Thank you for the much-needed sympathy yesterday. This is going to be another post about my back, and is mainly for my benefit, because I want a record for comparison in case this happens again - so if you don't want to hear more whining, look away now and have a nice day.
The last 24 hours have been excruciating. As I lay awake last night, I realised that this is the fourth incident in about three years.
In May 2007, I took Niece #1 to Jersey for a car rally. At the time, I was driving a two-seater classic sports car. She had just turned 3, and her car seat was in the passenger seat of my low-slung car. All went well and we had a marvellous time, but when we were on our way home, we stopped off somewhere and as I lifted her back into her car seat - an activity which involved a certain amount of bending and twisting because of the type of car - I felt something pop in my back. It was sore for a while after that, but I don't remember any major trauma.
In June 2008, my back went while we were on our honeymoon. There was no popping this time, but after I had been tossed about by some big waves while snorkelling, I got out of the water to find that my back was sore. It was certainly very uncomfortable, and I can remember wondering whether I was actually going to be able to walk to the restaurant we had booked for that evening, but I was never completely incapacitated. It was when we got back to England that I found the osteopath, and she told me that I had pulled a ligament and sorted me out pretty quickly.
At the end of May last year, we celebrated our wedding anniversary with a weekend at the hotel where we had our wedding reception. On the Saturday, we lounged about all day in the sun, and when I got up I must have overstretched the ligament or something. The next day my back was very sore and stiff, and according to my diary from last year, the day after that I was unable to walk when I got up. This time, the osteopath described it as a ligament sprain, and again, she sorted me out and I was over the worst of it by the end of the week.
Since then, I've had regular visits to the osteopath to keep an eye on it and deal with any problems before they got too bad. You may wonder why I never saw my GP - it's basically because the NHS has two answers to back pain: "Take two aspirin and wait for it to go away" and "Here's a big knife - I'm going to chop you up." I suspected that I would get the former response. The osteopath, on the other hand, did something that worked.
And so we come to this time. Yesterday I felt the popping in my back when I stretched in the morning. An hour later, when I got out of bed, my left leg was very weak and it took a couple of minutes before I was able to hobble a few steps on it. I knew from last time that the morning is worst and that it eases off in the course of the day, and after a couple of hours of really not knowing where to put myself for the pain, it reduced to a steady 7 or 8 on the pain scale and my movement became a little freer. Every time I sat down for more than 15 minutes, though, it seized up again.
I was dreading the night, knowing that the two things that made last time really hard were the difficulty with turning over in bed and the issue with getting up in the morning.
Sure enough, every time I wanted to turn over last night, I woke up. Each time, it took me a couple of minutes to readjust my position, and I felt it getting harder as the night went on. At 6:00, I gave up on trying to sleep and experimentally pushed myself into a sitting position, just to check that I could. I could, but it took a while and was very painful, and I thought how lucky I am that I don't have these mobility problems all the time. Lying helplessly on your back, feeling uncomfortable but knowing that you're not going to be able to shift your position at all without shooting pains going all the way up your back is not much fun.
Before he left for work at 7:00, DH brought me an ice pack, and I iced my back for ten minutes before I got up. I manoeuvred myself into a standing position, and then realised that my left leg wasn't going to take my weight at all. I had slept in the spare room, where we have a cot for Niece #3's visits, and I leant on the side of the cot flexing my leg muscles and trying to keep myself upright. Standing up straight again sent shooting pains down my back. I managed to grab hold of the door handle, then the radiator the other side of the door, and dragged my leg behind me as I pulled myself out into the hall.
The two paces from the spare room door to the bathroom door then proved too much for me, as there was nothing to hold onto for leverage, and I eventually crawled on all fours to the bathroom, where I managed to pull myself almost upright and drag myself along the length of the bath to the loo.
I then dragged myself back to the bedroom and slowly pulled on some clothes. I didn't even attempt to put socks on - my trousers were difficult enough.
The strength gradually began to return to my left leg, and although it was stiff and painful, I managed to get downstairs, where I paced up and down for about an hour to loosen everything up.
I decided perhaps it was time the NHS had a look at my back, so I rang the surgery and for the first time ever, I actually managed to get a same day appointment with the GP without any argument! Perhaps it was the pathetic tone in my voice when the receptionist asked, "Is it urgent?" and I said, "Well, I'm having trouble walking."
I've now been sitting still for about 15 minutes, which is a definite improvement on yesterday morning, and am going to have a go at climbing Mount Bathtub so I can have a shower before I see the doctor and then the osteo.
I can't tell from reading last year's diary whether this episode is the same as last year's or worse, which is why I want to get all the sorry details down this time, so I remember. I certainly remember being in excruciating pain then, and I'm really hoping this time isn't worse, because that might indicate some sort of deterioration and even that the next time might be worse still, and that would be unimaginable.