Unexpected…Rest?

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!” Psalm 3:37

“Be still,” that has a marked connotation at this moment. Last week I was talking about how I had been running to do the next right thing for so long that I didn’t notice I was completely run ragged. I needed my Sabbath. Evidently, I was still not listening to Heavenly Dad’s direction to pause and rest. This week He allowed the rug to be pulled out from underneath me, hard and fast.

Monday through Wednesday was normal, going to work, running to the store, coming home to make supper, painting the upstairs ceiling, laundry, cleaning, you know, juggling life. Eric worked long hours so we were awake later than we wanted, but we needed downtime, right?

Thursday started with a late wake up due to another late night. If I had a real rooster he would have been ducking and digging bits of debris from his beak as I was fighting to stay in bed. Alas, morning had come. On to the “next right thing,” I muttered in my head.

I made it through half of my scheduled morning routine when I lifted my leg weird, felt a pop, then burning sensation. I found myself facedown, staring at the floor. What the heck!? I tried getting up on all fours but the pain was shooting down my legs. I army crawled to the middle of the room and tried twisting in various directions to pop whatever had come out, back into place. I managed to crack enough to get up on all fours but walking was out of the question.

To make a long story short, I did get myself to the doctor and after xrays they found I have two vertebrae that are almost on top of each other. That could mean a slipped disc but in order to know that for certain I would need a MRI. I appreciate Doc Foster as she said I could wait 5 days to see if it gets better. She gave me two kick butt meds, three exercises, and sent me on my way to the pharmacy in a wheelchair. They were even kind enough to wheel me out to my car, as, earlier, I had taken resting breaks just walking into the building.

When I got home things weren’t any easier. Sitting hurt. Laying down both on my stomach and back hurt. “Uncle!!!” I was screaming in my head as comfort was at a loss.

Back on all fours, I made my way to the kitchen to take my medication. Between the pain killer and the muscle relaxer, sleep finally found me sprawled on the dinning room/workout room floor. There I stayed and slept for two days.

Saturday morning was excruciating but I needed to find out if ANYTHING in my back was better. I began doing some of the exercises she had prescribed, very slowly and with great caution. Though painful and few, I accomplished some of the stretches and had a new hope that I was better than the day before. I even sat on the sofa for a couple of hours in the evening before returning to the floor for a night’s rest.

Sunday morning began with debilitating pain and wonder if I would ever feel better and pain free again. Stretching achieved a tolerable pain level and I could walk around the house. Though slow and very off balance, I was on two legs and mostly in an upright position! Whoot, whoot! Progress!

Sunday afternoon was spent on and off the couch. I was even feeling well enough to wash and freeze the blueberries I was to work on Wednesday night (better late than never). By evening I was feeling semi-better, sat on the couch, surrounded by crafting necessities and began a scrapbook due in April. Yay!

Monday was another rough start but took less time to shake the kinks out than Sunday. I accomplished a full day at work and even made supper! I had confidence and hope that healing was on the horizon.

This morning I lay in the dark reflecting on my five day journey. Though my recovery is far from over, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. In the dark, with the whirl of the fan, I ponder. In five days I have come farther and faster than any previous back outage. Why???

This time I went to the doctor/chiropractor instead of just a chiropractor. I was willing to take muscle relaxers and pain medication that knocked me into the “be still” mode. I leaned into or accepted the pain.

I don’t think I have missed a day of work-for illness-since Archie went home. I missed two days of work. I allowed myself (not that I had much choice) the necessary time to rest and heal. I’ve always been concerned with falling behind and being a burden. I have feared people being angry or disappointed (“fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices”). I didn’t force my body to go beyond what it was ready to do.

For the first time (EVER) the doctor said,” you are in pretty good shape so you should recover quickly.” I’ve dealt with back and hip issues since Taylor was in third grade and “recover quickly” has never come up in conversation. What made the difference? This morning, through the quiet darkness, my 10 month journey revealed itself.

I have done nightly exercises or stretches nearly my entire adult life, to stay limber, keep my spine and hips in place, and feel somewhat ok. As for eating, anyone who knows me recognizes that when meat is passed around the table, it doesn’t usually pause in front of my plate.

Ten months ago I recognized a noticeable loss of muscle and was growing concerned. An uncharted (for me) path began in fall with a higher protein diet.

In June, Eric invited me to join him in his workout to build muscle. With my back issues I have found it difficult to do anyone’s set routine as all have been jarring and caused me to make too many adjustments to justify their program. Eric’s was low impact but challenging and I could feel the difference immediately. “Winner, winner, chicken dinner!”

For over a month and a half I’ve been challenged to pushed myself to do “just one more.” I’ve sacrificed time, endured sore muscles (a good pain) and embraced a new routine. I never realized what I was actually doing was setting a firm foundation for recovery.

I think something in this story would “preach.” Do you see it?

We all have area we shove onto the back-burner and justify by saying we’ll get to it later. In all honesty, in our heart of hearts, we have no intention of ever getting back to it.

When life seems be going well or “as planned,” that might be the perfect time for me to take inventory. When the rest of the oven is clean and put away, the pots on those hard to reach, unimportant back burners, can and should become a focal point. For me it was a 30+ year low protein life that has come round to bite me in the heiny more than once with weak muscles and slow recovery. Maybe if I would have chosen to pull that pot to the front long ago this last adventure could have been avoided altogether. But, it’s me, and retraining takes time. As I just learned, it is well worth the effort as what we sow today will be reaped in abundance later(good or bad so the sooner I reach for the back pan the better!).

The same rings true for relationships we intend to mend, “someday” (because that requires the sacrifice of time and maybe some groveling). Is it a mission trip that has been on my conscience? Perhaps the financial class that I promised myself I’m going to take at the church, but, I’m doing OK right now…?

Sigh…Speaking of pans, that reminds me of the Thanksgiving we were talking about in our story about Mr. Michigan.

This was Taylor and Kristian’s first Thanksgiving together. They had multiple families with which to celebrate, but made time for our once a year family reunion. The kids were going to be running late, so I was grateful that Mr. Michigan was going to walk in with me so I wouldn’t feel so alone. We put down our food, found a table, and struck up conversation with family. In what seemed like just a few moments the kids arrive!

It was a fun meal with laughter and kidding as the kids and Eric got to know each other. After each meal the family gets together for a picture. There’s usually one guest and they are kind enough to take the shot. Care to guess who was the only guest for the year 2018? Yep! Mr. Michigan.

He took the picture, we gathered our food, and left. Taylor and Kristian were gathering their food and we had expected them to leave for their second out of the three family get-togethers. I wish I could say, “and they lived happily ever after,” or even “the Thanksgiving of 2018: the end.” Unfortunately, the story didn’t end there.

Have you heard the saying “adulting can be hard.”? Try being the kid who lost their dad to cancer, their mom is dating, all the emotions that go with that, and being cornered with 1 million questions for her to talk about a guy she has only met twice in her life. Thankfully, her beloved handled the situation perfectly: “ you need to ask Tracy.“ I love that kid .

Well, at least we made it through the first holiday… But Christmas was around the corner and that is for another day.

Until next time: blessings!



One thought on “Unexpected…Rest?

  1. Oh Tracy, how frightening.
    Please don’t drive when taking those meds. My heart & prayers go out to you so much.

    Easy does it. Tell me your husband is aware how u are. Praying for your recovery🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻❤️😇

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