It was subtle at first, almost imperceptible. Then a little more noticeable – a twinge, every time I bent down to pick something up off the floor. Which I now realise is a fairly constant activity. I couldn’t pinpoint where it was – was something twisted or knotted deep inside? I googled. A hernia or kidney stones the internet suggested. I closed Google.
The twinge became a loud roar, which is what burst from my mouth when I twisted around too quickly at one point. Three kids looked up, surprised at the shout of pain. I reassured them that everything was OK, but I wasn’t sure at all.
Climbing the stairs to get the kids to bed, I finally realised it was my back – I’d done something to my back. And just to make it more interesting, my husband is away for the weekend. Hmm.
Once the kids were down, medicine came in the form of couch and TV, and I went to bed with a healthy dose of optimism – everything would be fine in the morning.
But of course it wasn’t. When I tried to get up the yesterday morning, my body roared at me to stay put. I tried again, turning a different direction, but no. I tried sliding out, but that didn’t work either. Pain no matter which way I turned. And three kids. And no husband. And a dayful of activities and obligations ahead. Time to panic. And shed a solitary tear.
So I did what any grown-up does in this kind of situation – I called my dad. And my sisters. Well, it was 8am so I sent a group message on Viber. Smoke signals 21st century style.
I needed to know if I was going to do damage by moving despite the pain – I don’t mind pain itself, but I do mind making things worse by pushing through. Having martyred myself once with a broken finger – which is now permanently crooked due to pushing through the pain – I wasn’t risking doing it again.
The reassurances were quick and fast. They told me moving was OK. And heat would help. And to take Ibuprofen. Great stuff. Sorted. Thank you Viber, thank you family.
Except our dusty pack of Nurofen had expired six years ago. And the kids were up and looking for breakfast.
Perhaps suspecting my lack of medicinal supplies, my sister phoned, and within an hour, she was on my doorstep, with painkillers, a heat pack, and crucially, coffee.
My dad arrived minutes later, with even stronger painkillers, Voltarol, and a heat pack. We had more coffee. Everything was going to be OK.
And the kids. The kids became people I’ve never met before. “We’ll do everything for you mum, don’t worry,” they’d said that morning. And to my surprise, they really did. Bigger kids put smaller kids to bed with stories, and brushed reluctant teeth. They made their own breakfasts, they cleaned the kitchen, they got themselves dressed. They swept the floor, and packed the swimming bag. They were amazing.
Well, the small boy mostly played with loom bands, and I realised as he ignored my pleas to get dressed, that I regularly default to lifting him from place to place (hmm, clue as to how I hurt my back) which of course I couldn’t do. But the girls jumped in – playing “let’s see who can get upstairs first” and “let’s see who can get dressed first” with him, winking at me so I’d know we were all in on it together.
And I got through the the day and the night and this morning, with many painkillers, amazing family rescuers, and strong coffee. (And all without telling my husband what was going on.)
But mostly, it was down to the kids rising from the trenches and showing me what they can do when I need them. I don’t say this enough, but they were truly AWESOME.
And I’m going to hit publish now, before it all inevitably falls apart, because I like a happy ending.