There is one little problem that comes with being “of a certain age”.
Some people have it in their fingers, or their hips, or their knees or their shoulders. In my case it’s my back.
Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not complaining. After all if I didn’t have a back then I would be a bit of a mess – head and shoulders attached to my hips by a mass of blubber, which apart from being a bit messy would make it very difficult to stand up or breathe.
I have had problems with my back for quite a while. Twice or three times a good many years ago I “put it out” which was sheer fucking agony and left me lying prone for a couple of days. My Doc at the time wasn’t surprised. He just said that as I was almost six foot three and somewhat thin[ish] that I could always expect trouble because of my build. He was a miserable bastard.
What I have now is just a constant ache. It floats around a bit, up and down. I’m in a comfortable chair now so it has quietly moved up to my neck which just feels stiff. As soon as I stand up it will probably shift a bit downwards, hopefully not as far as the base of my spine because that’s when it becomes a real bugger.
A lot of it is my own fault but I partly blame the house. You see it’s a very old house dating back a couple of centuries and people must have been a lot shorter then because some of the doors are under six foot. In the early days I used to have a constant headache from whacking my head off the door frames, so I developed a very simple strategy – whenever I approached a door I ducked. It then became easier to keep my head down as I crossed a room so I developed a semi-permanent stoop when walking around the house.
This stoop has somehow become my default stance, and this is where I lay the blame firmly on my own shoulders [which presumably puts extra stress on my back?]. Whenever I walk anywhere I find myself looking at the ground a few feet ahead of me. My stoop has become permanent. I have an Old Man’s Stoop.
I have been making an effort to fix this. When I stand still I try to remember to throw my shoulders back and look up. That almost gives a moment’s respite. When walking the dog I try to look at the sky instead of the path in front of me. This had led to several trips on loose paving or kerbs and a lot of walking in something soft and squishy which isn’t very pleasant. Once I tripped over a short bloke and he complained that I should look where I’m walking. He had a point. So I’m back to looking at the pavement again.
As I said, I’m not complaining. It’s irritating but it’s not incapacitating. If it gets really bad I just dose myself with something.
It could be a hell of a lot worse.
I could be dead.