Ping Pong vs. The Lawnmower

I guess I could go back to how I ended up in physical therapy for my back. Hmm … Well, it was on a Wednesday morning, Dec 31st, the morning of the last day of last year, and I was in the doctor’s office…

“So you were playing ping ball …” The nurse said flatly, scribbling notes across my chart. ‘NO!’ I protested. “I was playing Ping PONG!” (Although ping ball sounds like a game I could invent.) “So,” the nurse continued …”you were playing ping pong and …” I interjected, “And the next morning my right hip was killing me. Then the pain moved to my right buttock and leg, this all started 5 days ago and now the pain is so bad I can’t sleep.” Which was true.

The doctor arrived in the examination room and had me performing right leg lifts in all directions (thank goodness for jeans with built-in stretch-lycra) followed by x-rays of my lower back and right hip joint. The x-rays came back ‘fine.’ Oh great, I thought intuitively, this pain is all in my head…

“There must have been an injury to your lower back which is impeding on a nerve,” continued the doctor. “What you are experiencing is sciatic nerve pain. It can be hard to treat. What were you doing that could have caused this?”

Okay, so my younger sister (otherwise known as “Twitch”) and I had decided to play ping pong the previous Sat. night. We were at a party and they had a ping pong table in the basement. We remembered how we had played ping pong as kids. We were both terrible then, so we figured we’d be evenly matched now, which, sure enough, we were. Although, in retrospect, and I could be wrong about this because I am really bad at ping pong, but, I don’t think I sent her in as many divergent directions after my balls, and as often, as she sent me. Gees! I was proud of myself for the way I tailed her balls with such gusto … first, a ball with a hard bounce on her side, that soared high in the air through the hallway on my right, with me in hot pursuit. Then, the next ball ricocheting off the wall behind me and coming to rest after several haphazard bounces underneath the ping pong table, with me under the table in hot pursuit. I was frantically chasing, bending, crawling, and leaping after balls. Plus, my sister is nearly eight years younger than me.

Well anyway, I ended up in pretty good spirits to ring in the New Year after that doctor’s visit on Dec 31st. I arrived home with a cortisone shot in my right buttock, a 6-day prescription dose of prednisone, and 60-count prescription bottles of Soma (muscle relaxant) and Hydrocodone (pain reliever) with instructions on each bottle to take up to two pills every four hours as needed for relief. I had asked the doc if I could ingest full doses of both drugs together and he said yes. I then inquired, “Can I combine full doses of both drugs with alcohol?” (it being New Year’s Eve and all, and me having such a big pain) … to which he paused, threw me a surprised full-body glance, and said, “You don’t have to worry.” So, I didn’t (worry). I doused myself in muscle relaxants and pain killers and toasted the evening away into the New Year, awash in a level of joy and relaxation the likes of which I had never hitherto experienced. 2009 arrived very, very happily.

However, getting back to … uh … where was I? My back! Which, well, it’s entirely possible that I may have hurt it two weeks prior to my ping pong game, helping my husband pull the lawn mower up a flight of stairs to get it out of the basement. Yep. There he was in the basement at the bottom of the stairs, engine side, barking out orders,¬† pushing the engine upward, channeling Hercules, his head bursting with blood – while I was positioned on the stairs above the mower, my hands wrapped around the handle, pulling with all my feathery might- with my arms, my back, my legs, my knees, my ankles, my armpits, my eyeballs… The mower clunked, heaved, and dragged like a house up one excruciating step, and then, quite miraculously, another, until we managed to get the thing up all thirteen stairs. I didn’t hear a ‘pop’ or anything coming from my back at the time, but it sure did hurt like the dickens after I was done, and the rest of that day, and the next day too.

All I can say is, the next time my husband decides to repair outdoor machinery during an Idaho December deep-freeze, I’m going to suggest he install a mammoth furnace in the garage. Because I pretty much think pulling the lawnmower up those thirteen stairs¬† out of the basement might be what hurt my back.

And the next time my younger sister and I are at a party where they have a ping pong table, we’d better not play, or at least, I’d better have lots of muscle relaxants and pain killers on hand in my medicine cabinet for the morning after I chase down all those wayward balls.

One Response to “Ping Pong vs. The Lawnmower”

  1. Just what the doctor ordered. Says:

    Just what the doctor ordered….

    Great work, thanks….

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