Dear Susie’s Back,
You and I have been a team for many years. Since about four weeks after I was conceived, you have been my frame, my core. I would not be where I am today without you. For everything I have done in my life, you have been right there – holding me up. You bend with me, pull with me, push with me, lift with me – all with out question or complaint. I know I have taken you for granted and I am sorry. I just always assumed we would be a team that worked like a well-oiled machine. But last Friday, as we wrestled a toddler into his car seat, you cried, “ENOUGH!” You made your displeasure painfully clear.
Admittedly, I have not been as kind to you as I should have been. In fact, the massage therapist used the word “abusive” and totally took your side. The lifting and carrying of the 30 pound toddler, the hauling of the laundry, the constant bending and stooping, and the contorted sleeping positions to accommodate the nursing baby have been too much for you. I suppose three pregnancies where I gained 45-65 pounds each time took their toll. As well as those two back labors. And the keeping of 30 extra pounds, lack of decent exercise and the years of bad posture and improper body mechanics have added up to some serious wear and tear. So while it should be no shock that you are out of alignment, I am a mom – my body is not my own and I thought you understood.
Until you went on strike, I had no idea how much I depended on your cooperation. It seems I was calling on your services so much, I didn’t even realize. I had no idea how many times I bent over to pick things up off the floor or load the dishwasher. Or how many back muscles are used in the changing off a diaper. Or how much back is required to lift the laundry basket and pull the wet clothes out of the washer, or in the walking of the dog, or in the making of dinner. And since I haven’t been able to do those things in the last several days (at least not without complaint from you) and I have a new appreciation for just how tenuous our relationship actually was.
At first, it was kind of nice to take a break from my regular duties and ask for help. “Honey, will you take of care of Logan’s poopy diaper?” “Sweetie, will you take the dog out for Mommy?” “Can someone take the chicken out of the oven for me?” But now it’s Wednesday and the house is a wreck. The laundry is backed up. The dog has gotten fat. I don’t even know what that spot is on the floor and I can’t get close enough to clean it up. Logan’s not been able to play outside because it’s too hard to physically restrain him and his tricycle from going out into the road. It hurts to sit on the floor and play with my kids. It takes me ten minutes to put on socks. I haven’t been able to use conditioner in my hair because the bottle has fallen onto the shower stall floor. Between the constant pain and the not being able to go about my daily business, your little demonstration is on my last sciatic nerve.
I want to be sympathetic, I do. But this wasn’t really a good time for you to go all Prima Donna on me. And while I pledge to not take you for granted anymore, I do need you to get over yourself and pull it together. We have shit to do. I don’t know what it means to take better care of you. Am I not supposed to catch a toddler in mid-flight as he falls from the monkey bars? Since I can feel you spasm when I only look at the vacuum cleaner, am I to assume that I will no longer be vacuuming? And what about the laundry? Am I to kick my two load-a-day habit? I’m hoping the chiropractor will help us to work out our differences and get back to our pain-free selves. The whole family is counting on us. So until that appointment, I will continue to respect your need for space. I will continue to take a load of pain medicine in an attempt to subdue you. And if you could just let me get into a position comfortable for sleeping, I would be very grateful.