A BAD back doesn’t just change your posture, it changes your personality.
It’s something to do with the lightning-rod pain levels, the dubious pain killers you swill to supress it and the little black fear that creeps out of the basement in your brain and tells you it will never, ever go away.
My back problems are always induced by stupid instances that shouldn’t even give me a broken nail. In this case it was carrying some rather swish men’s suits up and down a spiral staircase for a fashion shoot (they say fashion ain’t glamorous and they’re right, since every shoot I’ve ever helped on involves the glitter-free activities of a) heavy lifting and b) having no lunch).
Anyhow, after a day of carrying suits my back muscles contracted into the shape of a car accident and suddenly I went from upright lady to crying, crippled Quasimodo.
Sad, salty little tears leaked out of my face as I tried to navigate motorway traffic while the nerves in my right arm withered and my hand went cold.
“I’ll be fine by the time I get home” I told myself, optimistically. But this, in fact, turned out to be a lie.
I was not fine when I got home and by 10pm I posted the following on my Facebook page.
“Feeling a bit (massive understatement) gutted my back has collapsed into one giant painful spasm – if I go quiet on FB assume I have died and burst all over the carpet.”
Part of me was obeying the modern convention of documenting everything on some kind of social website and the other was hoping that if I did topple over in the shower someone would come and check on me before I starved to death in a pool of my own dismay. Thankfully, after a sweaty sleep of night terrors I was saved the next day by two guardian angels.
A lovely lady who noticed I was moving my neck like a ventriloquist’s doll promptly dolled me up with a stash of codeine and then my chiropractor, Peter Ellison, stayed open late on a FRIDAY so he could trick my back into obedience with his magic ways.
Which all helped to stem the tears and got me thinking maybe I wasn’t destined to be housebound forever.
At which point a sense of overconfidence took root and I started strutting about as if I’d survived a car bomb instead of a muscle spasm.
By Saturday the transformation was complete as I sprawled out on the sofa in a stained hoodie and sweatpants shouting at X Factor while scoffing crisps and administering my back with deep freeze cold spray.
“Gerrrof Frankie you look like a lass!” ... spray ... “Mischa! What you dressed as one of them Quality Street walnut caramels for?” spray ... I had become, in short, a lout.
The pain, the painkillers and the subsequent healing went to my head and turned me into the kind of woman you see on those late-night cop shows who wees in the street and heckles anyone who looks faintly appalled.
Fortunately, my Jekyll and Hyde episode only lasted as long as my bad back did.
Come Monday morning I was almost back to normal. As the drugs wore off and my mobility increased I started saying “Please” and “Thank you” again and donned clean clothes once more.
This is all a great relief and now I’ve gone on about it in my column I’d like to sweep it under the carpet, slowly, while wearing my back brace and bending my knees slightly to avoid any twinges.