Sent back to Earth with a bewildering bump

LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
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Tuesday, 7.15am, a red hot ice cold explosion of agony goes KA-POW! deep inside my upper left buttock, the resultant shock wave hitting my brain one nanosecond later, sweeping effortlessly aside all sense and reason.

The railway bridge I had been tentatively traversing immediately prior at once becomes a giddy carousel of dark sky, bright light and gritted walkway. A rapidly rotating vista, I note, fashioned entirely from warm, oozing caramel – but one which almost immediately capsizes, melts away...

Into blackness.

Next thing, a concerned face fills my view. Who is this? Where am I? Why am I flat out, my head in a puddle?

‘You alright mate?’

Eventually I recognise one of the friendly lads who staff our local station. But who am I?

‘You alright mate?’

He wants to know if I’m alright mate. Am I alright mate? Search me mate.

‘I’ve done my back at weekend mate,’ I gibber weakly.

‘I’m ****ed.’

An accurate, albeit loutish, account of the status quo as pertained.

Your humble correspondent had indeed ‘done’ himself some unknown mischief around the lower lumbar (in circumstances too banal to detain us long here; suffice to say ‘twas in the course of transferring a bulky object from A to B) and the repercussions of said doing were, quite evidently, ongoing. My 25-minute walk – one which normally takes 10 or less – to the station had been marked by a steady thrum of rising discomfort in, around and beneath aforementioned cheek, punctuated throughout by jolts only slightly less intense than that outlined at our outset. Thus, by the time I was handed a return ticket to Wakefield, chilly flop sweat attended every square inch of my goose-bumped oscillating person, and subsequent steps toward the platform were taken on legs sturdy as two strands of fresh cooked spaghetti.

Weakened, faltering, the coup de grâce, when it came, was worthy of a master matador, Manolete himself maybe; a lightning strike, felling the hapless wounded beast in a dead faint. Which is where we came in.

The point of all that has since been written? Take from this brief entertainment only the following harshly acquired wisdom. Your spine is not your shoulder. Or your thigh. Or any of the various body parts which, having sustained injury, will in most cases respond favourably to a quick rub, a fistful of painkillers and the resumption of business as usual.

It is your spine. An infinitely complex, precariously stacked matrix of nerve tissue which, paid insufficient regard, can floor you in the blink of an eye and keep you there a lifetime, if it so pleases. So go to the doctor then do as they say.

Put simply: Watch. Your. Back. Lest it see you off.