Today I Read 350 Emails and Smiled A Lot

Last night my two-almost-three year old boy snuggled himself on my side of the bed. By the time I get to bed, he is stretched across the bed, but every now and then rolls over to the edge. I spend several hours tossing and turning only half asleep waiting for the ‘thud’ of him falling off the bed that is a million times bigger than him. By the time R returns from his late night out, Roo has been gently carried back to his own bed, eyes shut, head in my neck and as I tuck him under his duvet he makes a feeble effort to show his disapproval ‘i don’t wan go to my bed, I wan…zzzzzzzz’. 5:00am and he has climbed back between us. Next thing I know is Bella cuddled next to me hanging off the bed on the other side of me, talking non-stop. I figure it must be almost 7am due to her incessant questions and chatter. I glance at the clock after 10 minutes or so and find it is 5.45am. I am So Not Impressed.

3 hours and 15 minutes, two cups of coffee and a long shower later I am on the wrong bus going around the houses to take 25 minutes to drive what should be a 10 minute journey to work, for my first day after 5 weeks off sick due to sciatic nerve pain. It is a good job really as the other bus drops me outside The Hut where I would find it difficult to walk past without buying a Skinny Latte Extra Shot. That would be 4 caffeine shots before work and I am going to be wired enough anyway with the variety of painkillers I have taken with the first two, along with the lasting effects of amitriptyline from my nightly dose.

Wow! My office is bright! and noisy! By 10am my head is pounding with the lights, noise, and the 350 emails I have to read. I am not sure if this is the medication or just shock at being back at work after the relatively sedate time off sick. My boss comments that I am looking better than she has seen me for ages. Repeats this several times and says that the time off has done me good. She is trying to work out what is different. Make Up, I tell her. I am wearing make-up. I actually spent 30 minutes plastering it on in a way to make it look like I was wearing not a jot of make up apart from lipgloss and mascara, disguising the heavily medicated eyelids that even my thick framed glasses cannot hide and the dark circles and red blotchy skin. Well, it has worked I find out as several colleagues comment on how well I look. I am not sure whether that means I always looked rough before, or only when I was looking so ill with pain, but either way, they really do seem genuinely surprised that I look well. I decide on the latter and plaster on a beaming smile for every comment I get.

I sit on my old, alleged back pain specialist chair. This is not the one that was recommended by the back specialist assessment, the one that I later find out is going to cost £800+. This is the chair they have decided will do after all despite being recommended otherwise (I can’t figure out why they think this…). Except, when I sit in it and the pins and needles shoot from my left foot straight up my leg and into my buttock, my boss quickly changes her mind and 20 minutes later the approval for the new chair has been signed and sent off. But, they still won’t let me have red leather or an iPod charger. However it does recline. Bonus.

By the time I leave the office I am limping slightly and my head is pounding from the excessively fast-paced office, from struggling to focus on the computer screens, having to engage with people and on the whole being unused to Life On the Outside on my pain meds.

I am now watching Black Beauty with my children, tired but relieved that I got through my first day back with relatively little trouble and without falling asleep  or slurring my words in front of my colleagues. But I really must get myself some of those noise blocking ear protectors.

Shall I have a glass of wine to celebrate?

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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?

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.