Woe is Me / Fat Arses and Cake

I’ll admit it: I’m fed up. It’s been three weeks exactly since my last run – you know, the one that put me firmly out of action for the Rome Marathon 12 days later, and also catalysed the depressing spiral of back-related issues which, over the course of the past 21 days, have included – but not been limited to – the following: General/dull lower back pain/stiffness; acute lower back pain; acute pain in right buttock (particularly uncomfortable when sitting down); shooting pain in right shin (particularly uncomfortable when walking); numbness in lower right leg (problematic when attempting to walk due to tripping over of self); tingling in toes of right foot, inability to walk without being in excruciating pain (especially when involving stairs).

For the past five months I’ve been an exercising powerhouse. Now, all of a sudden, it’s a struggle just to walk around the block (and when I say walk I mean hobble at a woeful pace – put it this way, in a sports day full of geriatrics right now I’m pretty sure I’d come last). The worst thing is not knowing what the problem is – well, I have a fairly good idea it’s something disc-related, but have to wait another fortnight for an NHS physio appointment to establish the root cause of the injury, and thus begin the arduous process of trying to fix it. In the meantime I’m floating on a sea of unease, unsure whether to rest, to exercise, to use heat, to use ice, to take this painkiller or that one – or just to drink copious amounts of wine (always the preferable option). And, as is always the case in these situations, everyone’s an expert, so I’ve been inundated with (mostly very helpful) suggestions about what I should and shouldn’t be doing – my concern being that surely every back injury is different, to some extent, so what works for one person might not work for another (in trying someone’s suggested exercises, therefore, might I not be doing myself more harm than good?).

Since my lowest ebb last Friday I have at least managed to keep away from the Tramadol – a last resort in pain relief (though really floaty light) – although the diazepam’s been making reappearances from time to time when the pain wakes me in the night (as it did last night). In my more positive moments I think it’s getting better and chide myself for being a big baby, but in the lower ones when I’m writhing on the floor with pain or unable to climb the stairs without feeling I might pass out I just want to give in and cry. I’ve been signed off work but my conscience won’t allow me not to work from home, so to add to the frustration there have been repeated attempts to access emails remotely and locate files from the server that I’m sure I’ve sent myself in the event of this eventuality but which seem to have deleted themselves spontaneously upon sending.

Put simply, having a bad back sucks. This experience has been exhausting and depressing in the extreme, and has made me feel enormously sympathetic towards all who suffer chronic back pain every day of their lives. I can at least be fairly confident that with time and patience (the latter sadly not being one of my strong points) I will heal, and that one day (soon? Please God, let it be soon) I’ll be back in the gym and training for my next big challenge, whatever that may be – but not everyone has that luxury. So I will close on a positive note: Normal service will resume shortly. In the meantime I’ll be sitting on my increasingly fat arse eating cake.


What I may look like soon if I can’t start exercising…

The Wait

This wasn’t the first time Carrie had been late, but today Max was worried. He’d been waiting for nearly twenty minutes and every further second that passed felt like the ticking of a bomb. His shirt was drenched in sweat and he knew his hands would be trembling were they not stuffed deep into his pockets.

Why was he so worried? He had no reason to be. She’d seemed fine when she left the house yesterday-all smiles in fact. But she’d left her phone on the kitchen work top so he couldn’t call her now to check she was alright. Not that she’d have her phone with her now anyway, he thought.

Don’t panic, he told himself as he checked his watch for the hundredth time. She’ll be here. She’ll be safe. An unwanted image popped into his head of a mangled car wreck with a pale, slender arm extended through a broken window. He shook his head as if the physical motion of the gesture would dislodge the negative thought. It didn’t.

He wasn’t sure he’d ever felt such strength of passion towards her as he did in these interminable moments of not knowing she was safe. For five years now they’d been almost inseparable, and all of a sudden as he stood here waiting for her and thoughts of losing her sprang unbidden and unwelcome into his mind he felt he simply couldn’t live without her.

As his fretting reached a crescendo music began seeping through the window of his consciousness. A flurry of movement brought him back to himself and his immediate environment. The heavy wooden door creaked open behind him and his heart leapt into his mouth as realisation dawned. She was here, at last. And in a matter of only a few minutes more, she would be his wife.