Peggy and I climbed Tire Mountain today where, after eating, I had a terrible spasm in my lower back. After I was able to stop cursing and writhing long enough to explain the problem, Peggy gave me four ibuprofen, and we sat—or rather she sat while I lay—wondering how the heck I was going to traverse the five miles (8 km) of mountainous terrain between us and the van. I couldn’t have very well crawled, so I thought I might have to break into my emergency kit and make camp. She offered to go for help, but I was unwilling to pay for my rescue—or risk seeing myself on the nightly news. I fortified my courage with the recollection that people with far greater injuries have made it down far higher mountains in far worse weather.
The spasm eventually lessened enough for me to get up, and finally to walk. Peggy carried what few heavy items I had, and, with the help of my trekking poles, I was able to get down without too much difficulty, the trail being mostly smooth and not unduly steep. Lifting myself into the van proved a greater obstacle than anticipated, but I succeeded, and felt considerably better an hour and a half later when we got home. I then made the mistake of getting out of the van while it was still in the driveway. To my chagrin, I found that I could neither remain standing nor get back in.
I slowly lowered myself to the concrete, and started crawling toward the house. Peggy got a furniture dolly, but I couldn’t lift myself onto it, and was forced to proceed on all-fours. I finally reached the laundry room, but was stymied by the single step into the kitchen. I had no choice but to remain on my hands and knees while trying to divine a solution. Peggy was determined to either help me to my feet, or get the neighbors to do so; but I was far more fearful of other people moving me than I was of finding a way to move myself.
Since I had needed to go to bathroom for the better part of an hour, but clearly wasn’t going to get there anytime soon, Peggy brought a jar, removed my pants and underwear, and held my penis while I urinated. She knew that men shake their privates when they are done—so as to avoid drips—and she gamely attempted to do so on my behalf. She first squeezed it, then jerked it, and finally banged it against the side of the jar. By the time she was satisfied that the job had been done right, I was satisfied that I knew how a cow feels when being milked.
She then attended to other things while I attempted various gentle and repetitive movements, my thought being that if sitting still had stove me up, then exercise might loosen my muscles. I was finally able to ascend the step by crawling sideways with my legs drawn up. Once at the top, I couldn’t get off my side—even to resume crawling—and was therefore as bad off as ever except that I had summited one very formidable seven-inch step. With Peggy’s help, I was able to propel myself on my side like an inchworm until I cleared the doorway. I was now directly in front of the refrigerator.
Peggy, being quite hungry, proceeded to make herself a salad. I was simply amazed by how much cold air exited the bottom of the refrigerator every time she opened it, and the afghans she covered me with were inadequate to stop my shivering since I was naked from the waist down and lying on a cold floor. Not knowing what else to do, I continued to gently exercise my legs in order to limber my back. I kept thinking that I could pull myself along by my arms if I had a rope, but I could see nothing to attach one to. An hour and a half after my ignominious descent from the van, I finally reached a chair in the den, and with care and patience lifted myself into it. I continued to stretch my muscles, and was eventually able to stand, though not completely upright. I was quite pleased with myself, the moreso because I had long since needed to go to the bathroom for reasons other than urination. ￼￼
Stockholm memories, scattered and smothered - *First things first, or Loose Ends Tied Up While-U-Wait Department: I arrived at Arlanda airport in Stockholm early in February 1969 wit...