My back is giving me trouble, as it does off and on.
It’s not bad, this time. I don’t need muscle relaxers, pain pills or the back brace. It is bad enough to make me cautious, though. I don’t want it to get any worse.
I take ibuprofin every four hours. I do ice therapy, though not always on a regular schedule. Whenever I feel the pain worsening or my back threatening to go into spasm, I get the towel and the bag of frozen peas – saved for this purpose alone, as I don’t eat cooked peas – and sit with the ice on the small of my back for twenty minutes or so.
I sleep on the couch when my back hurts. I can let the dog out, then, without having to navigate the stairs. I can press my back against the back of the couch for support, and use the arms as a hand-hold for getting up and down.
It is in this room, when sleep comes in fits and starts, where firelight and moonlight dance around the room all night long, that the dead come calling.
Night before last, it was my mother that visited my dreams. She was about my age, and healthy, and chatty. She was advising me about some problem I was worrying over, that I can’t remember now. Her voice was just as it always was; her attitude was down-to-earth, practical, and exactly what I’d expect of her. It wasn’t as if a saint or angel or any manner of ghost was here. It was just my Mom, stopped in for a visit.
Last night, I had a good chat with an old dry-waller. My friend, Mike, died last year. He had been struggling for quite a while to recover from a bad fall, had finally been released from the care facility, and was going fishing. I was told he had just cast his line out into the water when he collapsed and died. It made me smile when I heard it, as I knew that’s how he would have wanted to go. Last night, he looked me right in the eyes and we laughed and talked just like we did the last time he was on Beaver Island.
This night, after a dinner at Aunt Katie’s that involved a great pile of steamed crab legs and plenty of drawn butter, I iced my back, took my medicine, and was asleep before 9PM. This night, it was my Dad that came to see me, to talk about dinner. I don’t know if my father liked crab legs, or even if he’d ever had them. He liked good food, though, and he loved seeing people enjoy a meal. I certainly enjoyed those crab legs tonight! Maybe it was the food that caused the dream…or maybe Dad just wanted to talk.
When things like this happen, I don’t like to overthink it. I don’t need to suppose that pain or medicine or seafood caused wild dreams. I don’t have to wonder if it was a spiritual encounter. I was fortunate to have good chats with people that I can’t normally talk to anymore…and that’s enough.