I lie down discomforted. I stand discomforted. There’s no escaping the pain in my back. Has this been brought on by yoga? One ‘down dog’ too far? Too much pretending that I’m a seagull, a butterfly, or whatever other position the instructor inspires us to commit?
I have spina bifida occulta, which is one missing vertebra in the small of the back. The occulta bit means that it isn’t manifest and isn’t the lethal wasting disease it sounds like.
But then, having only one missing vertebra is a wonder, given that my mother was a ‘fecking (her description) heavy smoker’ and said that it took 10 Woodbine cigarettes to birth my five brothers, but a pack of 20 for me. If you follow the received wisdom about fags, I should be full of health mutations – and have much bigger problems than a missing vertebra.
Often, the evidence means you should throw the key away on certain people, but I kind of ‘faithfully’ give them another chance. I only got out of the sticky stuff because other people had faith in me, with me showing very little evidence of being better than I had been
Recently, I also heard that as a child who witnessed (what’s now called) domestic violence, I should have very slow responses, especially when driving. Up to two seconds slower, they say, with law courts in Scotland now taking account of domestic violence experiences when they hear road accident cases. As someone who’s never been in an accident, except when others have banged into me, I’ll need to stay vigilant as the years pile up.
The other day, coinciding with the onslaught of my bad back, I received an email from Humanists UK, who used to be the British Humanist Association, celebrating with glee that NHS funding for homeopathy in London is set to end in April. That they’d finally helped snuff out NHS-funded homeopathic treatments in the capital, with funding cut off to the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine, formerly the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital. Aside from some recalcitrant pockets in Bristol and Glasgow, we’re about to be free of support from what humanists say is charlatan medicine that doesn’t work.
The victorious email from Humanists UK coinciding with the onslaught of an age-old back problem of mine was a strange moment. Almost as if the bad back underlined that Humanists UK had probably avoided back problems among its membership.