This morning while sorting laundry, I leaned over and my back went crack-pop. That is not a very pleasant sound to emanate from one’s body; it was an even less pleasant sensation. Standing up straight was agonising. Walking made me wince. Thankfully my older kids can get themselves back and forth to school but the littlest one needed to be taken to and collected from nursery. So I had no choice but to pop some paracetamol, waddle along the road at a pace a snail might have sneered at and clench my jaw against the pain.
What this episode has highlighted for me is that I have been much too tardy in stocking my medicine cabinet. I thought of the kids and bought children’s medications for “just in case” but failed to apply the same logic to medications for the adults. Therefore, all I have to alleviate the symptoms of my cricked back is the small packet of paracetamol I had in my suitcase when I first arrived in America. That’s it. I could apply heat to my back but I didn’t ship my hot water bottles and have not replaced them so I improvised with a steamed towel. Nor did I ship all of my gel-filled ice packs. Clearly I have procrastinated too much and for too long over creating a “first aid” kit for the house. Since I cannot drive like this, I need to await Mr Pict popping into a drug store on his way home from work to bring me the medications I need to get some proper respite – though I am hoping that by then the pain will have largely worn off anyway.
The more critical thing that this episode has underlined for me is the reminder that I don’t have anyone to call on for help when things go a tad pear-shaped. If this had happened to me back home in Scotland, instead of soldiering on I could have called on friends to help me get the youngest child back and forth and I could even have asked them to grab me some painkillers – although I always maintained a good medicine cabinet in Scotland. Here, however, I don’t know anyone remotely well enough that I could call upon them to help me out and do a favour for me. Not even at a push. Today it was just a cricked back and I could just about deal with keeping things going but I am home alone with four kids a lot of the time so it does lead me to ponder what I would do in an actual emergency, especially if the emergency centred on me. It’s quite an isolating feeling.
Stocking the medicine cabinet is an easy fix that I will place at the top of my “To Do” list. Generating a list of people who I can depend on in a bit of a crisis is going to be more challenging and take much more time.