Help Aubrey

At the end of each year lies the holiday trifecta – a three-tiered crown we reach for, stretching our fingers across the vapid expanses of Spring and Summer.

They are familiar dates.  But this year they were different.

Halloween:  Threw my back out.

Thanksgiving:  Severe back spasms – the worst I’ve ever had – possibly brought on by pulled and angry muscles (see above) set in as soon as we set down to dinner.  Dinner cancelled.

Christmas:  Less than two weeks before Christmas, I’m diagnosed with sciatica. Am given anti-inflammatory pills and a recommendation for bed rest.  Bed rest which gave me the second-most severe bout of back spasms I’ve ever experienced (see above)

Aubrey Is Ailing

Aubrey Is Ailing

So, my holiday season – my tri-fold multiplication of celebration – has instead of being about anticipation and rustling and planning and baking and decorating – has been all about the pain.   Today, I’m on the mend, but weak, with a nagging, tugging pain between knee and ankle.  Sitting and typing this post for more than 5 minutes is a major victory.  Putting up 3-4 tree decorations between rests, brewing a pot of coffee – these all require jumps for joy (if I could).

Now, another problem is that I can’t believe that those tiny pills and something as mild as bed rest are all that were needed to solve all this anguish.  I know that to solve a physical ailment, one looks to the physical things – medicines, therapy, etc.  But I haven’t taken into consideration the intellect; the mentality.   I’m concerned that I lack belief.  Without faith, I’m afraid that I will not become healthy again.

And I need to be well for New Year’s Eve in Catalina!

So, I turn to you, my ethereal invisible.  Aubrey needs some good words from her darling friends.  If you find yourself moved to do so – if you the idea appeals to you – could you send some helpful thoughts?  In other words…Help Aubrey

Aubrey Needs A Fainting Couch

Aubrey Needs A Fainting Couch


24 responses to “Help Aubrey

  1. I wish I had something useful to suggest. Instead, I’m sending warm, positive thoughts, and gentle cyber-hugs. (And lying on a pile of sheets and towels just taken from the dryer, all toasty warm, is very soothing.)

  2. Make that thing about the sheets and towels “leaning against” — you just want your back leaning on them.

  3. Dear Aubrey, I hope you can find a way to relax despite the pain. (Perhaps the yoga sort of guided relaxation exercise where you close your eyes and slowly and separately tell the different parts of your body to relax.)

    With a therapist’s help, I found that relaxing can be the first step toward believing in oneself or in achieving the best outcome to a situation. I know it’s hard when you’re in pain, but it did help me with childbirth.

    I wish you strength and love. Take care of yourself.

  4. Float along with this for a time…. It’s beautiful and ethereal, which means it fits here quite nicely.

  5. I hope you are getting some sleep at night. It’s very difficult when lying down actually increases the pain in your back, but I’ve found over the years that a succession of several nights—and days—of good sleep is very healing for the body.

    Also, are you getting help while you are recovering? It’s oftentimes a relief just to have some caring person nearby, brewing tea, quietly sweeping the floors and doing the washing up.

    I’m also a firm believer in holistic medicine. Yes, you need to believe you will get well—I certainly do and am sending positive energy your way! But training yourself to relax those muscles will help speed your recovery.

    Don’t forget to speak to your body as if it were a small, frightened child. Soothe it and let it know it is loved and cherished (even when you wish you could trade it for one that’s 20 years younger 😉 ). Rub it gently and sing it to sleep, or find someone who will do it for you.

  6. Try some of these :
    A placebo effect minty mint is guaranteed. It’s been known to charm snakes, remove wrinkles, reduce appetite in the overweight, increase appetite in the slender. It will rotate your tires, feed your cats, and suspend your sense of disbelief. Be careful not to overdo it, the sudden increase in vitality can be disquieting to your loved ones and pets.

  7. In these circumstances, I find that a heating pad is truly the best medicine. Have Boyfriend pop out to a drug store and buy one (get the largest size possible), place it on or under your back, and think un-knotty thoughts.

    For the portable version, get this or the generic equivalent thereof.

    And the mints will at least make your languishing smell better. Perhaps you could substitute candy canes for the seasonal atmosphere.

  8. For my calf and foot cramps, I take potassium pills. Cheaper and less filling than eating a dozen bananas per day.

  9. feel better! kitty snuggles and purrs always help. I would lend you a Miao Bro if I could.

  10. Aubs, you have written eloquently of many historical women of fortitude in all kinds of challenges. You will be one of them, I just know it.

  11. I can only talk to the physical part, not the psychological (but yes, holidays are Stressful!). First, gentle stretching, then yoga, then both plus some kind of stomach exercise. When my back aches, it has to do with being in my head instead of in my body. That sounds so NoCal, I know, but still. I hope you feel better soon.

  12. Catherine Johnson

    Pernaton gel is good for muscle pain but for a big area I think massage therapy would be good. I hope it eases up before Christmas, take care!

  13. Rest, heating pad and a castor oil pack is also helpful. And kitty nurse maids to lie on or beside you, purring you back to health.

  14. Poor dear Aubrey. Read “Healing Back Pain” by John Sarno MD. It’s an amazing book. You don’t have to believe everything he says, just read it. I had excrutiating back pain before my knee surgery in ’08 and read it on the recommendation of a friend. In 3 days my pain was gone.
    Or try a myofascial therapist CA must have a million of them.

    As for faith, or belief–everyone has faith in something…

  15. I don’t have any good advice. When I throw my back out, I take handfuls of Advil for a couple weeks, even though I have a feeling that getting more exercise to strengthen my back would prevent the pain in the first place. I think exercise would probably cure a lot of my health issues. I’ve turned into a slug. 😦

    But take care of yourself and don’t overdo it, and I hope you’re feeling 1000% better soon!!

  16. Oh I’m sorry you have been suffering at all but for this long is really terrible. As someone who has had back problems–including sciatica–since I was a teenager, I understand.
    Mentholatum rub and advil or something like it, and massage helps if BF is available for that for immediate relief. If you can get out and about you can go for a professional massage and/or go see a chiropractor. I’m sure there are some in your area who are on the holistic side of things, I mean, it kind of is by nature but there are some who are more into it than others, who can recommend some other remedies.
    In the long run, if you’re not doing yoga or pilates or anything that strengthens your abs, that’s where you should focus when you get better. I have an inversion table too which kind of straightens me out when I need it. You could probably google some restorative yoga poses to help with lower back pain…but you may not even be able to do them till you are feeling better. I think you just need to take it easy and do the first things I mentioned. Hopefully Boyfriend is accommodating! Also if you can try to lie flat on your back when you sleep, you have to try to get things evened out.
    But I have been there when you can’t even sit comfortably. It was fun in high school. *hugs* I hope you feel better in time for your trip.

  17. With all the comments here I’m sure someone has suggested acupuncture. It helps with the emotional healing as well as the physical. I agree that the mental side is as important, and I think part of that is finding those tiny little things that feel like catching your breath. Keep in mind that when you’re not sleeping, everything seems magnified. As you heal physically and are able to get more rest, the mental healing will follow. My husband has chronic pain from ankylosing spondilitis and a lot of the pain is in his back and hips. He finds sleeping under an electric blanket helps. A heating pad or hot water bottle wasn’t enough, but an electric blanket was. He sleeps under one even in the summer. Sending positive thoughts your way.

  18. oh no!!! poor thing. as one who empathizes tremendously with your pain (herniated discs years ago — flare-ups for life, yays!), there really is much you can do to help yourself… but above all else, be PATIENT with your body.

    fainting couches really are a wonderful idea. 🙂 but i found yoga to be key, strengthening the muscles around the spine. i do use drugs *when needed*, and heating pads (moist!). much love and light to you now — don’t let the stress of the season exacerbate the situation!

  19. Aubrey… I know it hurts. (Been there and done that.) I am so sorry you’re going through this.

    Everyone else has had great suggestions; just wanted to add that maybe a rec. for medical mj might be of help to you as well. (Don’t know how you feel about that, but thought I’d throw it out on the table just in case… it certainly is no silver bullet, but it might help both the pain and inflammation while your back is healing. Topical balms and vaporizers for use as an inhalant are good.)

  20. Take lots of hot baths/showers, sleep a lot, and get some shoe inserts (I think it’s the plantar fascitis ones which also help with sciatica), and take all the drugs you can tolerate.

    You know, Catalina had a big quake a week ago. Maybe you don’t have sciatica but just “earthquake back”, like I do (spasms before quakes).

    Don’t do any dual-leg lift exercises (that still gives me attacks).

    I’ll send good juju for your rapid recovery & happy holidays!

  21. People have already mentioned all the things I’d suggest.
    So I’ll just have to send good thoughts and wishes.

  22. Oh, all of Aubrey’s forest friends have come to the rescue! Thank you so much for your wisdom and kindness! I am much better, but still have not achieved Aubrey-completeness. I will be doing some physical therapy in the New Year. This will give me some time to buy something to wear – fetching of course, yet also suitable for when one is being stretched and pulled.

    Yet for all that, it IS a very pretty fainting couch.


  23. Glad to hear you are slowly on the mend. Since everyone is sending great practical advice, I would suggest a nightly martini. Because if you must suffer, you must also allow for moments of pleasurable indulgences.

  24. And seconding the heating pad
    They can perform miracles.
    You ignore the fifteen minute thing and just get a good book and let it work.
    It won’t undo the nerve thing, but it will unkink the muscles that are screwing things up.

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