Flat Out

I’ve been writing lying down all day. For some crazy reason that I cannot pinpoint, I screwed up my back over the weekend. Did I sneeze the wrong way? Did my cough cause a muscle spasm? Whatever the explanation, I find myself unable to sit or stand for long stretches. I can’t lift a pot of water or a platter of pasta.


This follows at least a week of managing digital ulcer pain with a combination of antibiotics to control an infection, over-the-counter pain meds and my slew of bandages, dressings and ointments. Not to mention fighting a respiratory virus. Which is why I was coughing and sneezing.

Pain is exhausting. It interrupts sleep and demands attention. It voids concentration. It gnaws at your moods and throws obstacles in your path.

Most of all, it slows you down. There’s writing I’ve postponed because I need to rest my fingers. There are errands I want to do and places I want to be that must wait until I feel up to driving. Nothing to do but stretch and wait and rest and respect my body’s need to heal.

It could be much worse, I know. But it’s enough, already. I want to get back to my regular state of quasi-normal. Maybe I’ll get lucky and sleep it off. More likely, I’ll just need to dig deep for more patience and wait it out.


Thanks for listening,

Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at livingwithscleroderma.com.

Image Credit: Aimee Vogelsang


  1. Pat Bizzell says:

    So sorry to hear this, Evie. Constant low-level pain can be more debilitating than a sharp pang. I hope you feel better soon!

    The human back is mysterious. I can’t help but feel that it is badly designed for our preferred form of locomotion, upright so that our hands are free. Practically everyone has a “bad back” at some point, and medical science does not have many effective remedies. I have found chiropractic to be helpful, and also therapeutic massage. I have no idea why, just know these techniques help me.

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