Breakdowns causing problems

By : 
DAVID PHILLIPS
BLUFF COUNTRY NEWS

I’ve had a lot of experience with breakdowns in the past few weeks, unfortunate occurrences that force some element of creativity to solve workarounds.

The first breakdown was in my body. After remaining sedentary all Saturday due to a freak April winter storm, I got up Sunday and was a bit stiff from sitting too long the previous day. That was annoying, but not a problem.

However, later in the day while I was reaching for something in the back seat of the car, I felt a sharp pain in my back. I could barely walk and I even thought I saw stars, as the old saying goes.

Most people assumed I hurt my back shoveling snow, but I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary physically.

Still, I was nearly immobile the whole next week. Monday morning, I had to slip on water shoes that have a mesh design with no socks since I couldn’t bend over to put on socks and tie shoelaces. That made for a cold day since we still had snow on the ground.

My aching back made for a long week as I tried various alterations in my usual routine. I gave the standing desk a try, which worked pretty well, but slowed down some of my work. I tried various sitting positions and I took many work breaks.

I had it checked out and found there is little I can do about it except wait it out. There were recommendations to walk frequently, stretch if I could and manage the pain.

The thought was that it could be a disc problem since the pain was from the middle of my back. The bad thing about that is it would take the longest to heal.

Fortunately, the pain started shifting and I eventually worked my way out of the debilitating stage with the help of a chiropractor. Although the progress was so slow that first week, it went very fast after a breakthrough. Soon, I was back to my regular routine.

The recommendations didn’t include running a marathon, but I already had one paid for along with a non-refundable hotel room in Lincoln, Nebraska. When I told my chiropractor, he seemed more concerned with the drive there than the run since he knows how much I run.

The run went well, although at one point I questioned my sanity taking such a chance of aggravating my back spasms in such a grueling ordeal. I finished fine, but was particularly worried afterward because I could feel some twinges.

I stayed over Sunday night so I could break up the trip back, giving me plenty of chances to stretch out. However, Monday is a busy workday and I made arrangements to do work remotely before I left and during one stop on the way.

However, another breakdown interrupted my plans. And, no, this wasn’t my back, nor was it my car, which is the expected piece of machinery to break down.

The breakdown was our company’s internet and phone system. Apparently, a construction crew severed a line.

These days, our whole operation revolves around an internet connection. Our server is accessible through an internet connection as is our network of communications.

My presence may not have solved this problem, but I have found some workarounds in the past, such as using my cell phone as a hot spot to give us temporary connections. However, I was still a ways away when this happened and tried to come up with other options.

At the same time, our provider was forwarding calls through to my cell phone for some reason. That meant a constant stream of calls to my cell phone that I had to deal with. Luckily I had hands-free service set up, but it was still a constant distraction that added stress to the trip.

I made a stop for lunch near Des Moines to edit some sports stories, write this column and help patch through some type of pipeline to get our regular production back on track.

In this case, I’m thankful for the technology in the restaurant that allowed me to do this. However, that ever-growing dependence on technology is worrisome. In some ways, the internet has become the backbone of our company and when it breaks we become nearly immobile, just as I was a couple weeks ago when my back gave out.

I’m about to leave my wi-fi spot and hit the road again. I’m hoping our paper comes out in good shape and the only way you’ll know we were down is by reading this column. We can be creative to a point, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some glitches caused by our broken backbone.

I have no permanent solution to this dependence, except we will continue using our creativity to work around all the roadblocks thrown at us on the — sometimes bumpy — information super highway.