Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Back spasms, fancy breakfasts, and a forced rest

My twelve-year-old son Luke throws open the front door, stomps in with muddy boots, and shakes off his wet wool shirt.  His blond hair, flattened by rain, lies dark on his head, his cheeks burgundy from the wind.  I take his cold face between my hands, warmed by the wood stove and a cup of steaming coffee and choke back tears.

He looks at me, puzzled.  

"Thank you," I manage.

"No problem," he shrugs.  

I hurt my back and have been on the sofa for a full week.  Standing and sitting sends my back into spasms, and a combination of laying flat on my back, popping ibuprofin like candy, and applying a heating pad keep the worst pain at bay.

Four days ago, the pain felt a little better, and I walked out to the barn to check on the goats.  I didn't lift anything, and yet, when I returned to the house and bent slightly to lower myself onto the sofa, my back went into violent spasms.  Again.

Since then, I've committed to laying low, so to speak.  A nearly impossible "task" when running a homestead, a household, and raising kids.

My three kids and husband now do everything for me, and they do it willingly, hence my sentimental tears when Luke came in from doing morning chores.  I am touched by their uncomplaining help.

Do you think lounging on the sofa all day long for many days suits a person like me?


Still, here are some perks about this whole f*#%$%^ situation:

1) The kids make amazing breakfasts.  They made home made waffles three days in a row, with all the fixings.  Whipping cream, maple syrup, blueberries, the works.

2) I get to practice receiving.  I like being the one nurturing, supporting and holding space for others.  Now it's my turn to be nurtured.  Bring it on, baby.  Where are the waffles?

3) I get to rest.  I don't have to explain this one, do I?

4) My family cooks breakfasts, lunches and dinners.  Heck, some of them CATCH dinner.  Here is Luke after landing a beautiful silver salmon in the Skagit.  Steve cooked it up that night.  It was delicious.

This back injury is not the best timing.  We borrowed a handsome (albeit stinky) billy goat from a friend so that he can breed my goat ladies.  

I would really like to be out there to observe it - not because I'm a pervert, but because I want to see when the baby-making occurs so I know at what exact date to expect goat babies.  I want to be there when they are born.

I'm not used to feeling so disconnected from my animals and my garden.  Usually, I do chores outside first thing in the morning, every single day, month after month after month.  

Ideally, I would trudge out to the goat barn several times a day to check if goat sex was happening, but I can't do that with my awful back.

Instead, I send the boys outside to report any strange behavior and to check the goats' rear ends, since there will be tell-tale signs if the deed happened.

Yup, nothing like homeschooling to give you an education in real life.

When I went to the barn the other day before re-injuring my back, I took the camera to capture what's going on at the homestead in fall.  I was blown away to see so many things blooming so late in the season, even after weeks of steady rain. 

Come with me for a little stroll.  You don't mind if I lean on you every now and then, will ya?


  1. I am envious of your long season and envious of non-complaining kids. I wish mine were that way, but I fear there is too much puberty and too much Swedish upbringing in them. However I do think that if I were to injure my back like that, I'd get help too. Maybe not as willingly, but still.
    That is THE downside of living this lifestyle. An injury incapacitates you and your chores get not done, which immediately affects your living; food, warmth etc. I noticed even a small injury, like a broken finger or a gash in your hand seriously limits you. That's where the family cooperation comes in.
    Get well soon!! And do seek professional help. You only got one back.

    1. Ron, yes, it would be good to get professional help. But do you wanna know how this whole back thing got started in the first place: I got a massage (from a professional), and she pulled on my leg so hard that it threw my back out. I am so disgusted by that, especially since I had to pay $80 for that massage.

    2. Hey you're in the US of A.... Sue the.... ;)
      Just see to it that you did not suffer permanent damage.

  2. Back pain is the absolute worst! Just can't get away from it. Would take an ankle sprain over that any day.

    I know it seems like it will never go away, but it will subside. Deep breath, relax and let that wonderful family pamper you some more. Hope you are better soon.

    1. Yes, breathing is good, pampering is good as well. Thanks for your sweet words!

  3. Replies
    1. I know, that would be so great! The only problem is that
      1) It's very expensive and my insurance doesn't cover it
      2) The nearest acupuncture office is a two and a half hour roundtrip away, and sitting in the car so long sounds like torture right now...

      I totally believe in acupuncture, since it has helped me with other issues before...

  4. ok, here's my two cents worth. First I hope you feel better real soon! And it's so fantastic that you have so much help! It's just me and the hubster on our homestead. So we have to avoid injuries like the plague. I know I have a sensitive back. Just conformation I guess not helped out by years of sitting. When I start to feel a twinge coming on I immediately apply a Salonpas right to the spot. I took ibuprofen for years until I noticed that I could get bruised by (almost) breathing. Order the Salonpas online and keep a stash. They are great for localized pain relief. They aren't expensive and are great for preventing pain from getting worse. They're a simple analgesic like aspirin. The key is that they deliver pain relief right to the place where you need it.

    1. I hate taking ibuprofen or any kind of medicine, so I have been really hesitant hammering it like I have. But I know I have to keep the inflammation down!
      I'm doing better today!
      Thanks for caring!

  5. About 3 months ago I took a bad fall backwards on a gentle slope I'm terracing and I fell back on an upright 2 x 12 timber right to my back left side rib cage. It was hard to breath then I caught my husband's cold. My left arm hurt then it worked it's way into my lower neck and it's been hell to recover from. It's been very slow but now I don't hear the bone grinding like I did before. There is a reason we have winter and I'm glad winter it's here and I can slow down and rest and heal. Injury can happen at any age but the better you care for yourself the less likely it will come back to haunt you when your older. Be well-Heal well and trust in your family. God Bless.

    1. Thanks so much, Sheri,

      Oh, but how awful your injury sounds!!! It sounds terribly painful!
      I hope you will heal steadily and use winter to really rest and heal.
      Be well!

  6. so sorry to hear of this, corina, and how it happened! glad you're family is there to take care of you... hang in there. xo

    1. Thank you, Heather,
      I guess I am now really, really motivated to work on my core strength after my back is better. Yoga and Pilates, here I come!

  7. As someone who has thrown her back out enough times before (because apparently I bull through work like I'm invincible, so says my husband), I can sympathize and my heart goes out to you! Laying low and resting really is the best course of action. Heal quickly!

    And thank you for the laugh about goat sex...I needed that chuckle!

    1. Oh good! I'm glad you got to laugh about that! Always something to chuckle about with my goats around!

  8. You have my sincerest sympathy. I was the victim of a hit and run years ago, and it left me with back problems. I manage them, but every now and then Aaargh! I do something stupid. It's so easy when your back feels fine, you tend to forget. I would say though, be careful of yoga and pilates, as these forms of exercise can exacerbate problems. Take some medical advice before you have a go at them. Lovely that your family are all mucking in, you raised them well.