Why I didn’t smile at you in the supermarket this week

How do you know if someone is a vegan? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you. I don’t know any vegans and I don’t have a problem with anyone’s food choices, so I probably shouldn’t have smiled at that joke. I thought that the joke would be just as true if it asked ‘How do you know if someone has a bad back?’

The cool thing about being too uncoordinated to participate in sport means you don’t suffer many injuries. And you’ve never felt chronic pain.

So in the ‘I have a bad back’ conversation with someone, I was always like, ‘You poor thing, that sounds dreadful. Oh look! Trail rides! Wanna go horse riding?’

Actually there was that one time I did my shoulder. (It’s a cool term, ‘did’. It means you don’t have to know exactly what you’ve done to yourself, but others know it’s bad. Hurts. A lot. People who’ve ‘done their back’ can walk normally behind you at the school while you lift all the tables and chairs around.)

I did my shoulder a couple of years ago. And it wasn’t playing netball. Not serving in tennis. Not doing a lay-up in basketball (is that what they’re called? Never did one. Too scared to go in the key because I’d get pulled up for standing in it too long. All too fast anyway, that game…).

No. It was nothing like that.

I did my shoulder emptying the drum on our vacuum cleaner.

That’s right. I was spinning it overhead to ensure it was dust-free. These are the perils of housework and why I choose not to do it. Safety first.

But then my shoulder got better and I forgot what it was like to suffer. To have to go to bed because I’m in so much pain and can’t stand it any more. To not be able to undo my own bra or roll over in bed.

Until now.

Now, my chronic-pain-suffering friends, I’m sorry for you. I know why it’s hard to think about much else.

I’ve done my neck. And it’s not so much that my neck is sore (if it was, I’d be much happier). It’s that the spasming muscle high up in my neck is affecting the nerves that run around my head to my eye. So I’ve had a headache behind my eye for two weeks and to be honest, I’m getting really sick of it.

I’ve been to a physiotherapist and he worked wonders before announcing that I’d have a really bad headache in a couple of days. That concerned me, since the day before when I was sitting on the floor leaning against the couch and one of the girls bumped the couch – well… I was already using the term ‘really bad headache’.

Anyway he was right. But I like him and I know that sometimes things have to get worse before they get better. Like you have to eat dinner to get dessert.

So that’s been my last couple of weeks. Growling at my kids if they bumped the couch and walking from their bedroom at 7pm every night straight onto my own, holding one eye.

HaitemGettySource: Haitem on gettyimages

It’s getting better. I’m starting to be able to talk about other things now.

I don’t ever tell people when I have something wrong with me. I don’t see what difference telling somebody makes.

But I’m talking about my sore neck now as a gesture to anyone who has walked behind me while I carried a tower of five stackable chairs, to say I’m sorry that I was mumbling about you under my breath. I get it. You’re in pain. It’s hard to talk about anything else and making a sandwich for your child’s lunch is excruciating.

And talking about it now also gave me a chance to admit that I once did my shoulder emptying the vacuum cleaner.

4 thoughts on “Why I didn’t smile at you in the supermarket this week

  1. You are the FUNNIEST writer I have ever read!!! Such talent!! Oh, and I hope your neck gets better – at least it gives you something inspired to write about!

    Like

  2. Another great story – haven’t seen them on F book for a while until someone posted this. I think u should just put all these stories in a book. Id happily buy it!!

    Like

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