Once upon a time I could do just about anything I wanted. I’ve never been exactly physically fit or athletic, but I had stamina and the willingness to at least attempt the task set before me. Even when chronic and often quite painful back issues started to become an issue, I often muscled right through getting done what had to be done. I’ve long enjoyed working in the yard, keeping flower beds neat and blooming, and shrubs contained in the spaces I wanted them to remain. I’ve mowed lawns and used weed eaters, but never liked that chore. But I’ve done it, when I had to
Saturday, I decided to do what I’ve always done, trim my bushes using a trusty set of old school, hedge trimmers. I have six boxwoods, a light leafed monstrosity, two smaller boxwood type shrubs in the front, and two more boxwoods and a gardenia on the side of our house. The last time they were done, Gary did them. He admittedly doesn’t like trimming shrubs, but wanted to help me. Although I appreciated his efforts, I prefer how they turned out when I did them better.
I should have stopped at the first three. My neck had been twinging off and on for weeks. I’d gotten some adjustments at our chiropractor, including one that morning. But the others looked so bedraggled in comparison to my neatly squared bushes. I went on.
By the time I’d gotten to the sixth bush, I was getting pretty tired. Gary stepped in helped with the two small bushes and the back of the last boxwood in the row. Then I turned my attention to the behemoth. I don’t know what it is, other than it grows a good two to three feet every six months doesn’t bloom and has large silvery, slightly waxy leaves and woody branches. I wish it would get aphids and die, but its likely to outlive me. As tired as I was feeling, plus a bit sore, I just couldn’t wait and tackle that shrub another day. It had to be done, and done that instant.
Tackle I did, with a vengeance. I took three feet off its height, (still taller than me) and reduced its girth so it wasn’t crowding out it’s neighbors. I reached up to pull some cut branches from the top, and my hedge trimmers just magically appeared where my right middle finger happened to be. You’d think such a small cut wouldn’t bleed so much. I went inside washed it thoroughly then wrapped it up in a paper napkin, fastening it to my finger with tape. I sent a picture of proof of my clumsiness to Facebook, then went back outside to finish up. I didn’t need to. Gary had finished up what little was left and had swept all the clippings up under the bushes where they would eventually make home grown mulch.
We cleaned everything up, had supper and realized that we’d overdone things a bit. I didn’t know how much I had till the next morning. I was miserable all day Sunday. There was literally no position that was comfortable. My neck hurt and more so my shoulder with the pain radiating down my left arm. Lying down was impossible, sitting up only really painful, so I spent a somewhat uncomfortable night on the recliner, sleeping only with the aid of an Ambian. This morning I lasted till just before lunch, before I could stand the pain no longer.
So, back to the chiropractor I went. I’ve definitely injured my neck. The jury is still out on the severity, but hopefully its nothing like a disc ruptured and only a severe strain. I was told, quite bluntly to never pick up hedge trimmers again, not even the nifty electric ones. I got adjusted and am now at home, on the recliner doing the thirty minutes on, thirty minutes off routine with ice packs. I’m having to come to terms with the fact that I’m no longer young, and vibrant, but older, and with a different, less physical form of vibrancy. My days of standing on ladders, wrestling shrubs, lugging bags of potting soil and lime are coming to a close. I can still dig in the dirt, planting bedding plants, watering patio tomatoes or pulling a few weeds, but the heavy work is going to have to be passed on. This yard goddess, wants to live to see more gardens and yards grow, and bloom and thrive, while still be able to do so under my own power for awhile yet. So I am retiring the heavy tools…or so I tell myself.