I’ve had a bad back, some call it lumbago, I call it pain. It was the worst I’ve had in years, it hurt like hell: I couldn’t walk two metres without yelling out loud in pain.
And yes, it is largely my own fault. I should have been eating more greens; kale three times every two weeks isn’t enough. Not that there’s much more by way of green-ness on my veg patch right now. There’s a little spinach and chard, there’s the winter postelein. This is mid-winter and these are the mid winter blues. Not helped by things growing so slowly that I only get five meals a month. Meals? No, portions! Parts of a meal.
Anyway, I got back-pain. Partly on account of the cold, partly on account of poor diet and it has to be added, a lack of exercise. Getting outside on a chilly day is not what I do best, exercise in this respect, is like my veggies in that it’s less common at this time of year.
Knowing this has taken me a long time to determine, and no small amount of reflection on the way in which I live my life. We live in a world where hospitals clear up this kind of mess, as witnessed in one of my private posts. Hendrik, the subject of that post, is back on his feet and is as happy as Larry apart from a clip to straighten his broken nose. He had a heart attack, by the way, and as a direct result fell down some very steep stairs. Seeing this happen was traumatic enough, thankfully the patient knew little about it until he woke up the next morning.
But this post is about how my own shortcomings came about. You see, it’s not just a matter of living as one always has lived until things reach a climax and the emergency services are called. Life ought be a matter of working out who and what one is and forming one’s life accordingly. The first problem here is that we’re taught so little at school; it’s not that we’re not taught useful things, it’s more that the really useful things tend to be glossed over. After all, the teachers were never taught this, any more than the people who established the curriculums did. They all live their lives as they do until the emergency services arrive to carry them away.
So in this respect, all my schooling was to no avail when it came to the subtleties of life. Nor was there much help in this direction from my parents, both of whom are arch-academics. Schooling for them was everything, life had little to offer by way of anything wiser.
Which is the point, really: there isn’t anything wiser than the proscribed and limited wisdom offered by those who cannot see beyond the system they purvey.
The result is a world filled with self-help books from dieting to yoga. Each and every one of them trying to be all things to all men. The problem is that in doing so, they become nothing to nobody. How can one truly know if the wisdom they impart is valid or not? It’s not something you’re taught how to discern at school, is it?
Bearing all this in mind, the advice I was given two years ago by a friend who had suffered back pain of this kind went ignored. You see, it wasn’t a problem at the time, was it? It didn’t happen frequently enough for me to really worry about what was going on. Which was a bit daft when you come to think of it; I had the information to hand from someone who had experienced what it was like to suffer the results of self-neglect. I just couldn’t be arsed.
It wouldn’t have taken me long to do these exercises either. My excuses ran thus: I have an allotment garden and I work myself to exhaustion, surely that’s enough? In the circumstances, it wasn’t. There are movements one doesn’t make when digging, hoeing or planting – that is to say, the twisting of the back muscles in a way that is therapeutic rather than distressing. The measured activity of an exercise is what seasons a muscle against its ‘hardening’. There is no other word for it. Which is why I will be setting out on a regime of back training in the coming months, no doubt to be forgotten in that time, too. Life’s a little like that, isn’t it? When there’s no need to do something, why do it, why bother… and with that, it gets quietly forgotten until…
Well, at least it won’t be a heart attack.
The real problem here isn’t that my society hasn’t really supported me in my needs, it’s more that our society isn’t there to support anybody any more. Everything is now down to the official services to deal with, and that usually means dealing with occurrences rather than the more subtle elements of prevention. Which, as we know, is better than a cure. It’s certainly less effective but would mean that the pharmaceutical companies couldn’t charge what they do. They are, after all, a parasite that has grown fat on a human weakness, only to exacerbate that weakness as all parasites do. That includes bacteria, by the way. Modern medicine is in no small way a part of the problem; but it is only so as a result of our society having changed. What’s more, it couldn’t have changed without the likes of Hendrik and my parents aiding and abetting it.
As a final note, our bodies are always the last expression of a conceptual failing. I’ve described that failing in my own life, and how it eventually bore its painful fruit. The real point of this blog is to get people to think about their own lives in a way that sees them reflect on what they do and why they do it. Doing this will save the health services billions of dollars. It’ll save a lot of pain too – and would have saved me the trauma of seeing a friend tumble down stairs head first.
Whilst he’s unlikely to learn from this experience, there are the odd one or two of you out there who might. This was written for you.