I have been a ‘Mumsnetter‘ for many years. There. I have said it aloud. I don’t normally advertise it by shouting from the rooftops but there are probably certain behaviours that might give it away. You will find me charging across the busy supermarket to retrieve the BOGOF Fruitshoots that R has put in the trolley, I was an avid breastfeeder and yes I would get my norks out in public to feed my baby (and, shock horror! toddler), and no I wouldn’t cover myself in a huge shroud to hide it, I am proud of being a woman and a supporter of girls being girls not sexualised mini-adults. Now I suspect that those traits along with my other ‘mumsnet outing’ traits were always there and that is why I am a mumsnetter, although to some extent I probably have a little more confidence to voice some of my longstanding views than before. Some people might argue those traits exists simply because Mumsnet has influenced me. Of course there are some things I do which are directly as a result of my membership of the Clan of Witches as my husband calls it (or ‘The Oracle’ when he is being nice) such as being so bold as to say ‘did you really mean to be so rude?’ to someone who has upset me, or ‘accidentally’ leaving my shopping list in the trolley at the end of my shopping, with items such as Naice Ham, Pombears and Grapes on it.
But, regardless of how much influence and when, there are some times when credit has to be given completely and utterly to the women (ok so there are some male wannabes but it is MUMsnet and not PARENTsnet) of this outspoken and sometimes controversial network. And this is one of those times. And there is one particular Mumsnetter and well-loved blogger who has my thanks today and possibly for a long time to come – DILLYTANTE.
She casually asked me today if I was the person who had an accident involving a shower screen. And yes, that was me. I kid you not – a couple of years ago I was kneeling under the bathroom shower screen as the bath was filling with bubbles for the children. My daughter had unknowingly pushed it across so she could lean over to swirl the bubbles. My son was standing to the right of me, I was undressing him. I stood and lifted my head, full force up into the shower screen, the force so hard it pulled it out of its brackets, the corner of it cutting into my scalp. It toppled forwards, edge hitting the sink in front which broke into several large pieces, one of which flew and hit me in the face, breaking my nose and cutting above my eyebrow. I did not feel the warmth of the blood trickling down my face or the throbbing of my now slightly more crooked nose. I was terrified that my son or daughter was hurt. Bella was screaming (because she could see the blood) and I was screaming because my son lay on the floor. Luckily, that was because I had pushed him and he was completely unharmed. Bella had a small cut on her little toe and apart from being shaken was otherwise unharmed. I have no idea how this very odd and scary turn of events did not hurt my children, but I know as I got them out of the bathroom to tend to my bloody face that it was not short of a miracle that it had missed Roo by a whisper as he was so close to me. I dread to think what it would have done to him. And so I was thankful for my broken nose.
Two years and one month on, and DillyTante has reminded me of something. Yes, I said, that was me. Was that the cause of your back problems? No, I said, not related to my back. And then I remembered. I thought about that event, and I remembered. As I remembered part of the event that had slipped from my memory, the jigsaw pieces fit into place. As the shower screen slid down me after hitting the sink, I was still bent over, the sharp corner of it landed on the base of my spine, leaving a small cut and an enormous painful bruise. I was so caught up with the overwhelming relief that my children were ok that I did not think about it again. Nor did I remember mentioning it to the doctor at A&E when I had my wounds seen to, worried about my broken nose, although R was certain I did, and as with most other discussions with professionals, not taking seriously.
And nor did I think about it again 8 days later and 2 days before I was due in hospital to have my broken nose straightened, when I picked my 10 month old son up from my bed and the first wave of searing agonising pain shot through my back and legs. This was the start of two years of regular bouts of debilitating back pain. I did not link this completely devastating pain to the healing bruise and cut on my back, as I dragged myself through the corridors of the hospital on the day of my nose operation, stooped in pain and high as a kite on valium and codeine that had been prescribed over the ‘phone by emergency doctor (when I told him I was having to try and wee in a potty as I could not get to the toilet). The hospital gave me a reclining chair to sit on and gave me my 4 hourly doses of this medication to help me cope with the pain while I waited for hours in agony from my back muscle spasm, so that I could actually make it until my operation. I had my nose straightened and home for several more days in bed, battered, bruised and in pain. I did not put those two events together as I did not know then what a slipped disc really was, or that I had one and did not link the pain I was now experiencing with the isolated pain of a bruise.
And this bruising and cut on my back was never thought of again. Until DillyTante made the connection with her clearly amazing memory. How could have I forgotten it? I ran downstairs to gush this revelation to my husband. ‘ok’ he said ‘does it really change anything?’ Helllooo! Not only do I now remember what has triggered it, but it has always been assumed that this back condition of mine is degenerative, as there has been no known injury that could have triggered this. Except. Now there is a very likely injury. Central annular tears (where the outer disc crust has torn dead centre rather than to one or other side) are not very common, unless by trauma force injury, so it is entirely probable that this was caused by the shower screen hitting my lower spine with force.
That means DillyTante that this might not be degenerative. And it changes a lot! And, once again it re-enforces the power of people who come together across the miles through forums and blogs. A blogger and Mumsnetter can remember something I have long forgotten, that is pretty incredible, and may well change the fate of my future.