Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Boredom and goals

I'm bored! I don't think I've said that in 20 years, but then I can't recall a time in the last 20 years when I was stuck in bed, flat on my back, completely awake, and unable to move without moaning in pain.

Today was a gorgeous day! I went out this morning ready to do all the barn cleaning that I couldn't do when we had that gorgeous day last week, because our basement flooded. Today was my day! Or, at least it was supposed to be. It took an hour to get one of the goat pens in the kidding barn almost clean. The straw on the bottom was really heavy, because it was soaked with urine. Rather than taking it in small chunks, I was stabbing my pitchfork deeply into the bedding. It was heavy. I haven't mucked out a stall in a couple months because it's been so ridiculously cold here -- even below zero Fahrenheit on several days. We just throw more straw on top of the old stuff until we have a warm day when we can clean it all out.

Today was the day. I was about 90 percent done with the pen that holds the pregnant does. I stabbed a big hunk of wet straw, turned, tossed it into the wheel barrow, and turned back to get another fork full. Then I said, "Ouch! That hurt!" I paused. "I think I hurt my lower back." Mike suggested I go inside and start lunch while he and Katherine finish the mucking. I didn't think I was hurt that badly, but I didn't think it would be smart to aggravate it by continuing to work, so I headed inside.

By the time lunch was over, Mike had to help me stand up. I'd wince or moan or scream in pain if I moved the wrong way. It became obvious that bed was the only safe place for me. Knowing that NSAIDs will do nasty things to my stomach, but knowing that this is the worst injury I've had in a long time, I decided to take my chances with the pills. I also took a generic Zantac to help mitigate the effects. The last time I was in this much pain was just before my neck was diagnosed with arthritis.

So, I've been laying in bed for the past 10 hours. This was not how I'd planned to spend today. But I'm also happy that I'm living my dream. I look at my mother-in-law and remember what she used to say when she was our age. She wanted to do lots of traveling while she was able, and it's a good thing she did. They traveled all over the world. Although she is still quite able-bodied at 70-something, she is caring for her husband who has Alzheimers, which means she is effectively homebound herself. At least once a week, someone asks me how I juggle all my different projects -- teaching, goats, sheep, kids, writing, cooking, cheesemaking, soapmaking, etc. Today someone asked how I was going to add my new worms to my already busy schedule. Well, you just do it. When something is important enough, you figure out how to do it.

I've never had any confidence that my body was going to last a lifetime. I was born with birth defects in both knees, went through periods of inactivity, braces, splints, surgeries, and even a wheelchair. My orthpedic surgeon's parting words to me at age 15 were, "You'll probably have bone spurs in your knees by your 30s." Maybe that's why I've always felt an urgent need to get things done. In the beginning, I wanted to do all the things I couldn't do before my knees were fixed with surgery as a teenager. Then, I knew I had a deadline.

But everyone has a deadline -- and as my mama used to say, "Tomorrow never comes." She was right. Whenever I say I'll do something tomorrow, it just gets put off day after day. It's not until I decide that I'm doing something now that it actually gets done.

Since I started writing this post, I realized that I was not bored today. I was angry and frustrated. It reminded me of my past, and it represents a future that I fear. This is why I don't waste time watching television, which was my constant companion as a child. And it is why Auntie Mame's words have always resonated with me: "Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death." Most people just don't see the banquet that's out there, but I do, and I want all of it. When I'm stuck in bed, unable to do anything, I'm starving for all the things I could be doing, and I hate it. I want to enjoy the banquet!


Nancy K. said...

Good for you!!
And that's exactly why you WILL have a full life.

In the meantime, I hope your back heals soon! I've had several periods of severe lower back pain and I know how debilitating it can be. Naproxem Sodium (Alieve) works for me...

Sharrie said...

I'm so glad you changed from being bored. I don't allow the word and didn't accept it from my children or my students. I much prefer your other sentiments.

Get well very soon or find some very good books while you wait for healing to happen.

Eileen said...

I can definitely relate to the boredom thing - doing nothing is HARD!!

I also agree with you about the deadline. Knowing that you have a relatively solid one certainly gives you an incentive to do things NOW, but it's a good thing for people to realize that we *all* have one... it's just that most of us don't know when it is. Could be fifty years from now, could be tomorrow - better get the important stuff done NOW.

("Eat the dessert first," as my folks like to say!)

Cat said...

Hope your back is feeling better soon. Never any fun being laid up.


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