Today I was standing in the gas station, getting ready to purchase my diet soda and a breakfast sandwich, when my back pain flared up.

The pain has been a major hindrance to me for some time. Yesterday I left work a few minutes early, skipping out on a team meeting, because it had gotten so bad. It keeps me from playing with my kids much – sitting hunched over a table covered with Legos is as bad as chasing them around the house. It’s already squashed some dreams – I know that I can’t stand long enough to do any acting anymore. I feel like a jerk because I can’t help people move, or help with some chores around the house. The pain is a huge obstacle in my life.

And yet I’m still in denial – I can’t be one of those people who has this kind of disability. I mean, I’m not disabled, after all; some days I can stand without agony or play with the kids without discomfort.

This morning at the gas station, it all kind of hit me at once, along with a nice flare in back pain that came from standing in line too long. I had a fleeting moment there where I wanted to hurl my giant soda at the ground and just storm out, angry at the universe for the hand I’ve been dealt.

I didn’t; the gas station certainly didn’t deserve that.

As I sit here typing my rotator-cuff impingement is radiating pain down to my elbow, and whatever has been intermittently plaguing my shoulder blade for the last year is humming along as well. I can’t go play catch or Frisbee; I can’t jump on a trampoline; I’m loath to visit Disneyland again this December.

So at times I get a passing sensation of despair or anger; this morning it was anger.


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