Thursday, January 25, 2007

Twist and Shout

Even in this age of recycling and environmental awareness, there are still plenty of things that we throw out: shrink wrap plastic, old underwear, my back. Actually, I probably didn't throw my back out, but I came close. It's as though I put it in the trash can (recycle bin for windoze users), and it's just waiting to see if it gets thrown out or miraculously restored.

It was yesterday morning, as I was about to walk out, I tossed something into the bathroom trash can, which required a slight bend and twist. What it didn't require was a popping sound and a wrenching pain from one side of my lower back, but that's what came with the bend and twist.

I tested my back quickly, you know, to see if I could still walk after I managed to straighten up without whimpering too loud. Hm. One foot seemed to go in front of another, albeit with the sensation of a red hot poker twisting through my kidney, but whatever--I could still walk. So I got on my bike and rode to work. I figured that the ride might loosen the muscles up a bit. They may not have loosened up on the ride, but they didn't clench up and cause my legs to stiffen up and shoot straight out from my hips as though rigor mortis had set in while I was in the midst of some yoga pose like Downward Facing Dog either, although it was touch-and-go climbing the hills.

The hot, hot, hot shower at work helped keep my back loose, although by the afternoon it was stiffening up again. Again, the ride home neither cured it nor caused yoga mortis, but I was an aching puppy yesterday night. So after implementing the first part of the testosterone cure for a debilitating injury--walk it off--I implemented the second part--self-medication with booze. After three glasses of wine, I wasn't feeling any more limber, but I wasn't hurting as much either. A few generic Tylenols before bed, and I slept like a dog--without the scratching around and whimpering while I dreamed. I hope.

This morning, and all day today, my back felt better, although there were still some things that I couldn't do, like reach my feet from any position. That made putting on and taking off socks pretty interesting, but I'm getting used to that, and discovering new uses for pieces of furniture that I had never imagined.

All of this trouble over a scrap of trash has gotten me thinking, particularly since I can't move well enough to actually do anything. My first thought is that we should probably start going back to yoga soon, although I might have to stand through the whole class, since I don't think I could get to the floor unless someone tripped me, in which case I would be trapped in the yoga studio like a capsized turtle until rescued by a masseuse. My second thought is a series of questions that I don't have the answers to, that I thought perhaps you, oh wise denizens of the innernets, could delurk and answer, or even just ruminate on:

  • By demonstrating a "walk it off" response to potentially serious injuries, do I put my son at risk?
  • How do parents determine what is a serious injury to their child, when there is no outward sign of injury?
  • What is the best way to inculcate healthy habits in my child?
I've got some thoughts and reflections from my own upbringing that I'll share, but I want to hear from y'all first. You know, I'll show you mine if you show me yours.

So, you regular commenters, lemme know, and you lurkers too.

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  1. I think the answer to all three questions is honest communication. Talking about things openly and addressing the most awkward of topics with ease, will put him at ease as well.

    Some things need ice packs; others you need to just suck it up. Many things can hurt without showing a bruise or wound; your back or your pride. And by doing anything right yourself is the best way to see that manifest itself in your child.

    It all sounds so easy when it's on paper, doesn't it?

    Take care of yourself.

  2. Anonymous11:54 AM

    I think Steve is on point. Doing the walk it off is ok, but you and 3B have to learn when that dont work and the pain is still thee the next day then maybe u need to see doc watson.

    As much as you want to teach him things like not walking it off, the dudes at school will impac him as well.

    Also Cilas sisters 1 year old broke his leg at a play date very little crying they didnt know anything was really wrong for a day until swollen. Some kid did a hulk hogan and dropped in on him. He is doing great even with a cast. I predict it will make his left leg super human strong and he will make millions as a kicker.

    TCB on 3B becoming a left handed thrower and making pa and ma millions.

  3. Anonymous5:56 PM

    With my motorcycle accident in November, I had quite a few injuries here and there. LA Toddler called them my "owies." She was extremely curious, it seemed to us, but she was probably more than a little frightened.

    As days went by, after the accident, I ended up 'walking off' a lot of the injuries because I didn't want her to worry or freak out about me. She was starting to get to the point that she didn't want me near her because of my owies, so I sort of hurried up my recovery. The limp went away whenever she was near, and such.

    I think maybe for her age (2.5) it was the right thing to do and didn't teach any bad lessons. Had she been older, I would have probably given her a bit more reality.

  4. I was raised by a stoic swedish dad who eschewed doctors and medications. I still hate taking medicine except for herbs (just some leaves, right?) and homeopathy (diluted into oblivion).

    I'm pretty straightforward about medicines and owies with my kids: no histrionics, but an acceptance that sometimes we need help. I don't think suffering is such a great behavior to model for our kids, within reason.

    Sometimes (like with the broken leg story above) you just don't know that something's wrong. And with really little kids, even if they can talk they can't necessarily tell you what's wrong.

    I use their behavior as a guide: they might have a fever, but if they're playing happily I'm not going to worry about it; they're asking to be held all the time and don't want to eat, then I start to worry.

    The best way to inculcate (nice word choice by the way) healthy habits? Be healthy yourself.

    PS: I recommend chiropractic!

  5. Anonymous11:35 AM

    I've always lived by the "first walk it off, and if that doesn't work then suck it up" philosophy, much at odds with d.w.'s "medicate at the first sign of discomfort" philosophy, although I'm sure she would put it somewhat differently. With Chins, I suppose we'll cross that bridge when we come to it...

  6. Anonymous8:02 PM

    I'm with d.w and feel that 'better safe than sorry' is a good practice. I'd feel guilty if I tried the 'walk it off' approach and something were really wrong with my kid and it got worse. Plus I wouldn't want them to think I didn't find their pain/discomfort important.

    Of course, we *don't* have kids so really, all this might change. Or I could become super neurotic and live at the hospital, just in case.

    Communicate and lead by example. That's all I got for you.

    And hope your back feels better! Valium worked for me!!!!!! (smile)