Managing My Broken Back

Decades ago I injured my back and then my neck. In 1970 I fell seventy feet while riding a motorcycle off-road. I managed to set the bike down and stay on it. On impact I sat down hard enough to compact my seventh or eighth thoracic vertebra. Then when I was twenty-four I drove a motorcycle into a ditch and was catapulted into a mountainside at 70 m.p.h. The bike had lost its brakes and it was the best option I had. I was helmeted and wearing a leather riding jacket. I hit the mountain with my head and right shoulder. The riding gear saved my life but when I took the jacket off my favorite shirt, a heavy cotton rugby shirt, was now being worn around my waist, having been torn off of my back. The riding jacket, no worse for the wear, is probably why I still have two arms or even am still alive. I walked away from these accidents. No hospitals, no doctors.

The earlier injury forced me to the chiropractor on a number of occasions, but, I did nothing but increase my drink, to control the difficulties associated with the second accident. That strategy came to a halt two and a half years later. While at work my neck suddenly went very bad ending my work day and sending me to a chiropractor. I never saw a more puzzled look on any face than his look when he returned with the x-rays. When did you break your neck, he wanted to know? I told him I never did. Eventually, after another two and a half years, the amount of drink required to work, Hot Mop Roofing, and deal with the pain had wrecked my life. I quit drinking and quickly found I could not work without it.

I was twenty-nine and it dawned on me that my reckless lifestyle might not, as planned, kill me. The only attrition might be a long and painful life. I decided to try Acupressure. I found a man studying Transpersonal Psychology. He was using acupressure in his studies while he worked on his doctorate. I had no income and could not pay so he suggested I should barter and I became his Acupressurist and Counselor in exchange for the same. This experience was profound. I spent a year and a half doing nothing but rehabilitation. During this time I consulted an orthopedic surgeon who advised me that people in my condition did not recover well enough that labor was an option. He then clarified his advise by stating that as a medical doctor ,this was the only responsible advise he could give me. He said, it was rare,  but some people ignore good advise and manage to recover anyway. I should not count on that.

I learned many tricks during this time to manage my stress. I had long been ill-tempered and the years of drinking had fortified that. If I allowed myself to get angry it would undo months of rehabilitative work in a few seconds. When anger arose I would go into the yard and walk circles. I would then walk in the other direction to counter the tendency to wind up. The anger would be in the ground. I used Qigong to do all the things it is good for and I used affirmations. I used a cane to force myself to stand straight. (When I started I carried my right shoulder several inches lower than my left). I learned to use a divining rod to discover and unravel stress. I slept on a padded board. I modified my truck so I could drive it without re-injuring my back. I modified my chair to help me sit straight. I would take four and five-hour walks. I already mentioned the psychotherapy and acupressure.  This effort did get me back to work and overall improve me as a person.

After a year and a half I was able to work again. The work did, however, re-injure my back. I had two three-month stretches of no work and lots of rehabilitation. Due to this I opted for self employment. Labor was very difficult, at times driving me to tears. Extremely painful but I worked through it. The mobility that I enjoy today is likely do to my determination and the physical labor that is my occupation. The doctor gave me sound advise. He was right.

To this day I continue to see improvement and my back today is pretty good. It requires maintenance. I continue with chiropractic and from time to time practice Qigong. I use my swing rod to divine what is best now. Dowsing seems the most useful tool I have in managing and reducing my stress. My neck is no longer a frightening thing to live with. When I last had it x-rayed it was fusing itself. Six or so years ago I corrected that and I continue to see marked improvement in comfort and flexibility. The pain and discomfort in my back and neck would eat my alive if I did not have a way to manage and improve it. I do. I use divination. It has proven itself as my best resource in my continuing recovery and pursuit of happiness.

The Mystic Tourist

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