Sunday, February 15, 2015

Pregnant Zone

I shouldn't have moved this pot but I did and now I'm on Pregnant Zone.

There are eight enormous planters on our lanai, each of which weighs approximately as much as the collective poundage contestants on The Biggest Loser shed each season.

I moved one of them 10 feet Wednesday so the newly-planted bromeliad in it would get more sun.

Cue the Dragnet theme song: “Dumb, dumb-dumb-dumb.”

The next morning my lower back was hurting. Slowly but surely the pain intensified throughout the day. 

Friday morning I couldn’t get out of bed. My wife had to pull me up, plant my legs on the floor and dress me. Every move was excruciating, as if someone was plunging an ice pick into the small of my back. I called the doctor and the receptionist said to come right in. It took my wife 10 minutes to fold me into the car and 10 minutes to unfold me when we arrived.

The doctor asked how it happened. I told her. “What’s with you old men?” she asked. “At least once a week I see a man your age or older who has hurt his back trying to lift or move something he shouldn’t. Don’t you men realize how old you are?”

“Don’t patronize me, ” I wanted to say but held my tongue because a) the tongue is a muscle so it would have probably hurt to move it and b) I knew she had the power to prescribe meds to relieve my agony and didn’t want to waste one more second than was absolutely necessary until I had them in hand. I know full well how old I am. I’m a grandpa for Chrissake. It’s just that I don’t think of myself as that age. For the last 50 years I could have easily carried that planter from here to Miami and back with no consequences whatsoever. Now I’ve been told I shouldn’t lift anything weighing 25 lbs. or more for the next month.

The doctor called in prescriptions for a muscle relaxer along with a drug I could have sworn she referred to as Pregnant Zone (which, when I picked it up at the pharmacy, turned out to be Prednisone, a steroid) and said to take Extra Strength Tylenol as needed. I writhed in pain the rest of the day, couldn’t sleep Friday night and the pain continued until the middle of Saturday afternoon when – magically – the meds kicked in and I could move again. This morning I was even able to pick up our dachshund, Billy Ray. (Note to those prone to back problems: Do not surround yourself with needy six-inch-tall dogs who insist on being picked up every five minutes.)

And today, despite mild pain whenever I shift in my chair, overall stiffness and a weird tingle that shoots up and down my leg every few minutes I pretty much feel like my 25 63-year-old self again. I’m sitting on the lanai as I write, where I can see that the planter I moved is getting too much sun but there’s nothing I can do about it even if I wanted to, which I don't.

For the last 40 years, my mother, who will be 102 in April, has been telling me that getting old sucks and you know what?

She might be on to something there.