This week I had an unfortunate run-in with an old enemy… back pain! Having degenerative disc disease, I always have a lingering level of lower back pain but this had the added fun of sciatica pain down my leg as well as pain in my arm. This was all spurred from tweaking my back while gardening last Sunday and gradually got worse as the week went by. I am also still recovering from my post-Africa injury. My toe still remains wrapped from my run in with an evil escalator at the Atlanta airport 30 minutes after getting off a 17 hour flight. The limping was probably adding fuel to the back pain fire. I woke up on Friday morning in so much pain I resorted to going to a doctor since I had exhausted all of my typical flair-up remedies (heat & ice, yoga, ibuprofen and the chiropractor was closed until Monday for Easter). Some steroids and muscle relaxers later, I am able to move but not quite like a normal human being yet.
One thing I noticed with my more crippled than normal demeanor was the amount of other graduate students who could sympathize with my back pain. The school year is almost over so, at least for me, stress levels are rising with trying to be on top of coursework, making sure I have a solid game plan for my research over the summer, and financially freaking out as I watch my savings dwindle away before my eyes on boring everyday life stuff and not the fun stuff I want to be spending it on. Sitting in a chair staring at a computer screen for hours on end isn’t the best for one’s back either. Basically, we all feel like old people moaning and groaning as we stand up from our chairs or bend over to pick something up.
I may not be one to be preaching since I am currently heavily medicated for back pain but here are some suggestions (which I obviously didn’t follow myself) for keeping your back healthy during all the craziness:
● Take a break... Get up from that computer desk every so often and stretch.
Due to over 45,000 students moving into houses, apartments, townhouses, etc. in preparation for classes starting in just over a week, it is going to take a week and a half to get someone out to my new house to set up the internet. I am currently at a cafe just up the street (1541 Pastries & Coffee) drinking a chai latte trying to get some work done but since A&M is down for scheduled maintenance (and I don't know their schedule) I am unable to get that work done and have a quick moment to let you all know...
Days 2-4 of the Route 66 Road Trip will be posted next weekend when I FINALLY have internet at home and, therefore, more than an hour to do everything I need to do using the interwebs at an internet cafe.
You really don't realize how reliant you are on it until you are deprived of it (especially when setting up a new home). Yeesh!
P.s. I am going to pre-date the road trip posts so they have the correct date. So, see below ; )
A friend of mine shared this on Facebook from the Impossible to Possible page (www.facebook.com/Impossible2Possible) and it was too well said not to share myself. Always remember the important things in life!
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous "yes."
The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.
"Now," said the professor as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things--your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions--and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.
The sand is everything else--the small stuff. "If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.
"Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first--the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked.
It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."
I am a biologist and my life is crap!