Monday, 3 June 2013


Two weeks ago today I crippled myself through an act of impatience.

I had been working towards my goal to install a shower downstairs and decorate room (Goal 41) and had agreed a delivery of shower panels at 07:30 that morning. After arranging the delivery I was offered a job interview and preferring to get interviews over with earlier in the day had agreed a time of 09:00 – also for that morning.

I was ready, I thought, though had completely forgotten about the planned delivery in my desire to prepare for the interview.

I had it all worked out. Catch the train into Glasgow at 08:00. I would leave the house at 07:45 to allow an easy walk to the train station.

07:20 I had just stepped in the shower when my wife shouted the man was here and as he could not get access to the front of the house wanted to pass the panels over the wall at the back.

I panicked, jumped out of the shower and pulled on some clothes.

I still had time. All I needed to do was take in the three panels and I could still have a quick shower and reach the train on time.

The panels were heavy. Made by Respatex, they measured 2.4 metres by 0.9 metres. Plywood with a waterproof laminate.

I managed the first panel but the next two were cellophaned together and I struggled to carry them to the back door. At this point I was thinking: “I need to get them in the house in case it rains.” My wife was telling me to wait so she could help but I thought I could manage.

I thought wrong.

I failed to apply any of the numerous Health & Safety briefings I’ve seen or read over the years. I picked up the two cellophane panels and carried them in the house. I was okay except they were too long to set upright. Our rather heavy and large kitchen table was in the way along with chairs and my wife was moving the chairs out of the way. I could, even then, have waited but with every second that passed I was thinking about the need to catch the train.

I tried to set the panels down myself, misjudged the weight and angle and how much room I had and felt something go pop in my back. Cue extreme agony for the next couple of days.

I don’t think of myself as having a weak back though I have suffered from occasional back pain as a result of too many hours working at a computer slouched with poor posture.

Seven years ago, almost to the month, I did my back in. That was a very similar issue: impatience and – okay I’ll admit it – pride! I don’t like to admit I need help. I don’t like to admit I can’t manage. The last time I tried to lift a heavy iron radiator over our back wall and put myself out of productive work for a week. That time I went back to work probably earlier than I should and shuffled around the office for a couple of weeks. Or maybe that was the right thing to do.

As I’ve been told since by my Doctor and a Physio', modern theory is that once the initial agony has eased, getting up and about as much as possible aids the healing process.

But if you have ever suffered from back pain you will know all this.

So why am I blogging about all this?

If you have been keeping up with my blog posts you’ll know they have diverged from blogging directly about my 100 goals. However, there is usually a link, even if I forget to make that link clear.

My thought processes jump very rapidly sometimes and often I forget that in relating an idea or concept, it is helpful to show how I got from A to E.

Two weeks ago today I found myself, through impatience and pride, on my knees on my kitchen floor. I cursed. I swore. I hit the table leg in frustration and anger. I cried.

I was in pain and in those moments I knew that I was responsible for the agony I felt and for messing up an opportunity to get another contract.

The company I was interviewing with were understanding and would have rearranged the interview but after a day I knew I couldn’t guarantee when I would be fit to walk, let alone present a good image at interview. That contract was lost to me.

I had planned and hoped that within a week, or maybe two, I would have completed all the work and we would have had a functioning shower, sink and toilet. That project (Goal 41) has now been placed on hold for an undetermined future.

I effectively lost two weeks of my life to a foolish decision. Impatience has reared it’s ugly head again as I’ve felt better and tried to do too much.

Feeling like the pain was increasing rather than the reverse last week I saw my doctor. She advised I may have suffered a prolapsed disc. Essentially a hernia, or swelling of a spinal disc that has pressed on a sciatic nerve. Not as badly as I might have done but still enough to knock me back.

I’ve placed myself in a situation for the next month where I need to rebuild my strength and take care I do not set myself back. “The best laid plans of mice and men are aft gang awry…” I had two goals to achieve two weeks ago (Goal 41 - Shower room and to get a contract offer) and I scuppered both of them through impatience and pride.

However, all has not been bad. Some has been really good:
  • I still have pain in my back but I will follow my doctor’s advice and gradually build in some strengthening exercises.
  • I’ve spent more time talking with my kids than I would have done.
  • I was able to spend a couple of sessions getting coached – I blogged about that last week and will update more later.
  • I’ve been reading up on how to go about writing a novel and have made some decent progress.
  • I’ve watched a bunch of movies that I would otherwise not have made time for.
Oh, and I got a different contract. Only three weeks instead of six months but I am delighted with the opportunity and I started today.

My plans (and goals) are somewhat limited for a while but I’m hopeful for the future.


  1. Take it easy mate, your not as young as you once were. ?... :-)

  2. I've got the the same T-shirt. Oh well! Boys will be boys :)

  3. Thanks guys. Need to check my settings as I hadn't noticed these comments. Lot better now and starting to think DIY may be next on the agenda...