Who knew that the 5th step from the top had calamitous, universe shattering powers. Until 2 weeks ago I had passed heedlessly up and down across this step for well over 20 years, as my child grew up, my career developed, various cats and dogs came and went from our lives, colour schemes changed and our marriage matured. All this while I was oblivious to the truly life changing power held by the 5th step.lThen at 7am it revealed itself in its full bone smashing glory, cracking apart not just my morning, but my back, my independence, my sense of control and poise, and the next 12 weeks of my life, minimum.
The same day that the UK entered its reality shifting heatwave, the day that the British summer decided to behave in ways only known prior to this in myth and fairytale and childhood dreams, my T8 vertebrae was shattered by the sharp edge of the 5th step from the top. In the split second of the impact the bone in my spine fractured, and so did all the structure, purpose and meaning of my life for the foreseeable future. T8 it turns out is quite an important small bone, sitting somewhere near the centre of my body, and when it broke into pieces so did my physical, emotional and psychological well being. In a moment the 5th step had undone me, and the pain was excruciating.
Its hard to sum up the vulnerability of a broken back. In a very visceral way it feels like being broken in half, and you not only can’t or shouldn’t move, but you also have to lie flat facing the ceiling at all times. This leaves you with absolutely no idea of what’s happening around you, even in close proximity, and lying belly up feels very exposed and unsafe. And did I mention the pain…..
I had a thought that writing down my musings and my highs and lows might help me during my recovery from a fractured back, and might also touch themes which resonate with others in trying circumstances of their own. I do warn you however that I am an eternal optimist, and will be no doubt be looking for silver linings, when the pain recedes. Right now though I’m feeling pretty hopeless, in all senses of the word, and am off for some more painkillers……