Still Here. Still Love Wine. The Sea. Music. Still Disabled.

I have been absent. I have been in a bad place. A roller coaster ride of attempting recovery from chronic back pain and sliding back into the darkness of chronic back pain. I am not going to talk about details now, although I will at some point.

But, I have had a particularly negative experience at a music festival, which happened as I attempted to live a life that is not really my own, while trying desperately to forget that despite surgery, and rehabilitation, and time, I am probably not going to ‘recover’ from this chronic back pain. As the enormity of how hard it is to do things that ‘normal’ people do hit me like a brick, I was right up close to the appalling discrimination of people with disabilities a way I have not been before. I now know that the reason for this lack of experience has been because I have shut myself away from the real world and not participated in it any more than has been essential to survive, because that world doesn’t really belong to me any more. Except, it does now. I am reclaiming it.

I am going to relive some of this experience with you in my next post, and I will share some of my future experiences as I come across disability discrimination on a daily basis, and yet also find amazing people who try to be our advocates. I will use my time blathering on to do my little bit to help make access, treatment and attitudes to people with disabilities better, nicer, kinder. So that it is not so hard, it’s not so embarrassing and it’s not so fucking difficult to do the things that we used to do. Like go to a music festival.

I am dedicating the future of this blog to my Chronic Back Pain Suffering Mumsnetters who have been my rock in the last couple of years, in the last year in particular. They have picked me up when I’ve been on the floor. They have cheered me up when I have been unhappy. They understand when no-one else does. They have shared their own experiences. They have held my hand when I have been unable to cope. with the relentlessness of this fucking chronic back pain.

They also love Frank Turner, internet shopping and Fly London boots.

“Let Boys Be Girls”

I am lying in bed trying to summon the energy to do some much needed chores: calling in sick at work due to another ‘relapse’ of back pain; calling a good friend to arrange her to visit so I can countersign her passport; checking on Winter Boy who is doing goodness knows what in his bedroom, and well, er, going to the Loo. My reluctance to call people is because this involves a game called ‘Hunt the Phone Charger’; my reluctance to do that, aside from the pain this produces is also largely for the same reason as not wanting to go to the loo and not wanting to check on my boy – Every Single Room in this place looks like we have been burgled and I cannot bear to wade through toys, clothes and other debris just to find a phone and to find my son.

So, instead I am sitting here with the skylights open, the sun on my face, putting it all off in the name of ‘writing’. I have been thinking, with a smile on my face, about my little boy (who has, during the time of writing this wandered upstairs with the iPad asking me for daddy’s password so he can upload a Toy Story game) and his love of dressing up; it has got me thinking, not for the first time, about our values in this family of ‘boy toys’ and ‘girl toys’ especially with campaigns around such as Let Toys Be Toys (encouraging retailers to change the way they advertise their toys to ‘boys’ and ‘girls’) and with some surprising attitudes of those in our social circle.

Like my daughter as a toddler (who, apart from occasionally forgetting to put knickers on before going out, has developed a sense of shyness about her body in front of friends and strangers in the last 6 months), he much prefers to be stark naked than trapped in the constraints of clothing; often discarding his clothes the moment he gets home. And even when he concedes that he needs to wear clothes, getting dressed can be a battle as he changes his mind about what he wants to wear for pre-school or to the park every 30 seconds or so. When Winter Boy has clothes on, he adores dressing up; between him and his big sister they have an ecclectic mix of princess dresses, doctors outfits, nurses uniforms and cowboy clothes, along with a few of my old clothes from when I was a size nothing (can’t believe I ever fit into some of those things).

But Winter Boy is never happier at the moment than when he is dressing as a ‘girl’. He has recently been photographed wearing his sister’s emerald-green sparkly party dress which shimmers in sunlight. Apart from being huge for him, he actually looked quite stunning in it and looked the spit of his sister at the same age. He wanted to be a princess and go to sleep as a princess that night, and so after a few enormous, sad, rolling tears of protest dropped onto the dress we let him get into his Thomas the Tank Engine adorned bed as Princess Winter Boy and after a princess story, he insisted we say “goodnight princess” to him.

We have just been given a big bag of clothes from a parent at Summer Girl’s school for Winter Boy. It’s all too big, but that hasn’t stopped him insisting on wearing his new Ben 10 shirt for 4-5 year olds to pre-school and his new 5 year old ‘Cars’ PJs to bed. However, despite his love of his new ‘boy’ clothes, he insisted, at 8pm on Friday evening, after stripping out of those much-loved ‘Cars’ PJs, that he was going to bed as The Queen of Hearts. After a few attempts at refusing by us parents (purely on the basis that it’s not jimjams), we gave in and let him dress up as the Queen of Hearts, have a story about Queens in bed; he went to bed without a fuss, tucked up in his Gruffalo duvet, with the little fluffy sleeves of the dress poking over the covers. He corrected me again when I gave him a kiss goodnight “say ‘Goodnight Queen of Hearts’ not Winter Boy!”. About 5am when he woke proclaiming that he no longer wanted to be The Queen of Hearts. R changed him back into himself and he snuggled with us, happily announcing that he loved being a Queen, but prefers being Winter Boy before going back to sleep.

I have been shocked at some of the things people around us have said about these events. Seemingly intelligent friends of mine have made comments such as ‘you can’t do that to him! it’s cruel!’ and ‘he won’t forgive you for that [photo]’. When he has had a colourful wrap in his (apparently far too long) gorgeous blonde hair, there have been cries of ‘but he’s a booooy!’ and one time a male friend actually took the hair braid out when I wasn’t there (I was a little cross about that one I can tell you).

Seriously, what do those who have a problem with him twirling in a dress or having fun braids, or wanting to be called ‘Queen of Hearts’ think is going to happen to him, other than growing up to be a well-rounded, well-adjusted child, and then into a well-rounded, well-adjusted man? Wearing dresses and having long hair and hair wraps wont ‘make him gay’ or ‘transgender’. If he is ‘gay’, well, then that’s just how he is anyway; as parents, and as his peers around him, we should be supporting and developing that aspect of his character as he grows, not stifling it by providing negative labels, which could lead to issues around sexuality, and ultimately unhappiness, as he grows into a man. If his sexuality is not already defined as ‘gay’, being the Queen of Hearts is not going to change that, it will just mean he is being a child having the time of his life. And I am loving watch his fun, cheeky, happiness grow.

Interestingly, my Summer Girl has just started a football club, as a result of a local good football club bringing coaches into her school. No-one seems to bat an eyelid at the notion of her dressing in a masculine manner, having her beautiful blonde hair scraped back, wearing football boots, shin pads, and football shorts, as she will ‘grow out of this phase’. She too is being the child she wants to be, not constrained by the expectations of adult society. And it’s fabulous. I should probably get up now…

A Nest. One Viper.

I am in such a bad mood. Frustrated, fed up, cross, angry. GRUMPY. I don’t know if I want to hit something and scream or cry. It’s that kind of grumpiness that makes me want to petulantly shout ‘oh just fuck off’ to anyone who says anything that annoys me. And it’s that type of crossness that means anything annoys me. You see that circle there? It’s vicious alright.

It’s not proportionate to events. It’s actually quite irrational. It’s not PMT, it’s not horrendous chronic pain. It’s pent-up frustration and unspent energy. And little things irritating me that have built up through the day and exploding like a fizzy bottle shaken too much.

I wasn’t in this mood all day. I had spent a lovely morning with my Winter Boy at a softplay centre, where there was a bored looking woman doing music and dancing with the children. And, as it turns out, with me. I have no rhythm any more and I suspect this realisation that I’m no longer able to rock with the toddlers added a teensy bit of Fizz into that bottle.

I had my third Expert Patients Programme session this afternoon. R had initially asked if he could drop me off, I said I needed the car. However, while I was out shaking pompoms and I utilised my fab female skill of multitasking and mentally realised that Summer Girl finished school during this session, unlike for the last 2 sessions over Easter holidays. When I got home I agreed with R that he does in fact need the car. It was not enough that I had bowed down to his greater wisdom. No. He was now cross about having to drive me there, and pick me back up again at 4:30pm. What was he going to do while I was there, with the children? Well, the same thing you had thought of doing when you  first suggested it and it was your idea. For Fuck’s Sake. And that was another dose of fizz added.

I was late. Ok I wasn’t late, I rocked up by the skin of my teeth, but that’s not the point. Because I am on R time, not my time. That means that before we leave, he needs to make himself a cooked lunch. And I am on Winter Boy time, not my time. And this means that before we leave Winter Boy had discarded his trousers and pants never to be seen again. As R drove the car along an alternative route to try it out, which is always great when you are late, another huge dose of fizz was injected into the bottle.

The Expert Patients Programme was good. We finished early at 4:15pm. R was not on his way, he was going to be 20 mins he said. Not sure how he figured he would be picking me up at the normal finish time of 4:30pm and so, with the wind in my hair, and my bones, the fizz started to creep up towards the neck of the clearly small bottle. But as I felt it rising, rising, I made a point of not shaking it, and started to walk. R met me half way.

Now, one thing that had kept me sane all day was the prospect of going swimming. With my new goggles. and my new nose clip. I had even dug out my flip-flops for the poolside and was ultra organised. Everything was packed right down to my razor for the long hot shower afterward, everything apart from my swimming cap. That’s around somewhere right? But, as I walked to meet R, I realised I really fancy some gym time, I need to burn sweat. I have too much energy, it needs to get out. I think about music and yes, that’s what I want! Can’t wait. R has obviously picked up my iPod nano from his locker at work, where it has been living for the last 2 months, as I asked to do so this week, and he went in today for something. The fizz settled a little.

I made tea for the children, and got ready, feeling my unspent frustrations all about to be pounded away at the gym. Couldn’t find socks that match, children had been playing with my goggles and headphones and then I asked The Question. I knew the answer as the words tumbled out of my mouth and I tensed everything up waiting for the bottle to explode as the words ‘oh shit! no sorry’ left R’s lips. I cannot exercise without music. I just can’t. OK, I can, if we are going to be picky about it. But I don’t enjoy it, I can’t pace myself and it goes from being fun to being a huge chore. I spent the next hour trying desperately to download Spotify to my Smartphone, only to find it’s not that fucking smart. So, absolutely devastated, crushed, that my perfect plan fell apart, the fizz quietly spilt out of the bottle as I stopped myself from throwing the phone at the wall.

But, that wasn’t enough to ruin my plans. I would just have to  swim, with my new goggles and new nose clip. But, can I find the FUCKING SWIMMING CAP? And so my evening has actually been ruined. I can’t go swimming now. I’m too cross. The bottle has no more room, and has been shaken violently. I am so fucking cross I am not really sure what to do with myself. And because it’s not entirely rational angst, I can’t deal with it ‘sensibly’.

The best thing to do is quietly take myself off upstairs to engross myself in social media world, but as I am not rude, I tell R I am going upstairs. ‘no you’re not! Dinner is here, if you’re not going out, you got to eat, you didn’t eat lunch’. I’m not hungry, but I might be tempted ‘what is it?’ ‘fish and chips’. FISH AND FUCKING CHIPS? FFS. we had that last night! I don’t want that again. Especially as I made a special tuna with chilli and garlic, home-made chips and salad. I don’t want oven chips, spaghetti and breaded fish. Bleurgh.  And at this point, the only thing that I can do to resolve this situation is to let the fizz outa that goddamm bottle and have a full-blown Proper Strop.

The cork hit the cat, who had tried to nuzzle and suckle and irritate me, after I had stomped up the stairs, and thrown myself onto the bed in a dramatic impression of a teenager not allowed out with her friends past 9pm and so I did petulantly shout ‘oh just fuck off!’ at her.

And I am now nestled in my duvet, fluffed with pillows I still feel poisonous because things didn’t go my way. And I still haven’t got my unspent energy out.

And I’m now fucking hungry.

Taking Control Back: The Expert Patients Programme – First Day

You might, or might not have read my post about my interest in the Expert Patients Programme. I won’t go into lots of detail about the Programme here as it’s well documented in my other post.

After a frought week due to having a sick  husband, children who needed entertaining, work and preparing for Mother In Law to visit – which of course entails making the house look beautifully tidy and pretending we live that way all the time instead of the shitpit we actually live in – I almost, almost, cancelled. “I don’t have the time” I said. “I have too much to do” I made excuses. They were all true. But also, my back pain has been under control for a few weeks, and so, well it’s not a disability any more is it? I can walk relatively normally – apart from apparently I still limp a little, have a slightly odd gait, but can’t notice myself – and so I am taking up a valuable space that other’s can use. But, none of that’s true is it? I had to remind myself that if I didn’t do this, I would relapse at some point and be devastated that I have not moved myself forward. I HAVE to recognise that a month at most without pain so bad it makes me cry does not constitute a cure.

And so I went. At 9:30am on the dot. Without my paperwork as I lost it and having confirmed so late in the day I was not sure if I was expected. I was not expected. There was no course at 9:30am. Or 10am. It was at 2pm! I just laughed it off as typical of my chaotic and unorganized week.

I went to Session One of the Expert Patients Programme with probably far less trepidation than most of the other participants as I am used to being on the other side of the desks. I could feel the fear in the room from some when there was the prospect of talking, and I could sense the keenness of others to have people listen to their conditions, to hear what they have been experiencing, and later found that some of those people hardly see anyone socially due to their conditions making them housebound.

The Expert Patients Programme is, I have learned, an accredited programme which is run across the world, and was developed as the Chronic Disease Self Management Programme at Stanford University, California, who now hold the licence which allow it to be run, and is facilitated the same way throughout the country. I like that, as it gives focus and structure to the group, where it can be possible to run away with talking about our ailments for 2.5 hours, it hones us in on the purpose of the sessions, to learn the skills to be expert managers in our own health. Now, some people prefer to have free-flowing groups, but I guess that is where my own experiences of facilitation come in. Where it originates and how it developed interests me so sorry if you have glazed over.

Any fears or anxieties were immediately quashed at the sight of the full Tupperware container full of Bourbon Biscuits. Now I am a great fan of Posh Biscuits, but there is nothing better than bourbons. I felt at ease.

I won’t bore you with the full details of the first session, and of course we all entered into agreements of confidentiality so I shan’t divulge details of the participants, but, my over-riding feeling initially was that I was somehow a fraud, that my condition did not warrant me being there. There were participants there who have to suffer with multiple conditions at once, some as a consequence of other conditions, some with  multiple un-connected ailments and my life felt like a breeze – I have periods of wellness, I can still socialise (although I do that less and less), I am managing to hang on to my job.  But, I had to once again remind myself that this was a Good Day. And on a Bad Day I would possibly not even be there. Re-enforcing that was the fact that not one person saw my condition as minor and lots of what I shared with the group about the challenges I face as a result of my condition were equally shared with other group members and I realised that it was not about who had the most serious condition to contend with, there was no competition in the room – we were all there as we all had a condition or more than one that affected our lives to the point of disability and we were all there to find ways to manage. We were all in this together and the group gelled quickly as this became clear.

We all shared some of our personal challenges as a result of our condition, as much as we felt comfortable doing so, and it became clear that, despite the individual challenges that were unique to us alone, there were common ones that affected ALL of us in the room – I expected pain to be a shared challenge, and it was, and mobility for a large group of people, again it was, and not being able to do the things we used to be able to do, but I was quite surprised that fatigue came up time and time again. Every Single Person in the room struggled with fatigue as a result of the differing reasons for bringing us into that room together and it helped me a lot to realise that the continuous and horrendous and often debilitating tiredness I experience now is not unique to me, does not mean something more sinister is wrong, but goes hand in hand with chronic illness. And, as a result some of the course is designated to managing fatigue as it is recognised as a symptom of chronic illness.

The other challenge that we all faced, despite our wide ranging disabilities that have brought us to the same place, was that we are all struggling to come to terms with our conditions, with accepting that our lives have changed forever and that we won’t wake up tomorrow with a magic cure – it won’t go back to how it was before and no-one in the room had fully grasped that yet but we have already all made big life-altering changes and today was the start of another big change – acceptance.

And all 12 of us in the room had taken a huge step in acceptance by coming to this first session.  Even if I don’t find the strategies for coping new to me, just consolidating what I know, I have already come a little bit closer to accepting I have a disability by attending this first session.

Although, I am feeling so much better, it might have all been a misdiagnosis and I am on the mend right…?

Last Night, The Zombies Attacked Devon

Do you have a Zombie Plan? You really do need one. After the assault on this place last night I am sorting mine out.

I am not kidding you. It took up most of my (disturbed many times by children) sleep and I even managed to go back to sleep twice and re-enter the mass onslaught from where I left off each time.

After hearing that Devon was being invaded by zombies, I ran with the other families to the local primary school where many parents were collecting their children before fleeing the impending terror of zombies, terrified for the safety of my children. One parent offered to take me, my daughter and some school friends out of town in her Bongo, to safety, across the Army Border.  I let Summer Girl go (I have no idea where Winter Boy or R were) and felt happy and secure that she would be ok with her school friends. But I could not go with her. I had a job to do. It was all Very Dramatic.

I had to stay and fight with my three fellow Zombie Killers, all of whom I knew, but can no longer recall. And help those who could not leave. I called an ambulance because someone had hurt their back badly and helped them medically with a sense of purpose, we created shelter in a deserted cafe (conveniently stocked up) that could not be easily breached and searched for others in the area, bringing them back to our hideout.  I remember feeling like all my knowledge was being used. I was Useful.

I felt excited! I was afraid but, more than that, exhilarated. I really wanted to see these bastard Zombies and put the many months of Mumsnet Zombie Planning into action. I felt sure that despite me not having a real plan, I had stolen enough of the plans of others to know we would kick their asses. I felt invincible

Did I see the zombies? Almost! They kept coming around a street corner or through a door and we would have to run back to our Cafe Shelter. We could see where they were coming from and for some reason they never got to where we were. And then, they found us. They were breaking through the entrance, forcing their way through the cafe to our hiding place at the back, they were here! And then I woke from this most bizarre dream that took up almost my entire night. At that exact moment. I was so disappointed. But, just as oddly, I spent the next 15 minutes making coffee, vaguely thinking that I really did need to sort out my Zombie Plan.

What The Actual Fuck Was That All About?

Blown Away by Hope and Pain.

There are two parts to this blog, as technically this computer has been confiscated by my husband so that I can listen to the audio book he has downloaded for me, and so I can fully rest my back.

Firstly, Wow. The power of Mumsnet is two fold! Not only has ‘Doogie Hower’ in disguise found the cause of my back problems but, how many people have come to check out my post! and have left me some amazing supportive messages. And yes, the more I think about it, the more I can feel the place where that oddly large and painful but quick to disappear from my memory bruise was. It was right in-between my vertebrae at the base of my spine. Now I remember, and have discussed with R, neither of us have any idea how it escaped our memories. It just demonstrates how easy it is to block very important details from our minds.

There is no doubt in my mind  now that the unfortunate event of the shower curtain caused my slipped disc. But, I know many people are thinking, as R did, ‘so what?’ and as someone commented on my last post ‘you can’t un-salt the soup’. That is true. This revelation does not fix my back. It won’t change the treatment offered. The damage is done and it is going to take a long time to fix, whatever the cause. Perhaps had I linked it at the time it might be a different story, but probably not.

What this does change is how I deal with it, emotionally, in the long-term. It gives me hope. I was told by several medical professionals that this is likely degenerative. It has happened over a period of time and the disc is disintegrating. This has put a little pressure on the discs above. And, as it is degenerative, it is likely this will progress upwards in time. This has been the source of great angst for me, as many of those who have journeyed with me over this last almost-year know. Coming to terms with the loss of so many things in my future. Having to find a way to parent so this debilitating condition does not hugely and negatively impact on my children’s upbringing. I have had so many tears of worry that this might end up crippling me. I have seen my career disappear in front of me and seen my relationship change and become damaged in front of my eyes.

This means, that maybe there is a chance that won’t happen. This means that if I can get this disc fixed, that it might not spread upwards, that it is not degenerative, that it is not inevitable that my life will be a continued cycle of pain and medication. Hope.

Alas this leads to the second part of my post. At the time I should be revelling in this fabulous news (and believe me I have been blown away by it) and seeing this as a new episode in my life, where I can go to work with little pain feeling this is actually progress that might stay, instead of walking with a swing in my step, I am in bed in pain as my back has gone again and I can’t stand or walk.

I have been throwing up since sunday, (for those who have an aversion to vomiting stories, read on, there will be no details) and now I am unable to walk for pain and muscle spasms. I have a theory about this, about the links between my pain and being sick, but that is for another time. For now, having had to crawl to the toilet on my hands and knees I am in so much pain I am going to return to the excellent audio book The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss for those who want something cool to listen to.

But, this is not going to beat me now. Not anymore. I am not going to just accept my fate is out of my control, this is not my destiny to have a back problem, it is not genetic, or degenerative. So I can overcome it. After some sleep.

(ps Thank you everyone for reading my blogs and for ‘liking’ and for the lovely comments. It means a lot. Even with a little nudge from those at the top.

My ‘Slipped Disc’ Cause was Discovered by a Mumsnetter.

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.