Monday, February 07, 2005

!!*&@%**!&!! Backache!

Yesterday I fired up the electric chainsaw and attacked a row of oleanders that had grown unchecked for three years and towered well over 15 feet.

More to the point, they also aimed their 15-foot shoots out in all directions from center. This made then very difficult to mow around, and caused them to obscure a stop sign down at the corner.

Every couple of years I whack them back to a bunch of stubs about one foot tall. I try to do this in the winter when, 1) it’s cooler work, and, 2) it’s after a freeze when the leaves have been burned and they look ugly anyway. The chain saw makes this task a lot easier than my former method with a bow saw.

I have six of these monstrosities in a row, about 15 feet apart. I started on one end, and managed to get four of them down without too much difficulty. At least, no severed fingers, gashed knees or sprained ankles from tripping on the downed fronds. I’d planned to cut back all six, put away the saw and extension cords, and then, over the next few days, gather the fronds into piles for the trash pickup.

I attacked the fifth oleander, had it about 1/3 down, and straightened up to move around it. ZING! Lower back, left side. No warning, no real strain or extra movement, just zing.

That was the end of oleander cutting. I had difficulty picking up the chain saw, gathering up the extension cords and putting everything back in the garage. No way I was going to be able to move all the limbs and fronds into piles.

I have this lower back pain once or twice a year, on average. Usually it is brought on from either a sudden exertion, or just a simple bending down or straightening up with no strain. The pain keeps me from doing most anything for a day or two, and then I hobble around for another day or two. In a week to ten days, it’s gone. Doesn’t seem to matter if I do nothing, see a chiropractor, take prescription muscle relaxers and pain pills, stay in bed, or walk as much as I can stand. It just takes a week to ten days for the pain to go away.

So, if my next few posts sound grumpier than normal, you’ll know why.

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