For the last three weeks or so, I've been in pain. My back has, it seems, always been fragile, but I've worked very hard to keep it in check - lots and lots of yoga and core work to keep things just right.
Turns out, I was living much closer to 'not right' than I'd ever imagined. After the seemingly innocent task of bending over to wash my dog, I straightened and knew there was a problem. I thought it was the same problem I had crop up from time to time (especially when I crouch to wash my dog) - a bit of lower back pain that goes away relatively quickly with a little rest, some extra core work, maybe a couple of Advil. But this was not the same problem. This was sciatica.
I've never had sciatica before, though I knew it to be a painful condition. And it is. It suuuuuuucks. It's not just lower back pain; now my ass has started getting involved. Holy criminey, that shit is painful. It feels like I am sitting on a stretched bruise, and the feeling of pain has been going down my legs and up my back and into my hips the more I dealt with this situation. I let a whole week of this shit go by, thinking that at any moment my back would start to feel fine again.
Yeah, that didn't happen.
So, I went to my doc, got some pain meds and a recommendation for a Physical Therapist. I'm now back from my second PT visit, and I tell you what - I feel like I have barely improved, that I don't even know how to move my own body, and I'm scared that temporary injury is about to become permanent pain. Like, really scared. I know that the PT gets this a lot because after every session she sends an encouraging email. Like, it's probably company policy to send encouragement after every session because the progress is so incremental. But I kinda need those stupid emails, because I'm still in pain, and still very frustrated.
And it's only been 3.5 weeks.
I can't imagine what chronic, years-long pain does to a person. And, to the best of my ability, I don't intent to find out. Once again, though, life is showing me the other side of things. Like, maybe the people who piss me off for driving so slowly are doing so because pain cuts down on their reaction times, and they still have to get to work. Or maybe dishes don't get done because the act of bending to put a damned dish away sets off days worth of pain. Or maybe someone seems flaky or selfish for not showing up, when all they're really doing is trying to avoid current and future pain.
Pain is teaching me deep lessons. I hope I don't need to keep learning these lessons for long.