For the last two months this 30 something has been feeling like an 80 something. This is the story of my humiliation and frustration; it’s a tragic tale of losing my dignity and becoming a local “celeb” and just like the soap star falling out of the Chiltern Firehouse, it’s not welcomed fame. From here on out I have become known as that woman who hurt her back!
Let me start at the beginning. Upon our arrival in Kuwait it became apparent that the beach club was a vital part of life. If you want to enjoy the year round weather, a private beach is the only way you can, as no public beaches allow women to be bikini clad. So 6 months after our arrival, we bit the bullet and paid the annual fee (which took us a week to get over) and looked forward to weekends in the sun.
The clubs are not just for sun and sand, ours is practically a mini resort, spa, restaurant, pool and state of the art fitness centre. So for the first time in my life I decided to face my idea of hell and start working out. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t spent the last 10 years sitting on my bum, but my workouts consisted of DVD fitness bouts before a holiday and if it’s longer than 20 minutes forget it. However, upon my Kuwait landing I had a dilemma. My baby sister was getting married and I was going to have to stand up with two size 6, professional dancer, 20 something bridesmaids! So it began, bridesmaid boot camp took session, I worked out 5 times a week, classes, gym sessions and even aqua aerobics, all in the quest to be body confident walking down that aisle and to fit into the unforgiving Jessica’s rabbit style dress selected for the occasion.
Well guess what? I shocked myself into submission, the most unlikely thing happened, the last thing I ever imagined would happen…..I actually liked this fitness lark. It became part of my daily routine, made me feel energised, happy and I loved my new body, still had my curves but I wobbled less, which lets face it can only be a good thing. The club had become my haven, meeting friends, working out with my girls then being able to tuck into pancakes with little guilt and I felt great. It became part of me, so much so that when I returned to my island, I ran every morning and even got a temporary gym membership. The new me was raring to go, whether I was in the desert or on The Rock. Then disaster struck………
So this Saturday had started like every other, Hubby and I set off for the club to partake in our weekly spin class (for those that knew me and Hubby pre-desert, found this shocking and hilarious that we did this together). Half way through class, my back didn’t feel comfortable, I had woken up a bit stiff but not in pain, but I didn’t want to push it so withdrew. Everything was fine, I headed to the changing rooms, working my way down the stairs and as I rounded the second landing, I stopped. This wasn’t by choice, I physically couldn’t move, paralysed on the stairs, tears started as the pain shot through my body. I must have turned a very funny colour, as the poor woman walking towards me went into panic mode and instantly knew something was wrong. I didn’t know what to do other than continue to cry.
Then drama ensued. Two personal trainers came to my aid, my husband was dragged from his class, a cleaning lady held me up and spectators gathered. The humiliation of being literally stuck on the stairs, crying, still sweaty from class knowing I probably didn’t smell to chipper either! After being cradle lifted to a chalet, where I could lie on a bed, I lay staring at the ceiling thinking how the hell did this happened. The last time my back had behaved so badly and at the most inappropriate time, I was 21, at dance college and it took me a year of rehabilitation, ending my dreams of being a dancer. This time I was stronger, fitter, healthier but unfortunately older and boy did I feel old right now.
Hours later I just wanted to be at home, so I managed ( no idea how) to get myself off the bed and crawled to a wheel chair, so Hubby could wheel me home. The comedy sketch resumed, we decided that as we are only a 5 minute walk away Hubby would take charge. As we made our way through the car park, his driving skills were something to be desired, we hit curbs, got the front wheel stuck in a drain cover and dropped our gym bags! I tried not to laugh because that hurt so much, so we conceded and ordered a taxi for the world’s shortest journey. Maneuvering myself to lay flat on the back seat, was another moment I care to forget. My only to be seen in the gym big bum in yoga pants look, was on full show to the world and what can only be described as a beach whale moment, I literally plopped myself onto the back seat, legs in the air!
Eventually I was home and the embarrassment continued. Both Hubby and my friend saw me in situations I would rather they hadn’t. Even after 10 years together who wants to have their husband put them on the loo, this could be cited in divorce as the beginning of the end! At the time I didn’t really care, being strung out on painkillers gives you a licence to pretend things like this didn’t happen and it was just a drug induced hallucination. After a week my Zimmer frame shuffle was replaced by proper walking, albeit at 90-year-old pace.
It’s taken a long time to get back to “normal” and during this period of living on the floor of my lounge, my frustration and loneliness kicked in. My daily routine was the gym, where chats, coffees and social plans took place. Being incapacitated had not only rendered me to the floor but also rendered me a social leper. I was well and truly fed up. When I did manage to get out and about, for a walk or lunch, it was so much effort it would take me days to recover, so daily social interaction became weekly. I couldn’t believe that by removing one aspect of my life, that I would be so lost. Having to deal with my limitations, plus the pain and discomfort was hard, it’s a spiral of emotion that isn’t easy to snap out of and only fueled my unsettled mind.
After 9 long weeks, I am back in the land of spandex and yogis. I returned to the place where everyone knows your name (literally), walking back into my social world and I immediately feel better. I started bumping into people and so came the realisation of my celebrity, everyone had heard of my incident, friends of friends would claim “oh that was you!” and jokes made that I was airlifted out of there! So embarrassing. My workouts are slow and nowhere near where I was pre drama but slowly I’m getting there. It’s back to basics and I was starting to wobble both emotionally and physically, so it’s good to be back, even if my back is never going to be good.