Accepting Setbacks

About a month ago, I was on fire, writing wise. Writing first drafts of two very different books, both of which I was enjoying immensely. Then one morning, I was vigorously cleaning our bathtub. The damned thing has been stained since we bought the house. I just bought a new cleaner that seemed to be working through the grime. I stood up, felt a twinge in my lower back. No big deal, I tend to feel back twinges, oh, at least a few times a month. I have sciatica, and I've learned to work around it.

I went on my business, then about an hour later, I stood up from another glamorous cleaning task (toilets, if you must know) and it was as if my entire lower back seized up. Taking a single step had me howling in pain. Okay, I'd thought. Get the heating pad. Lay down. It'll get better.

I've had episodes like every few years since I was a teenager. I knew the score. So, I put up my feet, watched an episode of Hard Knocks and hoped the heat on my back would help. My husband suggested that I get up, walk around. See if that helped.

Only, the act of getting from laying down to standing up? I couldn't do it. My back spasmed if I moved too much to either side. I texted my husband in a panic. "I'm a turtle on its back, I can't get up". My husband rushed home from work. Once he was home, I felt a little better. He helped me take some meds, and I walked around a bit. The sweet man even finished up the cleaning. I'd decided I didn't want to bother with the doctors and instead use up some pain meds from an oral surgery I'd had earlier this year.

Ha, nope! An hour after that decision, he helped me up to go to the bathroom and my back screamed in pain, so much so that it fried my brain. I couldn't think, my teeth chattered, I could barely move. Luckily, there's an ER about five minutes from our house. Of course, the doctor said, it's your sciatic nerve going a bit mental. That's why it hurt not only to move, but to walk, as well. The pain shoots up and down the leg, to my lower back. He gave me the drugs, blessed drugs, and I very carefully walked back to the car.

And a week went by, somehow. The drugs made me feel better. They also made me so lethargic all I could do was lay in bed and watch episodes of The Great British Bakeoff. As I weaned myself off the drugs, I would try for five hundred words a day. Then a thousand. Unfortunately, sitting for extended periods hurts my back, so I had to become creative.

The longer I was away from writing, the more I began to feel like a failure. This is the second time this year a medical issue left me off my feet for an extended period of time. I've learned to be kind to myself. The writing will wait. I've also learned that the bathtub can stay stained. It's not worth a trip to the hospital!

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