Gravity is Not Your Friend

So it’s like this: one Sunday, I got up and my back was a little creaky. It’s always given me trouble–when I was 16, I managed to fall off a house I was roofing, and it’s been a bit weird ever since. So much for working with my hands. Anyway, by midday Monday, I realized something was a little more wrong than expected; I couldn’t sit through the day. I went to my doctor on Tuesday, figuring it’d be, oh yeah, it’s out of alignment, crunch, here’s a couple prescriptions and remember to bend your knees. The usual drill every three to five years.

Well, no. This time he gave me that grave look that I think they have doctors practice in mirrors at medical school (in a big room resembling a dance studio): you have a bulging disk. (I checked the impulse to reply “Or are you just happy to see me” because the interior voice was going “uh-oh.”) Not the end of the world, very common, but it’s taking longer to get over than usual, and I’m spending a good part of my off-work time horizontal in this narcotized cocoon. Which sounds great at first, but, after awhile, you find yourself repeating Major Tom’s mantra in “Ashes to Ashes”: want to come down right now! Plus it’s kind of thrown a curve into my many nefarious plans–being a photographer, playwright, theatregoer, gardener, and, of late, guitar slinger. (I definitely need to branch out more, no?)

So, to my theatre friends: sorry I’ve been missing your shows. I’d like to go, but I seem to be having this problem with gravity.


About Steve Patterson

Steve Patterson has written over 50 plays, with works staged in Portland, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Austin, Tampa, and other U.S. cities as well as in Canada and New Zealand. His works include: Waiting on Sean Flynn, Next of Kin, Farmhouse, Malaria, Shelter, Altered States of America, The Continuing Adventures of Mr. Grandamnus, Bluer Than Midnight, Bombardment, Dead of Winter, and Delusion of Darkness. In 2006, his bittersweet Lost Wavelengths was a mainstage selection at Portland Center Stage's JAW/West festival, and, in 2008, won the Oregon Book Award (he also was an OBA finalist in 1992 and 2002). In 1997, he won the inaugural Portland Civic Theatre Guild Fellowship for his play Turquoise and Obsidian. View all posts by Steve Patterson

7 responses to “Gravity is Not Your Friend

  • Mead

    Dang! my sympathies, Steve. Chronic illness can be very discouraging, as well I know. No doubt Deb is taking excellent care of you, but if you need me to ferry anything over, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

  • splattworks

    Thanks, Mead. I’m doing okay. It’s just slowing me down more than anything else. If nothing else, it reminds me of how busy I keep myself, trying to keep the projects going in addition to regular life. (Though I’m not sure which is the regular part.) I’m just going to have to pace myself a bit, which is probably good for me in the long run.

  • Harold Phillips

    Oh man, Steve, that sucks. As you know, Trish and I are somewhat versed in the ways of back issues… must have happened after I bumped into you at Fred Meyer’s on Saturday, eh? Well, like you say… it’s a good reminder to pace yourself. Time to catch up on that reading, huh?

  • splattworks

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • splattworks

    Happened actually well before Saturday–when we met, I was just floating in a narcotized haze. (Hmm. That’s Harold…isn’t it?) Thanks for the well wishes.S

  • MattyZ

    Steve – that sucks so hard. I grew up watching my mother struggle with the same issue – so frustrating and so little to do but wait for healing. I hope you can manage to keep your awesome, dry sense of humor through it! – Here’s to a quick recovery.

  • splattworks

    Thanks, Matt. The sense of humor helps and is good for keeping perspective. I was feeding the dog this morning, carefully bending my knees so I could keep my back straight (as instructed), and as I set the bowl down, I thought: Christ, be a great time for my knees to go out.S

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