or: Bad Backs & Beautiful BoysI hope this business of throwing my back out isn't going to become a permanent recurring feature of my life. It fucking sucks! Yesterday morning I was sitting on the shower-stool, innocently trimming my toenails after my shower and before getting dressed for church, thinking again how I need to lose some weight because there wasn't really room for my gut while I rested my chest against my knees in order to reach my toes; then I tried to stand up, and all hell broke loose in my spinal column.
So there I am, bare-ass-naked on the bathroom floor, whimpering in agony, trying to figure out what to do: should I call for help? will this pass, like a spasm? can I get up off the floor? why didn't I get a pedicure on Friday when I was getting my fingernails done, instead of doing them myself? why does this have to happen to me? Calling for help was out of the question, as I would have to be in a lot more pain before I'd willingly invite Grandmother (or anybody, really) into a room where I was lying naked and damp on the floor; and besides, what could she do? She hasn't got the strength to lift me, and she comes all unstrung in a crisis. By the time I came to that decision, I'd also realized that this wasn't a spasm that would pass, this was either a bad pull or a pinched nerve (it's hard to differentiate between the two different kinds of pain while that pain is blinding you).
Anyway, I managed to get up onto my knees, and then into my pajama pants, and then onto my feet, and I came whimpering out into the hallway and told Grandmother that church was not an option, I'd hurt my back and was going to go lay down. I barely made it across the mire of my room into my bed, and then once there I realized that it was the worst place to be... I couldn't get comfortable on the bed, but more importantly I couldn't get in and out of the room without causing myself more pain, but I nevertheless needed pills and a shirt and more coffee (yes, even in screaming pain I had to have my requisite minimum of three cups); and of course Grandmother couldn't get across my room without tripping over the piles of laundry and books, and then there we'd both be, horizontal and useless.
So I got my heating-pad, my book (Memnoch the Devil, I'm still working my way through the Vampire Chronicles in order, and I just finished my favorite, The Tale of the Body Thief), and my glasses, and hobbled out to the living room, bent double and leaning against the walls and furniture on the way, every step an epic of pain.
Grandmother brought me a cup of coffee and a glass of water and a bottle of ibuprofen and a shirt and a blanket... thrilled to be useful but still making me feel terribly guilty, since she had to do a separate trip all the way across the length of the house for each thing, with her arthritis and her weight and her age, and two trips for the shirt since the first one she brought was a dressy turtleneck and too tight for comfortably laying around in.
But guilt is a useless emotion when you can't do anything about the situation, so I just made myself as comfortable as I could in Grandmother's adjust-o-matic recliner and picked up my book. Hey, I thought, at least it got me out of going to church. But like that time I induced vomiting with ipecac to get out of a test at school, I found the discomfort of the excuse worse than the discomfort of the thing I was trying to escape.
Reading was too hard, I was still sleepy (I'd only had six hours before Grandmother got me up for church), and until the pills kicked in the pain was a nagging fishwife in my consciousness, making sleep an impossibility; so I just gave up on my brain and turned on the television.
After about three hours of complete immobility, my ass started getting sore from sitting, and I had to pee, and I was a little hungry, so I figured I'd try getting up and making a circuit of the house. It wasn't too hard; I couldn't stand up straight, but I could sort of walk. I made it into the bathroom and then the kitchen with the help of Grandmother's cane, but I couldn't carry both my coffee cup and my peanut-butter sandwich while holding the cane, so I had the brilliant idea of comandeering Grandmother's walker as well (hers is the fancy sort that has a built-in seat wide enough to set a dinner-tray upon, and a little shopping basket that hangs in the front, not to mention brakes and ergonomic handles). I never realized how useful it might be to have a half-crippled old lady in the house... all these delightful mobility gizmos came in pretty damned handy!
After another couple of hours, I tried it again, and this time I could stand upright, as well as walk fairly painlessly... just not at the same time. By then, the pain had calmed down enough that I could tell exactly what the problem was: a pinched nerve in the lumbar area. Nothing anybody can do about it except wait for the inflammation to go down. So long as I kept the lumbar stretched out and didn't try to use any of the muscles in that region, I was okay.
Easier said than done, of course... pretty much every move I started to make involved the lumbar in one way or another, and so I had to relearn some very basic movements to avoid the area; like, if I wanted to move my leg into a different position, I'd have to push it up with my toes and pull it up by hand, I couldn't move the thigh by itself without involving the lumbar. Rolling over in bed was practically an engineering project, on a scale with building the Great Pyramids... tuck my arm here, wiggle my foot around there, shift my shoulder thusly, take a deep breath and turn my head so, and over I'd go. Eventually.
I think, in future, I should be more careful what I wish for. Just Thursday afternoon, I was wishing I had a little down-time; I was worn out from a hellish week, and I just wanted to lay down in front of the television and do absolutely nothing. But the Fates, legalistic bitches that they are, assumed that since I didn't specify a pinched nerve as an unacceptable vehicle for this lay-down, then it was a perfectly reasonable response on their part. I have my down-time, so what am I complaining about?
?The TV would have been a better companion if I hadn't already spent the whole day Saturday in front of it, laying around in different positions on the sofa for about fifteen solid hours. Another fifteen hours sounded like torture... but probably more because I couldn't get up than because I had already done so much TV the day before. It's impossible to enjoy immobility when you can't get up, or at least it's harder to enjoy than when you can get up but don't have to.
Before Mesdames Fate came through with the pinched nerve, I had already plotted out my weekend for maximum usefulness and relaxation: Saturday was the Day of Complete Rest, with new movies on DVD and VHS, and Sunday would be church and family duty followed by a bout of vacuuming (the rugs are a disgrace, I never did get to that when I'd intended a couple of weeks ago) and some solid desk-time working on my fiction (remember that project? I forget all about it, sometimes). Well, like they always say, if you want to give God a good laugh, just start making some plans.
?Links and reviews? Why I'd love to!
My movies on Saturday were: Gregg Araki's Doom Generation, which was upsetting and fascinating and disturbingly erotic, especially with the extraordinarily handsome Johnathon Schaech and always intriguing James Duval; All the Mornings of the World, a French period piece starring the horribly inescapable Gérard Depardieu and his unfathomably beautiful son Guillaume (there were some other people, and some really beautiful music, but who cares); Midnight, a forgotten and utterly forgettable travesty that sort of combined Sunset Boulevard with Elvira, Mistress of the Dark but starred the always amusing Lynn Redgrave and a particularly sexy (but also forgotten) boy as her gigolo; Connie & Carla, a very funny romp about two girls hiding from a drug dealer by posing as drag queens, sort of a recasting of Some Like it Hot with a little Victor/Victoria and Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion thrown in, but utterly charming and entertaining in the Nia Vardalos manner and featuring some really great musical numbers; and finally Mambo Italiano, which was sweet and had some beautiful people but wasn't corny or caricatured, and had a lot of emotion and reality without being grim or gritty or boring in any way... in fact, it made me cry.
On Sunday, it wasn't quite so structured, largely because I was too hurt to bother thinking about movies to watch, so I sort of let the TV drone on and on without my paying attention to it. However, I did notice an amazing number of beautiful boys, so many that it was its own theme...
...in particular, one so beautiful that he makes me dizzy (Tom Welling on Smallville, which now repeats endlessly on ABC Family, and for whose perfect bones and gorgeous skin and glittering blue eyes and unspeakable physique I would gladly sell my mother... but then, I'd probably sell my mother for a lot less)...
...one so beautiful he made me sad (Kevin Zegers, whom I first saw on The X-Files when he was ten and so pretty it made me catch my breath, and who is currently in rotation on ABC Family's "13 Nights of Halloween" starring in The Hollow... a perfectly terrible film, but he's mesmerising, the way he blinks slowly and smiles slowly, and even Eileen Brennan had to address him as "Beautiful Boy" in her fabulous little cameo)...
...and one so beautiful he makes me want to hug him and squeeze him and dress him and feed him and take him for little walks, but so young he makes me a trifle uncomfortable (Ricky Ullman of Disney Channel's Phil of the Future... okay, I find now that he's actually eighteen, but his character's only fourteen or fifteen, and he looks about twelve. Still, God he's pretty!)
(This all feeds into my theory that Disney will one day take over the world with their genetically engineered Perfect People... remember, ABC is owned by Disney. They're going to brainwash us with beautiful boys and make us do their nefarious bidding, like someday electing Lizzie Maguire as President)
The other theme, besides beautiful boys, was me crying. At one point in the afternoon I came across The Color Purple on some station, and I caught all the good crying bits... and at the end I cried so hard I made my back spasm again. I always weep at the end of The Color Purple, but I was just wracked with sobs. It was wildly cathartic.
And I'd cried at Mambo Italiano the night before. And I sort of cried a little looking at Kevin Zegers in that silly dreadful movie. And I watched the second half of The Lost Prince on Masterpiece Theatre, and I wept a bit over that as well. Then this morning I was watching another of my new tapes, Born to be Wild; the Leading Men of American Ballet Theatre, which I talked about here when I saw it on TV a year or so ago... watching these four amazing and talented and wildly beautiful men dancing, it simply filled me with wonder and envy and joy and despair. Everybody cries at movies, but I'm the only person I know who cries at the ballet.
But then, I also laughed a lot, pretty much every little joke got at least a guffaw out of me, even the commercials and the things that weren't supposed to be funny. Basically, all my emotions were running amok. Something about the pinched nerve seems to have turned off an emotional filter somewhere, and I have simply been feeling a great deal.
?Well, this little exercise has taken me all day long to do, I had to keep taking lengthy breaks to rest, like three or four hours at a time (I watched another episode of Smallville, as well as watching The Hollow again, "Excuse me, beautiful boy, excuse me," cable is nothing but repeats)... it's a wonder there's any narrative consistency at all. It's after midnight, and I started this just before noon. And now I am going to go to bed. My back is feeling better, I think I'll be able to make it to work tomorrow... not that I really have to, but I'm so fucking bored I could scream, so I might as well be there. I hate being bored at home, it ruins home for me.
So anyway, thanks for bearing with me. Talk to you again soon!