A Physical Disaster

I have been on hiatus from my blog for the last two weeks. It wasn’t by choice, but was forced upon me by things outside of my control. You see, my body betrayed me—not once, but twice. It all started on Thanksgiving morning.

Knowing that excessive eating and drinking was in store for me that day, I set my alarm for 7:00 am. I wanted to start the day off right. This may not seem all that early if there is a turkey to stuff so that it is ready by 3:00. This, however, was not in my plan, as each year I cheat on Thanksgiving. I don’t mean the kind of cheating like going off of a diet (which of course I do). I mean that—as much as I love to cook— I order our Thanksgiving feast from a fabulous French restaurant.

The first time we did this was seven years ago—the year our son was born. A week after his birth, we found ourselves moving into a new home, which also happened to be just a few days before Thanksgiving. My mother had seen an advertisement in a local paper for a complete Thanksgiving dinner: turkey, stuffing with roasted chestnuts, haricot vert with garlic, fresh cranberries, potatoes (both sweet and mashed), salad with balsamic vinaigrette, biscuits, gravy, and an apple torte for dessert. On that Thanksgiving day seven years ago, I discovered something incredible: by ordering the entire meal, I could enjoy it without any of the stress of cooking and I could use the time I would have been in the kitchen to drink and play games with the family. A tradition was born.

Now back to this Thanksgiving.

As I was saying, I woke up early to start the day off right, and that meant going to hot yoga. I couldn’t think of a better way to prepare for a full day of gluttony than by burning hundreds of calories in a 105 degree room. Just as I was about to get dressed, I noticed that the living room was a bit messy. As I was tossing a napkin into the garbage, I felt a sudden blinding pain shoot through my lower back, and into my legs. I could no longer stand up, and had to grab hold of the furniture next to me so that I wouldn’t go crashing to the floor.

After what felt like an eternity, I slowly dragged myself down the hall to my bedroom to wake up my husband. By the time I got there, I was hysterical and unable to get out the words to tell him that I’d hurt my back. When I finally told him, he got dressed so he could get me some kind of painkiller—we had nothing in the house. Rather than lie in the bed—which suddenly felt too soft—I had him help me back to the living room where I could lie on the floor. While he was off at the pharmacy, I decided to call my mom to get her opinion as to what I might have done to my back. I received all of the proper sympathy that a child wants to get from her parent, but—as she hasn’t had many back issues—she couldn’t give me a diagnosis. A few minutes after we hung up, my younger sister called. Unfortunately for her, she is an expert on back pain, as she is a chronic sufferer due to an injury while in the Army. Fortunately for me, however, she gave me some practical advice that would help me be able to get up off the floor, and would help me to walk. I did everything she told me, and once I felt the pain subside a little, I attempted to get up on my own. What I found was, although the pain was still there, it was much more mild and I could walk without much discomfort. Thanksgiving was saved!

Then I woke up the next day.

The pain was back, and if it weren’t debilitating enough to be in constant pain in any position, I suddenly found myself with a fever. My body had betrayed me a second time. I spent the next three days in a somewhat delirious state brought on by a temperature of 102. In fact, it is such a blur that I can’t even distinguish one day from the next as I try to write about it now. All I can say is that by Monday morning, I was determined to get to both the chiropractor and the doctor. What I found out was that I had hurt a disk in my lower back, and I had bronchitis.

During those five days in bed, I didn’t turn on my computer once. It is the longest I have gone without logging into Facebook or Twitter since becoming a mild social-media addict. It is also the longest I have gone without writing even a single sentence for my blog. Now, if you did that math about how many days it has been since my body fully recovered, you will have noticed that I’ve been better for more than a week. I’ll explain my other reason for not writing in my next post, which will be in a few days. Promise.

[By the way, I have no photos of this year’s Thanksgiving, as taking pictures was the last thing on my mind. The pictures in this post are from  Thanksgivings 2009, courtesy of my sister, and fellow blogger Kate.]

Published by Erin Rehill

A few years ago, my then eight-year-old daughter told me that she wished I could write down all the things I told her so that she wouldn’t forget them when she got older. In that moment, my daughter gave me such a sense of validation, something I hadn’t really experienced in that way. As parents, we don’t often receive confirmation from our children that we are doing a good job, or that we even know what we are talking about. Since that time, I’ve started to pay more attention to the things I tell her, often thinking to myself “Will she remember this when she is older?” So, this is for her, my words of advice to be read, thought about, laughed at, and maybe even used, when she is older.

Join the Conversation


  1. Yikes Erin, I belong to your sisters club. Back pain sucks out loud. I live that way daily. Being sick too bummer. I hope you got your back worked out, if not let me know I might have some tips. Missed your posts also.

  2. I have suffered from back pain on & off since becoming officially OLD and I can tell you that a TENS machine does really work. It’s kinda like having mini massage/electro-shock – whatever it is, it dulls the pain and makes me sleep like a baby! I use it now for stiff shoulders from too much computer, or pretty much any pain. Best £10 I ever spent and really reduces the need for so many painkillers.

    This story somehow reminds me when we went to Brussels at the start of our EurRail trip and you got tonsillitis. Sohpie and her family took care of us… what a trip! Such great memories. I still play cribbage with my hubby thanks to our Cribbage-Fest on those long train journeys. Awww, I’m missing you big time now thinking of that!

  3. Oh my gosh!! Thank goodness you’re feeling better! I had a couple weeks last year where I was completely out of it with some sickness and I can tell you I didn’t not miss or care about my computer ONE BIT. When you’re just trying to suffer as LITTLE as humanly possible stuff like that just doesn’t matter anymore. SO glad you’re feeling better!

  4. That’s awful! Glad to hear you are feeling better.
    And PS, I couldn’t think of a better idea than ordering in your Thanksgiving dinner and enjoying family time instead. Perfection.

  5. Oh, I can COMPLETELY relate to you. I have chronic back issues, and every few months my back “acts up,” which means I am in the kind of pain you describe. When it’s bad, it’s REAL bad. Like, I can’t move and I want an epidural because it feels worse than childbirth bad. I’m so sorry you had to suffer through this.

  6. Oh my goodness, that’s terrible. I’m so glad you’re better.

    I once had a horrible back muscle spasm on me and I couldn’t bend down or lift my then-9- month old son, so I can’t even imagine what an injured disc feels like.

  7. baby #2 broke my tailbone during delivery. yes, broke. it only hurt when I went from sitting to standing…or standing to sitting. I feel your pain! it’s awful. heating pad, painkillers, reallllllly gentle stretches. good luck.

  8. O man! I am so glad you are feeling better now. How awful… I definitely understand, having herniated disks myself in the past. I think your ‘cheating’ is a FAB idea. Take care of yourself. More yoga 🙂

    I love hot yoga 🙂

    Here’s hoping there are no such disasters this month 🙂

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