2017-07-17 / Columns


Dragging a dinosaur to the cave ain’t easy
KLONIE JORDAN — Executive Editor


We’ve been dealing with them since the beginning of time.

Ever since the first caveman went out with his hunting club and beat his first dinosaur into submission and then had to drag that big old heavy thing back to the cave to feed his family and sprained his lower lumbar (or whatever it is that usually gets sprained in your back), men have been suffering with backaches of an assorted variety and severity.

Some backaches are diagnosable, some aren’t so easy to determine, and some just come and go like the wind, one minute they’re driving us to our knees and the next minute they’re gone.

It’s the last one that keeps giving me trouble. It comes out of nowhere and feels like a sharp knife has been shoved in the base of my spine and then is slowly twisted to and fro. The only relief is to lie motionless for as long as I can and hope it just goes away. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t.

But it’s the “sometimes it doesn’t” that is a problem.

My “mystery” backache always seems to show up at the most inopportune times. I used to complain about it, but I don’t anymore. You know why? Because people really don’t care. I’m not saying they’re insensitive or anything like that, I’m just saying that most everyone has his or her own thing going on and they might say something like, “Oh, that’s too bad; I hope you feel better,” but then they really want you to stop complaining about it and get on with whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing.

It’s like asking someone, “How are you?” People ask that all the time, but they don’t really expect you to give them a REAL answer. If you say anything other than, “I’m fine,” then they have to stand there and glance around and pretend to listen and try to figure out what to say next, all the time wanting to just walk away.

My “mystery” backache flared up Friday night. I wasn’t doing anything to bring it on, wasn’t doing anything strenuous, wasn’t even THINKING anything strenuous. Then, out of nowhere, there it was. It started as a nagging dull ache in my left leg and then it nestled into the small of my back where I knew it was going to camp out for at least the next 36 to 48 hours.

There was nothing I could do. I was helpless. There’s not enough medication, not enough stretching, not enough anything that will help.

I was supposed to be play golf the next day, which I, being the stubborn person I am, went ahead and did despite the pain.

I talked to the backache like it was a person: “You might think you’re going to cause me to sit around and not enjoy myself, but you’re wrong, absolutely wrong,” I say to it. “No way am I sitting here just because you decided to come around and annoy me.”

So I started to get ready to head to the course and the discomfort wasn’t all that bad until I had to bend over to put on my shoes. It’s that bending over thing that’s a real problem when you have a backache. It hurts so bad that it seems like such a waste to do just one thing while you’re bent over like that. So you look around to see if there’s anything else you can do while you’re down there, maybe pick up some loose change off the floor or retrieve that fork under the couch that you dropped two nights ago.

At the golf course, the pain was constant but not unbearable, at least not until I made that first swing. I don’t visit the driving range before I play and I don’t waste a whole lot of time with practice swings. I figure I’ve only got so many swings in me and I’m not wasting them on the driving range.”

I teed the ball up, stepped back to visualize my target line, addressed the ball and took a mighty swing. It was on the follow-through that the pain shot from my back all the way down my left leg and then back up my leg to my neck.

I wanted to cry. I wanted to fall to my knees. I wanted someone to just pick me up and carry me home.

But I was too stubborn. I stuck it out and finished the round. I played through the pain.

It’s just one of those things we men do.

At least I didn’t have to drag a dinosaur back to the cave.

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