Lazy Days Help Back Pain Recovery.

The HallowEden Little Monster’s Ball was amazing. But my back is stiff and sore today. I have some nerve pain and am slightly stooped. R has been out helping a friend decorate their house and is then off to work. So we have watched many films, ending with the final film now on – the wonderful Arietty – to finish off our Lazy Thursday.

The pain is worth it. I stopped the nerve blocking pain for a couple of days to get rid of the foggy head. Then, yesterday afternoon after finishing work, I picked up my two Witch’s Kittens, and a Witch’s Cat, straightened my Very Own Cat Ears and so began our Halloween Road Trip.

In the howling wind and rain we drove into Deepest Darkest Cornwall eating spooky treats while the wipers swished and swashed the torrential rain away. As we drove slowly into the flooded roads of the Cornish Valley we vaguely considered turning back. But, no, it was meant to be like this surely, on Halloween?

30 minutes away from our final destination and the Biggest Witch’s Kitten started the ‘are we there yet?’ chant. And finally we arrived at The HallowEden Little Monster’s Ball. The Eden Project is an amazing sight from the hill any day of the week and our excitement rose seeing it in front of us as we walked the steep descent in the downpour toward the huge domes, following many other little witches, ghosts, cats and ghouls who had come out to wander the bios and spook people.

The youngest Witch’s Kitten had a catnap in the car and woke up grumpy, refused to walk. I left the stroller at home as it usually means pushing that and chasing the super fast kitkit. But not in the rain. He insisted on being carried for a reasonable amount of our trip, although he certainly had a whole lot of running done too.

The place was fantastic, with hanging lanterns and candles, amazing Steam Punk vampires, wizards and witches walking around, owls to stroke, bats to look at. We took a walk through the spooky pitch black rainforest with wolves howling and stumbled upon an old haunted Malaysian House, we made magic wands with Dragon Snot and Unicorn Snot and Fairy Dust. We ate Eyeball Pizza and Toffee Apples, and drank hot chocolate with marshmallow bobbing on the surface, had our faces painted and finished by listening to The Story Teller in the Wishcraft Tent, spinning amazing ghost stories – an old wizardy man with white hair and a tall wooden staff, sitting by in the most amazing grand wooden carved throne, with a couldron that started to produce white wisps of smoke when the children waved their wands. I watched the grim reaper walking through the crowds, towering, dark scary presence stopping people in their tracks, before making the slow ascent back to the car and driving back through the valley with Kittens whose gentle snores filled the car before we got out of Eden.

But, there is no better way to recover from back pain than double dose painkillers, popcorn, blankets and back to back films with my children before early nights for all.

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No Driving!

You know what? I can’t actually write what I think today. Well I can, but it is exceptionally dull. Not witty, or informative. I have tried to write something 3 times. I even posted one of them. Shocking.

There are bigger problems in the world than me not being able to drive the car for a while because of medication side effects. At least I have a car and have a partner who can drive it.

There are bigger problems in the world than numb patches and pins and needles in my leg and being told by my GP that this might now be permanent. And bigger problems as fighting to get my GP to re-refer me to the Spinal Pathway because ‘many people make a decision to accept numb patches, pins and needles over spinal surgey’. At least I am not in horrendous pain any more thanks to being pumped full of drugs. At least I can walk.

There are bigger problems in the world than my boss being a bit shitty with me when I said I was returning on reduced hours, not today, but tomorrow and her making it clear not to expect any Welcome Back banners . At least I have a job. At least I have enough money to pay the bills and take the family on holiday this year.

At least I am alive and relatively well. And my family are well and with me.

Yet somehow, that does not cheer me up.

My Husband Stabbed My Leg!

I am taking a low dose of amitriptyline for nerve pain; sciatica.  I am 3 weeks in and it has almost stopped my back, hip, stomach and leg pain completely; it is working as it is meant to, pretending there is no sciatica. Unfortunately one side effect of amitriptyline is that my spatial awareness has gone out the window and I am constantly walking into things, causing bruises that have me hastily explaining to all and sundry that R has not completely lost his patience with me, and really, yes, I did walk into a Mother and Child Parking sign, while R howled with laughter in the car.

Talking of bad impressions. Reduced pain is great, but I am now left with constant pins and needles in my left foot, calf and thigh. Yesterday I was pretty sure I could sense numb patches on my calf. R walked into the kitchen and looked on in amazement as I sat at the kitchen table, casually tapping at my calf, foot and toes with the sharp point of the parring knife to check if I was right. However I learnt that you can’t check your own leg with any useful results.

Two minutes later, my slightly unconvinced husband was also sat at the table holding the parring knife to my calf. ‘just do it!’ I said, with my hands over my eyes to make sure the test would be accurate. ‘I am!’ said my husband, alarmed at how hard he was tapping my leg with the knife to no response.

And there is the confirmation. I have an actual numb calf. The nerve damage is being hidden by amitriptyline, the wonder drug. I’m not entirely sure what, if anything I am going to do about that. No-one medically seems to listen. What more do I want than the handfuls of drugs that turn me into a dribbling shell of my former self? I am not in lots of pain; the sciatica is under control, so I should be thankful. And I hope that the numbness was always there just hidden by the pain.

It’s not often that one can say their husband stabbed them in the leg without it leading to a criminal conviction is it?

TIme for Change

Having completed the fear inducing first blog post, this is my first daily log, a snapshot history of my back pain and a snippet of how it has affected my parenting. My life has changed dramatically over the last few months. But not more than in the way it has impacted on my family.

My Summer Girl and and Winter Son are young. And wonderful. They are so empathic it makes me cry sometimes. They have taken it upon themselves to be my saviours, to cheer me up when I am low, to kiss my back when it hurts and Summer Girl rushes to get me a gallon of water as soon as she sees me reaching for my meds.  They also take it upon themselves to jump on me at every given opportunity. If I happen to lie on the floor to do my physio exercises, Winter Boy does not see mummy doing press-ups, he sees a horse for him to ride, on he jumps ‘you horsey mummy! Go! Faster!’, or jumps from the top of the sofa onto my belly or legs. And Summer Girl still gives the best hugs, which often include jumping up and wrapping her feet around my waist, or swings on my arms. OWWWW to all of those things. But, how can I avoid the kids jumping at me and on me, and more to the point why would I want them to? It upsets me that they have to adapt their behaviour because I can’t step up to the mark as a mother. It upsets me that I can’t be the one to push Summer Girl as fast as I can on her bike, or swing Winter Boy up in the sky. But it is how it is and I have to find a way to cope with that.

About 2 weeks after my back ‘went’ again in June, I finally got the results of my MRI, and a conversation with my osteopath went along the lines of ‘and you have to avoid things that will cause a relapse, like for example picking up your children…’. Yeah right! I am never going to stop doing that! I thought. Not happening! I decided. Until the pain just refused to go away. And then one day soon after Summer Girl came up to our room after having a bad dream and crawled into bed next to me. After a cuddle,  I scooped her sleepy self up in my arms, legs wrapped around me and head nestled into my neck. As I walked down our winding loft-room stairs and the pain tore through my back and down my legs, my tears flowed, tears not only of pain but of realisation that I this was, consciously, the last time I would be carrying my wonderful daughter back to bed after a bad dream.  I hugged her tightly and cried the tears of a mummy who wasn’t ready to stop carrying her children, but who understood it had to be done.

I cried many tears that night. And, as is often the case in my darkest hours, I turned to the women of a fabulous internet forum, Mumsnet, to get me through. words of sorrow, personal experiences and empathy filled the pages along with great ideas for how to keep the closeness – cuddling in bed, on the sofa for bedtime stories. There are many ways to show her I love her and I realised it was not the end of the world, just a change.

I do still pick Summer Girl up, after all that heartache, but less often, and with much more caution. And certainly not down steep or winding stairs. No more lifting the deadweight of a sleepy child and the pang of regret, of loss of something huge in my life is ever-present in the middle of the night when I am called for and I nudge my husband awake to carry our sleeping child back to her bed.

Roo, well he is a different story. Being 2 and all.

Wine Can’t Cure Back Pain…The Beginning

Wine Can’t Cure Back Pain…The Beginning


I have a Bad Back. I talk about it pretty much all the time, to pretty much anyone who will listen. I have been known to send people (my husband) to sleep with my wittering. Over the last 9 months I have been on, and I am still on, the biggest learning journey since parenthood. It seems like a good idea to rant and moan, share my pain and my fears, my difficulties with managing the children, my breakthroughs and my relapses, my learning and my ideas, my battle through the medical system, my success and my failure with medication in a Blog rather than (or, let’s be honest, as well as) with the family, friends, work colleagues and people at the bus stop who are quite clearly Fed Up of it now.

So, I have gone For It and I am excited, and nervous. I am chucking myself completely into the unknown. It is not the same as writing for others. Yes I talk a lot, mostly bollocks. And I write a lot, much of the same. What if I am Bad at It? What if no-one reads it? Worse, what if people read it and laugh? But, then I remind myself that I actually have a lot to say about back pain. Maybe people will read it. Maybe they  won’t even laugh. Maybe I can Do It.’.

But the instant I made the decision I stumbled upon the first hurdle, the first problem which almost made me shut the computer in a huff and give up. My blogname. I couldn’t think of a catchy one. I knew what I wanted, but the words were not there. Not A Good Start, Writers Block before I have even written a sentence.

 I wanted humorous, ironic maybe, not clinical and matter of fact, something that people who read this will find easily, will find funny, will understand and connect with. I knew it. I just couldn’t remember it (I will blame the meds). I spent an entire day lying down (I won’t tell the physio that) thinking, drinking coffee, watching daytime tv for inspiration. I even asked ‘the witches’ online to help me chose a name. And just when I thought it was not going to happen and contemplated drowning my sorrows in red wine and tramadol, I had an image of me propping myself up against a kitchen breakfast bar in a rented cottage one christmas, unable to sit or stand, after days of pain, and recalled some-one refilling my tightly clutched wine glass and saying to me ‘wine does not cure back pain, but it does help!’ and there it was. Right there, where it was the whole time. My blogname.

This is the start of something, I am not sure where it will go. If you have back pain and children, or just back pain, share my journey. Come back and visit me. I will try not to bore you.