It's lovely being married, but there is a dangerous side to living with a man - as I have found to my cost. No, I'm not talking about wife-beating, divorce or nasty things like that. It's the few words he says as he bustles about with tools and diy. The most dangerous words any man can say to his woman is 'can you just hold this while I...'
I have learnt to my cost that I should ignore these words. For they are the cause of my slipped disc. Him indoors denies it, of course. Well, he would wouldn't he. But it is an indisputable fact that if I hadn't held onto the shed roof while he messed about, I would be in this state now.
I never realised how heavy shed roofs are until asked to hold one up while he aligned it. To the right a tad, no left. Up, woman, for goodness sake, I can't line up the screws. Never mind me, wedged against the other shed, arms trembling with the sheer weight of the blasted thing, knees shuddering and threatening to collapse under me. To the right, no up a bit, now left. Hold it. Hold it. I can't. It's too heavy. But I can't let go of it either or it will decapitate me and I have nowhere to run to avoid it - wedged as I am between the old shed and the new one.
He takes for ever to screw in screws, find the hammer, something to stand on etc., while I sweat and strain and generally lose all ability to stand upright. My arms are dropping off. This is worse than the gym!
Finally it is done. 'You can let go now.'
I gingerly let go, expecting any minute for the whole darn thing to come plummetting down - I know him indoors' diy capabilities, and they are legendary (unfortunately for all the wrong reasons.) It stays up! Amazing. But I can hardly walk back down the garden to the house because my knees are sagging and my poor arms are still trembling.
The thing about backs is they don't always go when you expect them to. It was five days later when mine decided to pay me back for being so stupid to hold up a roof at my age - any age is a daft thing really. It went with all the suddenness of a summer lightning strike. My back went into spasm, locking me absolutely brilliantly into twelve hours of hell. The surgeon had me xrayed and zapped in a tube - very odd experience, not helped by the fact the chap in charge forgot to turn on the headphones so I couldn't hear the music, just the rather disconcerting heartbeat of the machine and its rattle and groans.. Anyway, as I was saying, the surgeon decided my disc had slipped and I had visions of something askew in my spine which could be manipulated back.
Wrong. It isn't really slipped at all - it has been squashed, and all the gooey stuff inside has come out and attached itself to the sciatic nerves and anything else that dared to be in the same vicinity at the time. Lovely. Just what you need when you're about to fly off to Australia for an award ceremony!!!!
The surgeon arranged for the operation to deal with this slippage - or seepage - or whatever it is, but there's a problem. The recovery time is six weeks. My flight goes four weeks and he won't let me get in a plane! The answer was to cancel the op. I'll have it when I get back.
I hasten to reasure you, should you care, that I'm no longer in pain thanks to steroid tablets. My chin has remained hairless and my voice is still quite girly, but the pain has gone, and now, I can manage the discomfort with a pain killer in the morning. As long as I don't stand for too long, or walk to far and not lift anything remotely heavy, I can cope.
So, the long and short of it is, if him indoors says to you, 'can you just hold this?' RUN!!! It's what I should have done.