While pain/injury can involve costly doctor visits and exams, it can also just make you hunker down and not spend much.s
Monday I woke up without having had enough sleep but otherwise feeling okay. Then at 11:30 a.m. I went to get up out of my chair and yelped.
Now, sometimes my lower back gets a little achy (usually if I sleep on my side without a pillow between my knees) and/or stiff, limiting mobility some. But this was a completely different beast.
I could barely get out of the recliner. Later when I tried to sit down and work again, it felt like there was a weight on my shoulders compressing my lower vertebrae and there were tiny but noticeable intermittent pulses of pain just from sitting.
That’s never happened before.
Worse than I can remember
The pain didn’t even go away when I lay down. And there was no way to get up from bed without pain bad enough that I would whimper — yes, actual whimpering occurred — twice: once as I got into a sitting position, once as I gingerly stood up.
At one point, when standing up, I unthinkingly straightened all the way; I then overcorrected by bending forward — so quickly that I had to stick my arm out to avoid faceplanting into the bed. Ugh.
At one point, the mailman left a package out front — on the ground — and I wasn’t sure who it was for. So I grabbed my camera, took a pic of the top and zoomed until to verify it wasn’t for me (phew!) and texted my guest house tenant that there was a box for her and I couldn’t pick it up myself.
Necessity is the mother of invention.
Accepting the situation
The pain was sharp and consistent enough that I did some Internet research to see whether it matched herniated disc (no) or perhaps bulging disc (maybe). But for the latter, the treatment was the same: rest, ice/heat, ibuprofen and time. So I tried to make peace with the fact that I probably wasn’t going anywhere for at least three days.
I was low on some food, so I finally had an excuse to use the Instacart coupon I had ($20 off $50+). I got that a couple of hours later, stiffly put it away — everything refrigerated went on the top shelf — and made a dinner of some nice, easy-to-prepare cheese and crackers, plus consoling junk food of course. I watched TV and indulged in plenty of self-pity. It was quite a night.
I don’t have a heating pad, since I can normally just use a rice sock. Mom left one the last time she was here that’s long and not as round as my usual ones, which was good because it meant I didn’t have to arch my back. But since it did require multiple trips to the microwave as the rice would cool down, I decided to tell my friend in the morning that, yes, I would gladly accept her offer to drop off her heating pad.
Tuesday, the pain was a little better, so I tried the recliner again. That was a very bad idea. I swear I didn’t move at all except to type, but my back muscles tweaked badly twice in about 20 minutes.
So I moved to the bed, lying down and perching my laptop desk (a cushion with a hard top) to where I could see and type without having to sit up. In the early evening, my friend dropped off a heating pad for me, so I used that. And otherwise did nothing much other than watch TV and continue to feel sorry for myself.
Wednesday my back was nearly back to normal — so almost definitely not a bulging disc, since as best I can tell, those take far longer to heal — but I worked from bed again so as to not stress it out. And I kept heat on it. Once again, after work, I spent the evening lying in bed watching TV and having some retreating-but-still-there self-pity.
Thursday my back felt normal again, but I still worked from bed and used the heating pad just to be safe.
The moral of the story
So groceries and accompanying delivery fee/tip aside, it turns out being barely mobile is a great way to avoid spending money.
So yeah, frugal tip from me to you:
Injure yourself — but not a doctor-worthy injury, like that time that, sigh, Tim quasi-jumped down from the roof — and then pass the time working or watching TV. You won’t spend on anything other than grocery delivery. Even food delivery is questionable, since it requires getting up to get the door and a trip to the kitchen to dispose of the containers/refrigerate leftovers. Easier to just get some good food in a larger grocery delivery at the start of the debacle and eat that.
Some important tips
You’ll want to be careful how you spend your time while prone on the bed. You have to be so busy with work, TV and general self-pity (and maybe a creative project*) that you don’t think to browse online and end up with endless Amazon deliveries. (If nothing else, you won’t want to pick them up.)
Also, this is a far better idea if you don’t live alone. Or if you have a significant other who can come over and take care of you.
For the record, on Tuesday Aaron did offer to come massage my back. But it was already tender to the touch from my working on it. So I thanked him but declined.
*I opened a Zazzle store and spent much of Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday creating some customized products with snarky sayings. I doubt I’ll make any appreciable amount from my efforts, but it’s fun and I have a lot of spare time so… Why not? I’m still ironing out a technical issue, but once I fix that and do a few more items, I’ll post about the store, give the link and show some products. I’m sure I’ll do a giveaway at some point soon too.
All in all
So on Monday I spent just under $40 for groceries, fee and tip. Then I didn’t spend anything again until Thursday — when my back was better and I finally remembered I wanted to order another friend a Valentine’s Day gift.
Coincidence? I think not!
And this incident will likely save me money in the future. Because clearly I need to start working out and stop eating takeout and junk food — neither of which is cheap — to get in better shape, which will make my back stronger. The bigger belly and any slouching I may unconsciously do to avoid feeling the bigger belly isn’t good for my lower back.
So my eating-out and junk food spending should go down. My whining about working out will go up significantly, but at least that’s free.
Anyone else find interesting ways to injure themselves lately?