But all in all it was an excellent job of packing.

Breakfast and pain, anti-inflammatory pills -- the perfect combination.
I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with my three-quarter antique bed. We couldn’t get it into the car and still be able to get all the bags and boxes in as well. But Jayne said she’d store it and try to sell it to an antique dealer and send the money to me. Then she decided she’d buy it, order a three-quarter bedsprings and mattress for it, and use it as the bed in the guest bedroom. The money will help me offset the cost of a HD TV for my new haunts in Nevada.

That night I slept on the living room couch and awoke at 6:30 a.m. with a slight backache. I didn’t want to take any prescription pain meds since they make me drowsy, and I’d be driving up to Ohio. So I went with off-the-counter medication and said goodbye to Jayne, Nance and my roommate Deb and her sweet pom Max, and aimed the Saturn toward I-40.

The back bothered me from the moment I backed out of the driveway, and it kept getting worse and worse. “How the heck am I going to do this for eight hours?” I thought to myself.

Storms and back pain are similar. Sometime it's better to seek shelter.
I discussed my dilemma with my sister Jody and with Sharon out in Nevada. Jody was going to keep me posted on weather conditions in West Virginia and Ohio; with worry in her voice, Sharon advised me not to take more than one pain pill and at the next rest stop get out and walk around to stretch the back.

Preoccupied with the pain, I missed the rest-stop exit. By the time I passed the Greensboro exits, I was feeling nauseous. In Yadkinville where I’ve gotten gasoline for years and years, I filled up and weighed my options. I’d gone 260 miles and had 300 miles still to go. An inviting Day’s Inn motel could be seen from U.S. 421. Like a sea captain sailing for a safe harbor ahead of a storm, I docked at the Day’s Inn. Safe in Room 124, I took a pain pill and let my back calm down, then took to the bed and got a good night’s sleep. In the morning, I ate a hotel breakfast of Frosted Flakes and a fruit-centered roll, coffee, and bulwarked myself for the journey ahead with a pain pill followed by an anti-inflammatory pill. This time my back behaved properly during the 4.5-hour ride up to Southeastern Ohio.

So here I am sitting at my sister’s dining room table composing a blog-post update detailing my grand journey to Nevada via Ohio and West Virginia. So tonight I get to sleep in my mom’s bedroom where 10 years ago she went to Heaven after months of coping with Lou Gehrig’s disease. It’s good to remember what she went through … it makes my back troubles look trivial.


  1. This is why I moved my husband to a nursing home when he became almost too heavy for me to lift. I'm glad you made it safe and sound and hope your back feels better soon.
    This is why I moved my husband to a nursing home when he became almost too heavy for me to lift. I'm glad you made it safe and sound and hope your back feels better soon.

    1. Yep, I understand fully Abbie. While helping take care of my mom in 2003 (she had ALS), I threw out my back moving her from her favorite chair to a wheelchair. I started wearing a back brace and that helped.

  2. Hey! I still have some Tramadol from when I had my lung operationI can post you :) Seriously, commiserations. Back problems are miserable. Are you permanently relocating to Nevada?

    1. Yep, permanently. There's a woman there that I want to spend the rest of my life with sharing sundry things, sexy and mundane. Lol.