I used to get this question all the time. It drove me nutty. I seriously would feel like running out and murdering a couple of kittens, and then scalping an old lady just for good measure. It doesn't bother me much anymore. Thanks Prozac!
What is wrong with my back, you ask? (Okay, maybe you don't care, but that was my clever lead-in and I'm gonna tell you anyway) ...I have Ankylosing Spondylitis.
Spell check just loves when I do that. "Screw You, Spell Check! I know it's right!" Does anybody else argue with Spell Check, or is it just me? Sometimes I would really like to get some "cage time" with ole Spell Check. Or maybe just the little geek who programs it. I bet his last name is Websters, or Britannica.
Anyway, A.S. is this weird form of arthritis. Or, more specifically, "Degenerative Rheumatoid Arthritis of the spine, occurring mostly in 1 or 100,000 white males between the ages of 15-35. It begins fusing the sacroiliac joint and moves it's way up the spine. It can effect the rib cage and neck. Can also cause heart and lung disease, iritis-(inflammation of the colored part of the eye), inflamed bowls, and can effect other joints. Patients can suffer depression, insomnia, decreased range of motion and loss of flexibility, pain, and stiffness."
There is no cure, only treatment with NSAIDs (Ibuprofen type drugs-which screw up your digestion system over time....i.e. ulcers, intestinal bleeds, etc) and exercise. In fact, when you are first diagnosed, they tell you how important it is to exercise because the main fusion part takes place in the first 10 years, and exercise will decrease the number of effected joints. BUT, seeing how that is also when you're in the most amount of pain, exercising doesn't seem all that appealing.
Seeing how I was a Navy Sailor at the time, I believe I said something like, "Eff that, it hurts too much." Yes, it is true that sailors talk bad. Sorry MOM! They actually teach you curse words in basic training. With God's help, I am working hard to break my old habits, but I am not one of the Fundamentalist Christians who believe you are going to Hell because you let one fly when you smashed your finger with a hammer. Anyway, I'll save that rant for another blog entry........stay effing tuned.
So, now my back just looks funny. I hate how my profile in pictures or the mirror looks. I mean, straight on, I'm a sexy beast! But from the side, I'm grandpa Ed.
My back doesn't hurt much anymore, though. Maybe it does and I've just built up a tolerance to it. The only time I notice it is when the weather changes. Which, after all these years, I am finally getting good at predicting rain. I can usually tell how full of crap the weatherman is by how my back feels. Maybe I should moonlight for the local news. Really though, it's just the appearance thing now. People think I'm a lot older than I really am....."You're what? 40..........ish?" Then I say, "What the crapcake, I'm only 34!" They'll say, "Oh sorry. I was thinking more like 46. Must be cause your back."
It's cool though, cause sometimes I get out of stuff. People rarely ask me to help them move things. "I didn't want you to hurt your back." And I'm like, "That's cool, cause I didn't want to move your crap anyway." Hurt my back? It's practically one solid bone. You can't hurt it like you hurt your back. My discs are encased in bone, they are not slipping anywhere. I mean yeah, the chances of me getting my spine snapped in a car wreck and dying are pretty good, but so are yours.
Anyway, there you have it. My Gymnastic days are over. No more Olympic dreams, unless Special Olympics count, which we all know they really don't.
Don't feel sorry for me.....unless I want you to, then that's okay. But I definitely don't want to hear about how bad your back hurts. Quit being a wuss!