Bad back has me like Quasimodo without bell.
THE back pain came from nowhere to remind me not to get clever. No more football for you, pal, it said in no uncertain terms.
Yes, I know I'm getting on a bit for putting on my boots, but the way Manchester United's defence has been leaking goals recently I thought even I might have a chance as a midfield enforcer.
I was never tall but I could always make myself a nuisance during my playing days. Usually to my own team mates.
However, the worn discs in my lower back had decided to pull a sickie and left me in agony and walking around like Quasimodo in search of a bell.
Once I was sitting down it was not too bad and once I was standing up it was not too bad. But getting from one position to the other was murder.
The bad back has not developed because of age. I have had it for 25 years and had a couple of minor operations in decades past.
Periodically it returns if I attempt anything too strenuous - like cutting the grass in the back garden.
Not that I cut it - my wife does. But it gives me a guilt complex as I watch her push the mower for hours at a time. The change in seasons at least means I won't feel guilty in that particular area again until next spring.
The thing about a bad back is that there are no outward signs that anything is wrong. A broken leg means a plaster cast and a crutch. A broken right arm means someone else has to buy the drinks. But a bad back? Sometimes I think doctors should hand out NHS badges, similar in size to those that supermarket 'Greeters' used to wear with a suitable slogan upon them. Something like: 'Despite looking as fit as a lop, this person is seriously ill and needs looking | A PAIN: my back after.' I'm not the sort of person to make a bad back a career choice and never work again and when it goes I do soldier bravely on. I try not to cause a fuss, but the occasional cup of tea and chocolate biscuit do not go amiss when I'm marooned in my armchair recliner.
You try and get out of a recliner when you have a bad back.
"Thank you, dear," I say. The discomfort is real and I couldn't even get to sleep at night because of the pain when I attempted to change position in bed.
"Tonight I might sleep in a chair downstairs," I told my wife.
"Why?" "So that I don't disturb you when I cry out."
"Have you been crying out, then?" Sometimes, her patience does wear a tad thin and the cups of tea become less Honest, hurts frequent. Like now. Do you know, I think my back is getting better.
| A REAL PAIN: Honest, my back hurts