I once sneezed and threw my back out. Go ahead, reread that sentence again. It wasn’t an abnormally big sneeze. I don’t think I was in an awkward position when it happened. If I remember right, it was just a typical run-of-the-mill sneeze and it caused instantaneous pain. For at least a week, I walked like Frankenstein and with the amount of agony I felt, I probably grunted like him too. It hurt to move and turning my neck was out of the question.
While I was in that condition, I drove my car. Yeah, go ahead and reread that sentence again. I actually drove my vehicle even though I couldn’t move. The Second Counselor in the Young Women and I were visiting less active girls. So, there was Frankenstein driving big ol’ Felix the Ford Explorer and a not-quite-thirty-year-old energetic mom sitting in the passenger seat. She could tell I wasn’t doing so well. The tip off probably came when we approached an intersection and the only thing I could move was my eyes. It’s not a busy intersection and it’s the corner where the sheriff lives detering reckless driving so we were fine. I wasn’t worried.
She was. “Are you alright?” She asked after loosening her death grip on the door.
I smiled. “Oh yeah,” I tried to bluff but I couldn’t even look in her direction. “I think I might have thrown my back out a couple of days ago.”
I couldn’t see her face but I think I could hear her eyes get big. “Oh no! Are you okay?” Those were the words she used but I could tell what she meant was, “Am I going to be okay riding with you? Maybe I should drive…”
“I’m fine,” which was code for, “I am in a great amount of pain and I’d rather be home lying on my couch.”
Then the question that I had been dreading came. “How did you do it?” she asked while nervously watching the road for me.
I didn’t want to tell her. “I sneezed.” Darn honesty. It’s so overrated.
“Excuse me?” she asked.
I sighed. “I sneezed and threw my back out.”
She laughed. “I’m sorry,” she tried to stifle her laughter. But she wasn’t even thirty yet so she couldn’t understand. I know because before I reached thirty I wouldn’t have understood. However, once I hit the big 3-0, my body started sending me messages. Just little hints letting me know my body is now in the falling apart stage and, oh yeah, I’m no longer a spring chicken.
So, if I could live this moment over again, this is how it would have gone down.
“How did you throw your back out?” she asked.
“Oh, well, I went bungee jumping off a bridge at Victoria Falls. You know, (sniff) in Zimbabwe. My cord snapped and I plummeted head first 365 feet into the crocodile infested Zambezi River. The current swept me downstream towards the rapids. The cord was still hooked to my feet and kept pulling me under when it would get stuck. I’d have to go underwater and yank it free. I finally made my way to the bank and waited for rescue.”
That really happened. Just not to me. If you haven’t already, you can read about the true adventure here. It should make you a believer in miracles. If nothing else, it will be filed under, “Seriously. Your time it ain’t up, yet.”
As for me, I guess I’ll just have to settle for the much less adventurous story of (sigh) “I sneezed and threw my back out.” How boring can you get?