Saturday morning. The clock read 4:50 a.m. And I couldn’t move.
I manage to pull the same muscle in my back a couple of times a year. Sometimes I’ll just stand there getting ready in the morning and I’ll feel something slip out of place. Usually it just ends up stiff for a week or two. On rare occasion, though, the pain is severe: I’m hunched over like a grandpa and sucking air with each painful step.
So late last week, I turn in my chair to look at a clock—I think that’s how it happened—and I pulled the muscle. For a couple of days, it felt stiff. No big deal.
Then I woke up Saturday morning, no alarm clock necessary. As soon as I budged, severe pain shot through my back. When that happens, you can’t get up like usual. So I figured I’d take my alternate approach: make a slow roll out of bed, ease onto my knees, then rise slowly. But on this particular morning, the slightest movement shot fresh bolts of pain through me. I’m a fairly young guy, so this was scary. I didn’t know if I’d get to my feet at all and, for the first time in my life, wondered if this should qualify as a 911 episode. But of course, I couldn’t reach the phone ten feet away. At least with each doubling over in pain, I fell a few inches forward!
Somehow I ended up on my feet. By that time, I wondered if I was about to pass out. Sweating profusely, my body felt like it was burning up inside. Perhaps the initial fright had caused my blood pressure to soar. I grabbed the phone in case I wouldn’t get another chance. Then, still feeling like I had a body temperature of 107, I stumbled to the refrigerator and stuck my head in the freezer—literally—for a couple of minutes until I cooled down. The last thing I wanted to do was asleep again!
Experiences like these remind us of our mortality. It sounds ridiculous in hindsight, but at the time, you truly wonder if you’re on the verge of death. Those are the times Bible verses take on a special meaning. Believe me, the words out of my mouth that morning were: “I’ll live and not die and declare the works of the Lord.”
Needless to say, I made it through. Looking back, I’m shocked at the details I could remember from the experience. Oftentimes, when I go through an unusual experience, whether severe or not, I write down the details of how I felt or the nuances of what happened.
Experiences like these provide us with reference points for future stories. Then enable us to step into a character’s shoes in a way few others can. In one experience, we’ve captured an array of emotions and physical reactions. Write them down! We might as well make them useful for something!
Hope this helps. Never give up!