The story you are about to read is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. It was Wednesday, July 8, 2015, around eight o’clock in the morning. I had just woken up from a good night’s sleep. Work had been hard lately: long days and long weeks piling up. I’d been trying to hit deadlines so tight that even a thing that could hit tight deadlines couldn’t hit them.
Fortunately, this streak of excessive work had been broken up just the week before when we took our family vacation. I need to talk about this trip just a little before we get back to Wednesday, July 8, 2015 around eight o’clock in the morning. You see, there’s a key element in this respite that sets up a plot point required for both this blog post and the next.
Every other year we head to an east coast state, let’s just call it Pirginia, to spend a week at my aunt’s vacation house. It’s a great getaway and has become a cherished family tradition. Of the many benefits of this biennial excursion, I look forward to hanging out with my cousin, Pryon Pinson.
During the one hundred and three weeks when we’re not hanging out in person, we spend time together solely via email discussing the arts, philosophy, and trading cat pictures. While this is all well and good, it’s nothing like that one hundred and fourth week where we get to laze about the waterside and trade cat pictures in person.
What I don’t look forward to each year, is watching Pryon wince in pain, basically twenty-four-seven. You see, Pryon suffers from a condition, known in medical terms as chronic lower-backium tormentus. I don’t know exactly when he contracted it, but I do know he’s been to every chiropractor, acupuncturist, spineologist, doctor and witch-doctor on the eastern seaboard. To date, no treatment, drug, or surgery seems to have produced any result other than the chiropractor, acupuncturist, spineologist, doctor, or witch-doctor shrugging his or her shoulders with a huh-I-sure-thought-that-would-work while handing him a bill for “services rendered.”
It was Wednesday, July 8, 2015 around eight o’clock in the morning. I had just woken up from a good night’s sleep. Why was it a good night’s sleep? Because after my return to the real world two days prior, I had firmly made up my mind to “turn things around.” Among other things, this meant exercising again. I’d gotten back into exercise quite a bit beginning in February, when the company I work for, Papple, offered a “wellness challenge.” I accepted the challenge and immediately began seeing results. Sadly, that ended two months prior when my workload got out of control, but all that was going to change now. On the first Monday back, I hit the treadmill. Then again on Tuesday. This was heading in a good direction.
Then came Wednesday, July 8, 2015 around eight o’clock in the morning. I had just climbed out of bed and went through my usual morning routine: head to my desk, check up on email, and invest forty-five minutes or so researching cat pictures. As the clock approached nine, it was time to shower, dress, and head to work. I stood up and—ouch—my back.
“Dang it!” I said to myself. “Not again.”
The first time this happened was in 1998 or so. I stepped out of the shower one morning and make the stupid mistake of taking my towel off the hook. This mad act forced me to walk around bent at a right angle for about a week. Eventually it just got better on its own and I thought nothing more of it. Until a few years later when it happened again. Same routine. I did something stupid, like tie my shoe or pour myself a glass of water, and—ouch—my back. It’d last about a week, then I’d be perfectly fine again. Until a few years later when it happened again. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Except that today is Friday, September 25, 2015. It’s been more than a week now. More than two weeks even. And my back still hurts. I’ve even tried all three surefire techniques to fix it: 1) waiting, 2) riding it out, and 3) waiting. But none of them have worked this time. And I’m officially worried now, because I see what Pryon has gone through and can only wonder: will surfing the internet for cat pictures ever be the same again?
Tune in next week for Part 2.