So the daily prompt for today is: Missstep. With that, and the fact that my back is being particularly grumpy today, it brings to mind two things that happened to me when I was young and stupid. First off, I inherited my bad back from my dad (thanks, Dad). But the early onset of my Degenerative Disc Disease was (probably, in my non-doctor opinion) brought on by these two things that happened to me when I was younger.
The first happened when I was about fifteen or sixteen and (of course) still living with my parents. We lived on a Navy base in California and — since this was before the age of the Internet and smart phones — we had a lot of free time on our hands. My parents were poorer than poor as were the parents of most of our friends (think about that when you think about how much we pay our military families) this means we had a lot of time and no money to do anything. So, we entertained ourselves by riding around on the shuttle bus (a white van) and chatting with the sailors. No, we were trying to pick them up, we just liked talking. As long as we didn’t cause trouble, the drivers let us ride for hours. Hey, it was more entertaining than binge-watching television. This was also pre-cable.
Anyway, one day I was chatting with some squiddly-diddlies behind me and I was turned around on the bench seat to face them. Keep in mind that there were few seat belt laws back then, and since this was technically a “bus” or “shuttle” the ones in place didn’t really apply. So no, I wasn’t wearing a seat belt. I turned my happy ass around on the bench seat in the first row because I wanted to talk to the sailors behind me, and damn the consequences. I was a teenager. We don’t think about these thing. Anyway, there I was chatting away with the sailors in the second row. We were, if I remember correctly having a heated discussion about who had an “accent”. They claimed that since they spoke the “Queen’s English” they were speaking proper English and I, therefore had an accent. I countered that since they were in America I was speaking the language of my land and therefore they had the accent. However, were I to travel to England, I would then have an American accent.
It was about that time the bus driver slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting something in the road (a deer or a dog, I can’t remember what) and I went flying out of my seat and into the console between the driver’s seat and the passenger seat. Which wouldn’t have been so bad, except that’s where they kept the fire extinguisher. It was laying horizontally on the floor. And, of course, that is the exact point I went flying to… right on top of the fire extinguisher. Oh, that hurt! That hurt so bad! Knocked the air right out of me. Bruised me up good too. I had trouble walking for weeks. But back then, if I wasn’t bleeding and everything moved, I was fine. I wasn’t bleeding. Everything moved. I was fine. I blame my mom for that mindset. She always asked those two questions whenever I hurt myself as a kid. “Are you bleeding” and “Does everything move?” if the answers were “Yes” then she asserted that I was “fine.” Of course, I probably wasn’t “fine”, but I never really felt too bad until six or seven years later. I put most of my back problems in the interim down to having four kids in four years — between the ages of 18 and 21. That probably didn’t help, but I wouldn’t change that for all the pain relief in the world. I love my kids.
Anyway, the second incident happened after the kids were born and the last one was about four years old. I went out with some friends one night when I was about 24-25. I’m not sure which — I’m really bad with time and age. But we where just hanging out, drinking. It was a troubling time in my life that I don’t talk about often. I don’t drink anymore, so there’s that. ^_^ Anyway, this one night, I was leaning up against a wall talking to a friend of mine when another friend who had to be drunk, because I can’t think of any other reason why she’d do this, thought it would be the funniest thing in the world to kick my feet out from under me. She said something about “Props are dangerous” and Bam! just like that, kicked my feet away from the wall. I hit the concrete floor hard and, again it knocked the breath right out of me. I landed on my tailbone and literally could not move for a good three minutes. Everyone around me thought it was hysterical until they realized that I was actually hurt. It took me months before I could walk well again. Of course, I still had the mentality of “not bleeding, everything moves, I must be fine.” So, yeah, I didn’t go to a doctor for that either. I just took tons of Ibuprofen. This is before I realized that Ibuprofen does weird things to me.
I was a dumbass.
About a year after that second incident, I started getting shooting pains down my legs. My hips started hurting, and I began to have all kinds of problems lifting things. Now, I’m not a doctor, and I don’t play one on TV, but I can put two and two together and get five. I’m pretty sure these incidents and my bad back (along with genetics) are connected. I finally went to the doctors when I got to the point where I needed a cane to walk. That’s when they diagnosed me with DDD. Over the years, I’ve learned to live with it, and it’s been mostly trial and error. There have been times when I’ve been regulated to the bed and/or couch because my back has said, “Nope, you’re not moving today.” There was the one time I got out of bed and hit the floor because it simply refused to hold me up at all. I spent I dunno how many hours on the floor in my nightgown wondering what to do before I finally called 911 because my legs were going numb. The EMT’s helped me to the couch and I spend the next three days there. That’s when I finally admitted that I can’t work two jobs that require standing all day. The pain got better over time (as usually happens with DDD) but lately… it’s been getting worse again. There are days when I cannot walk without my walking stick. That truly sucks. On the bright side, I haven’t been bedridden (with back pain) for a long time. So there’s that.
So anyway, not exactly ‘missteps’ but that’s what the prompt brought to mind. ^_^
Also, I want to apologize to anyone who’s reading this while I’m editing it. It wouldn’t preview for me, so I had to publish it before I was ready. Sorry!