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A big worry in the new parenting realm for me was the state of my spine.   I have treated the symptoms (but not the cause!) of my back problems for years with the altogether fabulous trifecta of pain pills, muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatories.   Just saying muscle relaxer makes me soft and smiley.

Then came the practice back pack trip at Black Creek, MS, wherein I attempt to carry significantly more than I ever have in preparation for a much longer harder higher trip scheduled a  month later.  And the back goes out.  Way out.

The ensuing year and a half is a blinding blur of extreme pain, Cirque du Solame contortions to get out of bed, a full body brace “positions everyone!” whenever a sneeze approached, wonderful physical therapy with diagnosis (thanks Fred and Crane PT),  that ended with the epidural.  That’s right ladies.   epi.  dural.

That word does continue to freak me out, but y’all, they put pain meds right where it hurt, right on it!  I don’t really do major medical procedures (Lasics vision correction, which Jim watched from the hallway, doesn’t count).   The nurse took my blood pressure, did the eyebrow raise and immediately recommended the fast acting xanax, so I don’t remember much of the procedure at all.  Jim still talks about how we went to McDs after,and I ate the egg mcmuffin AND the hashbrown.  He’s still not over it.  But I was over my back pain and able to strengthen instead.

So now, I am extremely pleased to report that I have had no back problems whatsoever in the two and a half years since becoming a parent.  Turns out all the extra activity of bending, picking up, running around, chasing flailing arms is good for my back.  It was my sedentary lifestyle that was the culprit all along.  As if I didn’t know that already.  No time for television, no time for stiff as shit.

What I am constantly protecting from pain are my breasts.  The elbows, the twisting bodies, the climbing over and over and over, the head jerks without warning.  I love it that the kids are on me all the time.  It’s an unexpected perk of parenthood, the constant feedback of touch and skin is well documented and leaves an aura of euphoria about you all the time.  The worst is when Clifton uses my breast as leverage, when he’s slipping off my hip or trying to reach to something above his head.  The pain.  I spend a good part of my time with my hands over my breast like Mike Myers’ verklempt Linda Richman

Here’s a poem I wrote about Rio our cat and my breasts a few years ago.

In the quiet river

of our sleeping bed.

Slip-covered bodies sway

and roll from shore to shore.

Rio, the yellow tabby cat,

uses my nipples

as stepping stones

to get to the other side.

Ow!

Fuck me!

Ow Ow!

I could write a similar poem about the kids and the last three lines would be the same.