Elsie panicked in the middle of the night. Her back had flared up, the old sacroiliac joint, and she was now in immense pain. She was afraid to move but couldn’t stay as she was and on top of that she had to use the bathroom. Elsie, nearly 66 years old, single, living with only dogs and cats, was terrified. What if she couldn’t move? What would happen? Slowly and very carefully Elsie inched her legs over the edge of the bed and just as carefully, with one dog watching and wondering what she was up to, Elsie managed to get out of the bed and to the bathroom. Where are my walking sticks when I need them, she wondered, but she knew, they were in storage and she kept forgetting to ask someone to get them out of storage. Elsie realized that she didn’t know anyone she could call in a situation such as this and it certainly didn’t warrant a 911 call, so very carefully Elsie eased herself back into bed. Now would be the time to learn to sleep on my back, Elsie thought to herself, but no such luck. She couldn’t sleep on either side because of bad shoulders (getting old it rough!), and so she worked her way around to her stomach. At this point one cat decided to help by curling up in the small of Elsie’s back. Wouldn’t you know it, she thought! Why couldn’t he go higher or lower, but even though it wasn’t the most comfortable place for him, she appreciated his presence as it made her feel less alone. Elsie finally dozed off and gradually, very gradually the pain subsided just a bit. By morning she knew she could get out of bed if only she took her time. And she knew she would be seeing her chiropractor in the afternoon so surely things would get better. Elsie loved the independence and the space she had because she lived alone, but she realized yet again, with the terrors of the night before were still fresh in her mind, that there was a price to pay for that independence.


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