My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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whining about back pain

It’s 32 degrees out there, feeling like 37 – tropical. I’m trying to keep the garden alive, but mostly huddled inside. To think, I almost didn’t get A.C. when my house was renovated.

My dear friend Chris sent me a concerned note – why was I informing my blog readers about my return visit to the mammogram clinic, and not my children? Would they not be hurt to find out? Should I not seek support from my nearest and dearest?

And I replied, if there were ever anything serious going on with my health, my children would be the first to know. Until it’s serious, I don’t want to bother their busy lives. I prefer to bother yours.

I also mentioned to my friend Gretchen that I’ve been having constant lower back pain for quite a few weeks. “It’s back cancer,” I said to her, “to go with my breast cancer. And there’s also mouth cancer, because I found out that if you drink very hot coffee, you’re at risk, and I drink mine very hot.” Or at least, I used to – not any more. Tepid coffee from now on.

Gretchen sent me a link to an article she found online, a woman writing that her severe back pain was healed by red wine. Now, that’s medical advice I can live with. I just tried it, and two delicious glasses later, I can affirm that it works! The only problem is that I wake up in the morning with the pain. Should I start quaffing right away? That’ll make for an interesting summer.

Yesterday, I spoke for an hour with my editor, Colin Thomas, in Vancouver. I have learned so much from him about what goes wrong in my work – the lack of narrative tension, always an issue; the inclusion of details that instruct or indicate but do not advance the narrative. He has divided the book into three acts, which makes a huge amount of sense, and come up with what he thinks the thing is about, which I could not. Extremely helpful. If you want a good editor, I can recommend 3 – Rosemary Shipton, Chris Cameron, and Colin Thomas – the best. My great luck to have worked at least once with all of them.

There’s a huge amount of work ahead; today I spent (wasted) time setting up my office with fan and files. I also switched chairs so I can sit in one that’s better for my back. And now I just have to @#$ sit there and figure it all out. That’s the job.

One more complaint – I am a completely different shape now. I’m wearing a dress I bought at a market in Provence, a little orange slip of a thing that I used to wear outside the house. I wouldn’t wear it anywhere public now if you paid me a great sum of money. I have not gained weight but I have lost my waistline – does that make sense? I wrote to my doctor – doesn’t the fact that I’m the same weight but much fatter in the middle mean that I must have lost bone? And she replied comfortingly, perhaps you’ve just lost muscle.

The dress seven years ago, in Provence. It does not fit the same way now. But I notice that what’s in my glass is the same. Must have had back pain then too.

Hooray! Getting old is going to be so much fun. At least I can take you along with me. Here we go.

PS More of life’s pleasures. The Tuesday farmer’s market at Riverdale Farm – the best sourdough bread, smoked salmon like sweet butter, light and dark carrots. And last night, I decided to spend time listening to my records, especially the classical ones inherited from Uncle Edgar, aficionado of the Baroque, a Bach man. The Bach double concerto for violin and oboe – sublime, especially the second movement. Such gifts. This isn’t the best interpretation, but you get the idea.



One response to “whining about back pain”

  1. Unknown says:

    Your lower back pain could be a result of a shoddy mattress. You may want to check yours out and see if it's overdue for replacement. Of course, drinking red wine will help regardless of your sleeping situation! Drinking red wine and listening to records sounds like the perfect night to me! Hope my comment helps.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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