Monday, November 23, 2009

Getting old sucks

For 46 years my body and I have been on pretty good terms.  Alright there was the time I broke my index finger on my right had in the first inning of a softball game and played the entire game not knowing I'd broken it.  I batted the best I ever had.  Then there were the knees.  But I've learned to work with them and the two surgeries on the left and one surgery on the right have made them bareable.  I don't need to play tennis ... really.  And yes the eyesight that now requires me to wear monovision contacts and have bi-focals glasses was probably a good sign that my body was starting to start to wind down. But Friday...FRIDAY how could it.  And how could it do it so ... soo....All I did was sit down  SIT DOWN.  That's it.  I sat and I felt like 2 inches of my entire body suddenly settled with a big and painful BOOMF.  There was the pain, and the sudden realization that standing up again might not be quite the  mindless event I was planning.  Now I will say here and now I'm no stranger to back issues and I know where they all stemmed from. 

The summer of my 21st or 22nd year.  I was still following the dream of working in the theatre, not as an actor but as a techie.  I wanted to design lights or stage manage or something along those lines.  So that summer I was hired by my old high school drama teacher to be an assistant techincal director for a semi-pro repatory company.  I say semi-pro because only a handful of actually got paid, and the pay was a stipend at best.  BUT it was a job in the theatre and something I could put on my resume.  We did three shows, Godspell, Working, and Vanaties.  I don't remember much of the sets, but I don't think there was a lot to it.  The main thing was this platform or series of platforms that we could move around to create a different "stage" for each show.  It was a great idea.  Part of the platform staged was raked (theatre term for a stage that angles up or down).  The issue here, though, was in order for us to move the raked portions we needed to pick up the platforms so that the front legs didn't catch and break.  We did this by getting a slew of people under the platform and all lifting at the same time.  You needed someone tall near the center of the platform to help raise it high enough for the legs to clear.  I happen to be tall.  There was a person next to me who thought they were tall... they were not... and when we lifted the platform I got the brunt of the weight, arms stretched above my head.  The weight went down and into my lower back.  SNAP!  At that moment my back went out and my dreams of being Broadway's next great lighting designer went with it.  My back would spasam if I lifted up a six pack of cokes, how was I going to be able to pull up a 40 pound lighting instrument on a rope to a catwalk!  I wasn't.  I couldn't.  I didn't.

But, each time my back went out I could say..ok I did this...or I did that..or I KNEW I shouldn't have....but Friday.  I sat down....SAT DOWN and my body decided to play this cruel and twisted joke on me.  Cruel and twisted because the only time it's not being a pain is when I'm sitting.  Standing, walking, lying in bed... um..unless I've taken a handful of Motrin or some tylenol PM...not a fun situation.  And of course it's almost Thanksgiving!  GAH!  I've had to rethink my cooking. Ok the cranberry sauce I don't need to stand up much to cook.  Dad's doing the turkey, as usual, Mom is doing the dressing (we're from the Texas it's dressing and it's made with corn bread) but I was going to do a new riff on green beans and maybe a sweet potato casserole.  Now we'll have to see. 

Sigh...getting old SUCKS


  1. My sympathies, Ax. I pulled a lower back muscle when I was 14 or 15 and every now and then it just goes...ouch. My best friend then becomes ibuprofen. I'm 55 and I think my body is plotting to pay me back for every abuse I've ever committed against it. sigh. Hope you're much improved soon.

  2. Wow, I'm so sorry. Have you asked for physical therapy? Maybe there is something that will help. Back pain is the worst. Hope you feel better soon.

    Yeah, getting old is unjust revenge, but you can always look forward to that senior discount at hotels in just four years.

  3. Getting old is only in our mind.
    Age never prevented people from doing things:

  4. Some writer guy (with the same name as a famous fictional character) sent me over to visit from Twitter :)
    Backs and bones have a lot to answer for and should be forced to remain reliable!
    What are you writing?

  5. Hi Elaine. I noticed he tweeted that! I'm still blushing. And yes I agree. I've been very good to my back and my bones, I eat cheese, drink half and half in my coffee I mean I'm giving them the calicum they crave and how do they repay me? I'm writing a historical novel based in the US Civil War. I love your blog and CONGRATULATIONS on WINNING NANOWRIMO!