Thursday, January 16, 2014

Lift with Your Knees Not with Your Back

So, we have a basement in which we store things. It got messy between me packing up my summer clothes to store until May, and then breaking them out again to pack for my tup to the keys, and Mr. H getting out our Halloween and Christmas decorations. It was a real mess. Also I tend to horde boxes and mailers. So they were just piling up in a pile in the basement. It was bad. There will be no before picture.

This is the basement cleaned up.
I am kind of embarrassed by how messy it still looks. But, it's an
unfinished basement so I guess it's never going to look good.

Since it was warm and Sunny on Monday, I opened up all the windows including the one in the basement and got started on cleaning. I moved a lot of heavy boxes including a giant tub full of clothes that I am thinking about donating and many boxes of books. Mr. H has a box of children's books for our children. My arm hurt a bit so I was careful not to move my arm in ways that hurt it. I did not pay attention to my back at all.

The next morning my back was sore but not too bad. So I sat around and took it easy. But late in the afternoon I decided to do some laundry. I took some dirty laundry down to the basement and dumped it on the floor to sort. I started to fill up the washer and I got it most of the way full. Then I bent over to pick up my the last bit of dirty laundry for first load and I stood up and I felt some of the worst pain I've ever felt.

It was a 10 or a 9 in terms of the worst pain I've felt and I've grabbed the stainless steel handle of a pan that was in a 425º hot oven. (I was trying to make this I think it ended up tasting all right but I can't remember very well because I block out traumatic events.) I did not feel comfortable in any position but I felt most comfortable holding on to the top of the washer.

So, I dug my phone out of my back pocket (thank goodness I was expecting a phone call and carrying it with me) and I called my mom. We determined that it was unlikely that I had a hernia. (I was concerned because when I was little every time I picked up something heavy my dad would say be careful or else you'll get a hernia.) Mr. H was on his way him so I texted him to let him know I was stuck in the basement. I said "I am stuck in the basement" "I hurt my back" "It hurts" "I am talking with my mon".

I talked with my mom for a bit then I heard someone coming to the back door so I hung up because I thought it was my lovely husband who had come to rescue me. They rang the door bell and I was all WTF I told him I was stuck in the basement. I sent him some more texts "B" "I am in the basement" "Back hurts." He didn't come in. The person was still out side waiting.

The Washer. To the left is the "drying rack" I used as a walker.

I did not feel excruciating pain when I was hunched over and using my arms to support myself. So I used the metal "drying drying rack" (I don't think it's a drying rack but my in-laws gave it to us and said it was) as a walker. It is very light so I carried it a few steps and rested. When I made it to the stairs I used the railing but the whole process was so painful.

And at the door was my BIL with a new backpack for Mr. H and my clean cake saver. I thanked him and apologized for taking so long to get to the door since I had hurt myself. We made some small talk then I got some pain meds and hobbled over to the couch.

My allergist told me not to take ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) because it could be contributing to my seemingly random anaphylaxis episodes. But, it hurt so much and I was so sure that the reason it hurt was because of horrible amounts of inflammation happening in my back. So, I took some ibuprofen. I usually take tylenol but that just helps with pain and doesn't help with inflammation. I was fine in terms of allergic reactions.

Mr. H came home soon thereafter and brought me my hiking pack so I would have my epi-pen, an inhaler, and some extra antihistamines just in case. He also brought me water and helped set up my heating pad. (Which was already on the couch because I my arm was sore.) He left to go tutor someone and I just chilled in pain on the coach. Thank goodness for the DVR and texting.

Mr. H came home with a frozen pizza. He made dinner and he finished dealing with the load of laundry I had started. He helped me move into a sitting position so that I could eat it. Standing up and then sitting down again were the most painful thing but I wasn't able to find a position in which I didn't feel at least some pain.

Before Sunset at 3:30

I was able to get up the stairs to start getting ready for bed. I totally crawled up them like a baby. I was so surprised I was able to stand up long enough to brush my teeth. But I didn't think I would be able to make it through washing my face so I didn't. I felt so gross not washing my face but I guess a lot of people don't and their just fine. Then I got into bed and could not get comfortable at all! I tried a pillow under my knees but I don't know how much that helped. I tossed and turned in pain all night. I'd be okay right after I moved but pain would build up and I'd feel like I'd have to move again.

The next day I was able to get out of bed by myself! I was able to shower and get dressed! But I couldn't bend over. It was hard to get socks on.

One of the things I find weird about Maine is that they put a mixture of salt,
sand, and gravel on the roads. In Chicago it's just road salt. The grit
really helps for traction on the ice but it looks hideous.

I went for a lovely walk late in the afternoon since it was warm and sunny. I wanted to stretch my back a little so that it didn't end up all locked up and frozen in place. But I probably over did it. I was only planning to be out for 15 to 20 minutes but I was out for half an hour. Pictures from my walk are scattered throughout.

The melt water cuts channels in the thick ice at the end of driveways.

After I got back I rested and then I made dinner for us and I timed it perfectly! It was ready as soon as Mr. H got home. He brought me dinner on the couch even though I instead that I was much better. I love him so and I am so happy that he's here and so helpful. He tried so hard to be helpful and was so concerned. I am also thankful that my body usually works well to help me get the things I need to get done, done.

Moral of the Story: Lift with your knees, not with your back.


  1. Oh man, there is nothing worse than hurting your back! Hope it's feeling better!

    1. I am all better! And now I know to be extra careful when I clean up the other half of the basement.


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