Friday, February 22, 2013

Shoveling snow

(Illinois Back Institute)
Yesterday, it snowed most of the day. No problem, since I didn't have to go anywhere. But as the day went on, my back started to hurt.

It was my lower back, too, which is unusual for me, especially when I haven't been doing anything strenuous. I've heard that some men experience labor pains when their wives are pregnant. Was this just phantom snow shoveling pain, just from looking at the snow?

This morning, it was even worse, and then my back muscles started to spasm. It was really painful, and I found it hard to do much of anything. (You should have seen me trying to put on my shoes and socks!) But there was a good 6" of snow out there (less than they'd forecast, luckily), and it wasn't going to shovel itself.

Now, a few years ago, I had to dig up a huge flowering quince. The bush must have been older than I am, and it was certainly bigger. The ground was just a mass of roots, so I was using a hatchet more often than a shovel.

But I was doing OK. I'd been working for hours, so I was tired, but that was all. By then, I had this massive hole in the ground, so I was sitting on the edge, leaning over to chop at more roots with my hatchet,... when my back muscles started to spasm.

Oh, it was very painful, and it was such a surprise that I dropped the hatchet and fell on my side, wondering if I'd even be able to stand up again. Well, I could, with difficulty. Eventually, I was able to hobble into the house to get some painkillers.

But I still had that hole in the yard, and I was afraid that it was going to rain. So I hobbled back out to the hole again, picked up my hatchet, and started back to work.

It was difficult at first, hard to even move without a spasm of pain, but it got better as I went on. And pretty soon, I'd worked through the pain almost entirely. I still don't understand that, since my back muscles went into spasms doing the exact same thing that seemed to cure it again.

Well, this time, I hadn't been doing anything, but I still wondered if I could take a lesson from that earlier experience. And, after all, I had to shovel my walks and driveway. Heck, they're forecasting snow again on Monday, so I really wanted to get this cleaned up.

So that's what I did. It was very awkward, at first, and quite painful. I even took my first two scoops of snow one-handed. But it got easier as I continued. My back still hurts, but it's a lot better than it was. And my walks and driveway are shoveled clear.

I suspect I'll be hurting worse again in the morning - or maybe even later today, when I've had a chance to sit awhile. But I'm sure glad I went ahead with the shoveling. It was so tempting to use my back pain as an excuse. (Yeah, I'm a great procrastinator.)

Hmm,... maybe I shouldn't blog about this, since I might want to use it as an excuse for something else, sometime. But no, if you want me to help you move, I've got plenty of reasons to politely decline already! :)


Gregg Garthright said...

Of course, you could have called me, and I could have taken care of the snow in a few minutes with my snow blower.

Oh we'll, strong back, weak mind........

WCG said...

Yeah, Gregg. I suppose I should have called you this morning, to come over and dress me. That was harder than shoveling snow, I think. Oh, my back!

Maybe it's time I found a young wife with a very low sense of self-esteem?