Get Back: part, the second

You’d better read Part the First first, or you’ll be even more confused than usual on this blog.

Pamela Anderson X Ray

Back in the days before cellphones (although Alexander Graham Bell had been invented, parts of what we considered to be the civilized world were still on a party line, and this was one of them) breaking your back when you’re three miles from home down a back road, with no way to get home but to climb back on the horse and ride it, was what could be considered something of a challenging situation, not to overstate the case.

Fortunately, Abby the quarterhorse, who was colloquially known around the barn as Flabigail, was not the kind of horse that notices her rider has fallen off and then high-tails it for the plains of Alberta. No indeed. Flabigail was the kind of horse who notices her rider has fallen off and then stops dead and attempts to cram as much grass into her gullet as possible before she has to go back to work. That horse would stop halfway out a burning barn for a mouthful of hay, and she was never what you’d consider “malnourished” in the first place.

Fat Horse

So catching the horse was less a matter of standing up and chasing her as it was rolling over to the ditch, uprooting a handful of crab grass, and waving it in the air until she focused in my direction. Mission accomplished, the next task was climbing back on, given that it was clear I’d be unable to walk. Unfortunately, climbing onto a 16:2 horse when you’ve got a broken back isn’t really measurably easier than walking three miles, but I’d wasted half an hour trying before I figured that out. With a lucky combination of climbable rail fence and helpful passer by, I managed to mostly drag myself up by the strength of my arms while using the fence as a ladder I climbed backwards, and assumed a graceful position lying in agony along the horse’s neck for the slow plod home, whereupon I called my mother on the, yes, party line, who drove over to the farm and took me to the doctor, who sent me to the hospital for X-rays and expected me to walk, they really WERE cruel in those days, gave me a lot of weird tests including that funny one where they hit your knees with the little mallet and one where he scratched my feet with a nail (felt like a nail on the left, like a q-tip on the right) and explained that I had cracked two vertebrae, that I had done some minor but probably permanent nerve damage, and that I’d simply have to tough it out.

No fancy body casts for me. No crutches. Not so much as a note, so when I discovered I could only go up stairs sideways (couldn’t lift my knees in front of me) and was consequently late for all my classes that were one or more floors apart, I got detention. And then the teachers got a piece of my mother’s mind, and suddenly that wasn’t a problem anymore.


So, that was the last time my back gave me trouble. And that was neither yesterday, nor the day before. Hard to believe, but true.


Until…nothing. It was quite recent, but whatever it was, it wasn’t anything; which is to say: a phenomenon manifested, a phenomenon almost entirely consistent with my earlier injury, except I haven’t fallen off any horses lately. I haven’t fallen of a horse in FAR TOO LONG, in fact! I’m relatively sure that the doctor would find nothing, but the paranormalist would find a great deal of interest in my case. And you can insert any cheap jokes you like at this point.

In any case, suddenly, out of the blue (indigo? turquoise? what kind of blue does it come out of? surely not the same kind that porn is named for, or does it and if so is there a connection? because a lot of those moves look like they’d be quite hard on your back, now that I think of it, particularly the one with the piano) I was in similarly excruciating pain, although this time I’d been smart enough to have it strike at home.

Well, what were its options, really? I’m either at home, at the web cafe, or at the Irish Heather, and if it had happened there I’d simply have called for more whiskey until I couldn’t feel the pain anymore. So it struck at home, and for a period of about five weeks I had to pick my legs up one by one to get into the bathtub or cross my legs or put on my socks, and as for trucking this whopper of a laptop all over town in the backpack as I was wont to do, well I just didn’t wont to do it anymore. And why not? Because it wasn’t possible, that’s why.

And so, time passed. Unfortunately, the bad back thing, whatever it was, did not, and going to the doctor and getting X-rays again got me exactly what it got me the first time, although this time it came from a very nice lady doctor with very unfortunate taste in decor (Dolores Umbridge, MD) and not from a very brusque, bearded Englishman with no time for silly girls who fall off horses. So, the pain continued.

So, I did what I always do when I have a problem. I whined about it on the internet.

Those of you who mock this do not understand the power of social media. The power of social media is specifically the power to give me what I want when I’m whining, as even the most cursory glance over this blog would tell you. I whine about my header on Valleywag and Matt Mullenweg fixes my blog. I whine about my ancient, stuttering computer and five people on three different continents pitch in to buy me a new one. I whine that my power cord is dead and soon I have a positive lineup of free power cords, enough to knit my own computer if only I knew how. I’m sure there are instructions on Make somewhere.

So, I whined about my bad back. I whined on Twitter. I whined on Facebook. I whined on the blog. I whined in the forum. And since I added Getsocial buttons to all of those posts, I’m sure that somehow I’ve managed to whine on Stumbleupon, Digg, Reddit, and any number of other platforms of which I am not even a member. All of which is to say, if you think you’re a whiner, sweetie, you’re not even in it!

And, as always, someone I know from online talked to someone else online, and before you knew it (well, you didn’t know it till I told you, did you, and we haven’t even gotten to that part of the story yet, so you don’t even know it yet, although you may suspect, for lo, my blog has a discerning and intelligent readership) my problem was solved, and that for free.

Which is about all I can afford lately, but here’s how it went down:

I whined. Right, we’ve covered that part. Well, Cathy Browne is not one to take whining lying down, so she (if only to shut me up) contacted Coast Mobile Massage, whom I’d met at the ING Tweetup, which was truly one of the best tweetups of, like, all time, it containing not only many interesting people I hadn’t already met at five other events that week, but also an open bar, free sushi, and free massages, of which I availed myself, you better believe!

And my back did, indeed, feel significantly better after ten or fifteen minutes of chair massage, which is by the way, way cooler than chair dancing. Chair dancing will never be cool, and no way is that good for your back. You see that Numa Numa guy? Does he look like an avatar of Apollo to you? I rather think not.

Apollo Belvedere, but I don't see any vodka in this shot at all

So. I felt slightly better for a number of days, and then my back decided that was enough of that and decided to regress. Six weeks and no progress is a long time to be picking your knees up by hand, my friends, so I whined. Oh, right, we covered that.

And the next thing I knew, Coast Mobile Massage was hitting me up on Twitter, saying they knew about my issue and they thought a good session of proper table massage would be just the thing, in which we were as of one mind. Well, we wouldn’t have been, as I am a massage skeptic, except that the chair massage had unquestionably helped, and I am far too poor to say no to valuable services which are offered to me for free. Although perhaps auditing sessions are an exception; L Ron and I have never seen eye to eye on the Thetans in volcanos thingy. So, even though I had a masseur as a roommate for eight months and was daily lectured on the benefits of massage, holistic healing, and a raw vegan diet (or maybe because of it, now that I think of it; that info about the goose shit in rice paddies was just way more than I needed to hear over lunch or, really, ever) I was resistant to the orthodoxy of the massage-industrial complex.

No more. Hell, I’d even PAY for this if I had to!

And I don’t say that every day. I don’t even say that every decade, ask anyone I owe money to. To whom I owe money. Whatever. JustFuckingGoogleIt.

And so, it came to pass that I got a proper massage. And by that I don’t mean one of those trendy aromatherapized, coloured-lights and heated rocks rubdowns from a male model who’s just biding his time till Calvin Klein takes note (not that, if you’re offering, I’d turn you down. Try me); I mean the kind that involves ninety minutes of being stretched as effectively as if you were on a rack, except that on a rack you don’t have the diversion of wondering if the platform will collapse under the pressure.

Apparently, as the masseuse [update; it was Katherine, and very grateful to her I am, too!] was “smoothing out the deep tissues” or whatever it is that they’re doing when my back is turned on them and I’m staring at the tweed carpet thinking a shag would at least be more interesting to stare at for ninety minutes, she could actually see my spine getting longer. I was all creased up in there, somehow. And now I’m not, because after she finished, I got off the table feeling not a little contused and dented and somewhat grumbly (we have previously established, have we not, that complaining is my default? yes) I got dressed, bent over to tie my shoes, and nearly snapped my back in two bolting upright as I realized I’d just bent literally double to tie my shoes without the slightest pain or difficulty. That nasty catch that I had been experiencing for the past six weeks went into the ether, buh-bye, and simply has never come back.

Elvis can have it.

And, according to Coastal Massage, you can have 20% off if you mention this blog post when you book with them. Which you should do, because otherwise I will start whining again, this time about the loss of my social media pulling power, and nobody wants to hear me whine, now, do they?

Do ya, punk?

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13 thoughts on “Get Back: part, the second

  1. Pingback: Get Back! Part the First « raincoaster

  2. Glad it’s working. I have somebody I go to in Victoria every 3-4 weeks. Really helps when you’re on the computer a lot.

  3. I was really, honestly pretty floored by how effective it was. The pain just simply never came back. And i’m not just saying that because I got the massage for free; check the blog, I have NO PROBLEM getting things for free and then bitching about them if I don’t like them.

  4. Love that picture of (Fl)Abigail! Let’s get you some wheels for your laptop. I can only imagine whose lap that would fit on? It may not be the cause, but it certainly didn’t help. Speaking of Social Media: you landed in the Business section just under Microsoft launches Windows 7!

  5. I landed in the Business Section of WHAT, exactly? Now I’m all curious.

    And yeah, for hte past three months I’ve been using a granny cart to haul the laptop around. Makes shopping really easy!

  6. That would be The Vancouver Sun on Friday October 23rd (C4). I thought you were just trying to fit in with the ‘granny cart’. Why did we used to call them ‘jungle buggies’?

  7. I’m just getting caught up in my blog reading. Sorry I’m late!

    How great that your back is so much better. And that you got the massage for free, to boot. (But ouch. That business of getting back on a horse with a broken back sounds agonizing.)

  8. It was, believe me. Not to mention the bystander laughing her head off. I’m lucky I didn’t sever something.

    And yeah, I’ve never had a problem with the back since. It’s amazing, truly.

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