Yoga Zumba and the Paroxysmal Back Spasm Part I

I know, I know, in a previous blog I wrote if you don’t want to sound old, don’t complain about your aches pains and ailments. But, you know, the exception that proves the rule and all. Anyway, since law school, thirty years ago, I’ve had these crippling back spasms periodically on just my lower left side. For a long time, I thought, rationally, that they MUST be caused by picking something up the wrong way, or over exertion (me? HA!), or twisting or turning wrong. It took years to figure out that stress, anxiety and mental illness had to play a factor. And being a fat ass. That had to play a factor too. Anyway, after getting them every year or two, and having to be almost lifted into the car to get to the chiropractor so I could get fixed enough so I could crawl to the bathroom on my own, I figured out if I would see the guy every few months on my own, I could mostly avoid these unpleasant spasms, which, for the most part, has been an effective plan.

So, Friday, I get one of these crippling paroxysmal back spasms. I love that word “paroxysmal”. Mainly because its so hard to spell and also because I can’t pronounce it. Now, I’d like to tell you that I did this in some intense twist in yoga class, or by really pushing myself in a forward fold in pyramid pose, or by really pushing myself in Zumba class, but noooooo, I did it driving. Yes, driving. On my fat ass. In my comfy Volvo.

On Friday, my usual day off, I got a massage, saw the chiro boy and was on the way to Yoga class, when the Volvo, flashes in red, “Power System Failure; URGENT” with a red triangle, with an exclamation point, and a voice exclaims; “Danger Danger Mr. Robinson!” The route to Yoga class is also the route to the Volvo dealer and it’s only 3:30 so no problem, detour to the dealer, but then I have this vision of being stuck on the Arthur Ravenel Bridge, the main bridge between Downtown Charleston and Mount Pleasant SC, and being on the 5 pm news, as THAT FAT GUY in the red Volvo who snarled traffic on a FRIDAY happy hour because he couldn’t keep his fancy ass car running.

I get to the dealer and Amy asks what I’m doing there. I’m completely drenched in sweat as the air conditioner stopped working when the red danger danger message stopped flashing so I explained all the messages which flashed, IN RED and said, “Either the alternator/AC belt has broken. or its the apocalypse, or aliens or coming” but my messages are usually yellow, this is the only time in 14 years a Volvo has given me a red message so I was sure the Volvo was going to explode. She got me a loaner car, told me she’d call me Monday and sends me on my way. As I went to get in the loaner car, I realized I couldn’t move. I realized in the midst of all that error message, I must have gripped the steering wheel,and tensed up, like a little girl who was going to have her first car wreck. How embarrassing. But wait, it gets worse.

So, I go home figuring it will be gone by morning. I wake up Saturday morning in time for Zumba class , and it is not pretty. Generally speaking, if you have to crawl off a couch by rolling over to plant one knee on the floor then the other knee on the floor then gradually pushing yourself up while writhing in pain, Zumba class is probably not a good idea, no matter what your brain is telling you otherwise. But, I went anyway. Macho, Macho Man. I want to be, a macho man. (You automatically know something is bad judgment when Village People lyrics are playing in your head. Automatically) I did however, practice some creative profanity during the class that I had not before experienced which I would not have believed possible. Trust me. Pain will enable you to combine curse words in ways you had never thought possible.

I went home and found my stash of flexeril muscle relaxers which I had wished for years ago and which had been left on my front porch by the pharmacopeia fairy in an plain pill bottle with a simple dymo label which said “flexeril”. (and you guys thought practicing the law of attraction didn’t work) Oh, here’s hint number two which I picked up in tonight’s Zumba Class – do NOT go to Zumba on Flexerils…. More of that in Part II of this piece.

In desperation, I emailed my massage goddess and pleaded my case, (I also told her the whole car/little girl story on the theory that she’d be laughing so hard and peeing herself that she’d have to see me Monday, which apparently worked, and I got an appointment). Much to my surprise, and further embarrassment, I learned, after all these thirty years, that my problem is NOT in my lower back, but my pirformis muscle, which, I had never heard of before.
piriformis

However, to save you some google time, I will just tell you, that from where she was touching my ass, I said, “so when they say ‘that was so scary it made my asshole pucker – this is the muscle that does it’ I guessed from her hysterical laughter that was an affirmative”. She then said something about it wrapping around the sciatic nerve and causing all the pain, blah blah blah. To be continued…… Zumba on Flexeril and Karma for the Electric Slide Part II

Saturday Morning Zumba Class, Blues Brothers Style

image

Some of the best epiphanies often come about almost by accident. Some Saturdays, getting to Zumba at NINE am is just ridiculously early, so I’ve learned to get my Starbucks caffeine on the way THERE. Once I saw one of the other Zumberanians drink Starbucks DURING class instead of water, and I thought, how smart. (I’m still thinking about taking a smoke break during class)

So, I staggered into class this morning, listening to Flo Rida’s new hit, “Can’t believe it” (THAT’S a whole ‘another blog- hey Dale, can we have that as a cortina at tango?) and I still had my sunglasses on when I realized, “Wow, my eyes feel so much better in here”. This dance class room has two walls of windows to let in “natural light”. Who the hell thought that was a good idea in buildings? There is a good reason we lived in caves for 40,000 years. No one wants to wake up to “natural light”. Hell, that’s why we spend a fortune on blinds, curtains, drapes, mini blinds, shades, window coverings, window tint. No one likes to see that shit. Except architects and painters. Not the drunk ones who paint your walls one color. The drunk crazy Van Gogh ones. So, I did the ENTIRE Zumba Class in my prescription Ray ban shades. Awesome.

I also have some pretty exciting news. The scale has finally moved and I’ve lost……..2 pounds. Of course, to make me feel better, I’m counting that as a loss over the last three months, instead of the last 4 years I’ve been working at it. Now, I know that doesn’t sound like much, but if you break it up into ounces, that works out to a loss of 2 oz a week over the last 16 weeks. So, that’s 104 ounces a year or 6.5 pounds. I will reach my goal weight of a loss of 100 pounds in 15.38 years, or on my deathbed. If it were the 4 years I have really been working on it, it would take 24 years, but then I can count on the death decomposition process to really slim me down towards the end of that.

Or….., I’m gonna die the healthiest fat man in America. Woo hoo.

I think I should write a fitness book.

Zumba Good News, Bad News

For the last two Saturdays, even though I have my spot in the VERY back of the class, I’ve had a clear view of the mirror. Good News: I really am getting the hang of both the foot work and the arm work.
Bad News: I look more ridiculous doing it right than I did, not having any idea what I was doing. I look like an old Italian version of the Michelin Man trying to dance Salsa at an Italian Wedding after someone spiked his Prosecco with LSD.

michelin man short arms

Notice the really short arms? Steven, the yoga instructor, calls these tyrannosaurus Rex arms. Combined with the blessing of overly tight shoulders, my arms look like a Republican throwing coins out the window of their car on the NJ jersey turnpike at the toll booth.

Good News: I have had a clear view of Dale, so I can really pay attention to the detail of the choreography.
Bad news: realizing I’m so fat, and that she’s so thin, her image, in front of me in the mirror, only covers my nose, the center of my chest, and the small space between my legs.

Bad/Good News: Like any good teacher, trainer, torturer, sadist, Dale keeps things fresh, interesting, changes the curriculum, and keeps some of the pain new, so you can’t develop a tolerance. Case in point, I like and respect a good low squat as much as anyone, for that good butt development, but (pun intended) Dale likes them while you are walking sideways, first one way and then the other, sometimes with a high kick at one end and then the other, until a nice searing pain, like barbed wire slicing through your glutes and quads is shooting straight to your brain.
Good news: reaching back to my bygone days of high school and college football game attendance, and relying on my recent yoga class attendance and spiritual development I have developed a cheer/mantra which I recite in my own mind which inspires me; motivates me, and gets me through these moments. It goes something like this: “you bitch”.

Bad News: The better shape I get into doing Zumba, the rate at which I can increase my pain and self torture increase at an exponential rate.
Good news: Apparently, unbeknownst to me, there is no limit to the number of times I can say the “f” bomb in my own mind, silently, or the manner in which I so think it, reflecting a wide variety of feelings and emotions and sentiments. There’s always the WTF?!, which has become so popular, closely followed with the loud, (in my own mind) quickly shouted version, which is closely related to the “holy” version, all often used at the end of a song. Then there’s the rapid fire version, like a machine gun. Or the up and down, lilting version. Or the God take me now version. Of the F me version. Or the I can’t breathe version. Or the F it version. or the F this version.

Good News: I wasn’t sure the first time I heard it, but she had it in her playlist again, so I’m POSITIVE now; Dale has stripper music in her Zumba playlist. YESSSSS!!!! (Good editing job though gurl….. )
Bad news – to the parents of the young girl from the other dance class who came RUSHING back there whooping and hollering and who gleefully joined in for this song only – in the immortal words of Chris Rock – you have failed at your only job as a parent and you are NOT gonna be happy at how she pays for college. Just sayin.

hmmmm, maybe after I try Pilates I could try a pole dancing class…..???????