Field work is not easy!
This week, my last out in the field has come to a dramatic halt On Tuesday morning I started as usual, but this time decided to bring some music along to keep me company out in the woods. As I began my rounds, everything was normal. It was a pleasant morning and I knew less than 2 hours would have be finished and back in the warmth of the office enjoying a coffee. That was not how things would go unfortunately. After about 5 minutes out in the field I bent down to pick up one of the mouse traps and suddenly felt a severe pain in my lower back. Oh dear. I tried to stand up straight, but my back was having none of it. My next thought was, walk it off. Hoping it wasn’t too serious I slowly walked like a hunchback to the next trap. Things weren’t getting any easier. I attempted to bend again, this time being more careful, exercising proper lifting techniques, but no, it was no use.
I carefully hobbled back to the jeep and drove myself slowly back to the office. I informed by boss I was off to lie down in the hope that rest would provide a miracle. I fell into bed in my temporary lodgings, only managing to take my shoes off. From that position I was pretty much motionless, any movements in any direction brought pain and severe discomfort. This was NOT part of this weeks plan.
After a long week last week, this was supposed to be the short, relatively easy week, where I could be out in the field in the morning and back into the office for some warm paper work in the afternoon. I had actually looked forward to checking emails regularly and writing reports. Alas that wasn’t going to happen. With a lot of help I made it to the doctor withing a few hours where I was given some painkillers. After that I retired to my bed, as sitting, standing and walking only caused pain. Lying down provided at least some rest.
Soon I began thinking the usual, how, why, what did I do wrong? In all honestly, over the past 18 months I have had some smaller problems with my back. Things I shrugged off and figured weren’t important. Now I realize I can’t be flippant about my body, not any more. The wear and tear my body has been exposed to over the last twenty odd years is starting to catch up. Contact sports, cold water, hiking, climbing, biking, field work, winter work, everything has softened the tougher exterior and exposed the softer parts underneath. Age is catching up and I can choose to ignore it or combat it. I am not ready to have constant aches and pains, and my field working days are not over, by a long way!
I have spent may days working and volunteering with men and women double my age (and more!), who have never shown any signs of “wear and tear”.
So for the next few weeks I will take it easy. Hold on to the memories of small mammals in the field and work towards repairing my body for the spring when hopefully field work opportunities will present themselves again! A sad end to this episode, but a necessary one.