Throwing your back out is embarrassing.
I was riding my bike home on Tuesday. When I stood on my pedals to hustle through an intersection, my lower back seized up. I managed to pedal to the other side of the street in slow motion while a car crawled behind me, waiting to turn.
You guys, I was holding up traffic.
Once I made it to the side of the road, I sat on my bike for a couple of minutes, one foot on the curb, confused as to what to do next. Cyclists passed me and looked over their shoulders at my stunned expression. I probably should have asked for help, but my instincts told me that hiding my shame was a better plan.
Somehow I managed to lift my right leg over my bike frame and hobble to some steps. That's where I sat until my family came to get me 10 minutes later. While I was waiting, I refused to make eye contact with the pedestrians who looked my way. I don't think I managed to hide my pain though. I was hugging the stair railing and sitting at an awkward angle, grimacing. Not as low profile as I would have liked.
I couldn't stand or walk, so Michael and his brother Matthew carried me to my parents' van. With one arm around each of their shoulders, they kept me in the sitting position and put me on the floor of the Westfalia.
Nothing to see here, folks.
Once home, I sat in the driveway for a good 30 minutes -- surrounded by my mom, my dad and Michael -- before we concluded that I wasn't leaving the van. We drove to the hospital instead, and an ambulance attendant helped me into a wheel chair. A few hours and an x-ray later, I left with pain killers and instructions to lay low for the next few days.
Back at home, I was still embarrassed about the whole situation. There were so many witnesses! Sure, they were witnesses that gave me hugs and birthday cards, but they were witnesses all the same. When Matthew left for the airport (he's moving back to Saskatchewan), I had to say goodbye from my bed. Same for my parents. They left for Seattle on Wednesday, and my last hours with them were spent in the bedroom. For shame.
Now Michael and I are on our own until our roomies return from their holiday on Monday. My back is much better, and I'm moving around on my own, for the most part. I've left the house to see my doctor and a physiotherapist, and I even went to my ukulele class this morning. I decided to forgo a cab and walk home, which was the wrong thing to do. The embarrassment crept back as old women clipped past me on the sidewalk and drivers glared at me as they waited for me to amble across the street.
If my doctors are right, I'm a couple of weeks away from being back to normal and leaving those ladies in the dust.
Spare yourselves the embarrassment, friends. Be nice to your backs!