Sunday, August 3, 2008

Neck on the line

Mum even knows exactly when it happened.

It was about 6 am, three days ago, and she was bending low, about to retrieve Sonny for a feed. Her mind was hazy but it was a completely routine operation, something she performed three or four times a night.

But this go-around, something went wrong. As she straightened, Sonny in her arms, Mum felt something give. There was no loud 'crack', no dramatic shooting agony, but there was a warning quiver in the neck that told her she had stressed her muscles just a tad too much.

The next morning, Mum woke up with a champion of a neckache. It radiated outward from somewhere around her shoulder, till she pulsed with pain. And she is sure it is traceable to that misstep, or misshold, early in the morning. Maybe Sonny had slowly fattened up till he was too heavy to be casually picked up by her. Maybe her arms had been worn down by her regular put-baby-on-potty try-outs (see 'Mum goes potty I'). In any case, Mum's now one of the walking wounded, regularly crying out "Ooh, my neck!" and scrounging for free neck rubs from Pa.

Of course, we're not blaming Sonny. He has no comprehension that his insistence on regular, small feedings throughout the night - rather than solid, more spaced-out meals, probably visited injury on his mother. We don't load moral responsibility onto those who not only did not mean harm, but had no idea that their actions had the possibility of causing hurt.

Ah, and there's a distinction drawn there, for those of a philosophical bent. Had Sonny been aware of the possibility that these endless nocturnal lifts might have resulted in a nasty sprain, then the fact that he did not specifically wish injury on Mum might not be enough for him to escape some smidgen of blame. After all, were we to order a young child to run across a busy road a couple of times on trivial errands, it is no excuse to say that we 'didn't intend for him to be hit by a motorcycle'. Any half-intelligent person would be expected to realise that there was a risk there, and be guided accordingly.

Mum bought a bottle of sprain-soothing ointment today and, with any luck, she'll be better soon. But of course, if she insists on cavalierly grabbing heavy objects during this delicate juncture - and ends up aggravating things - she'll only have herself to blame.


Ruth said...

Mum, here's hoping you feel better soon!

Cloudsters said...

Thanks, Ruth. It will take a few ginger days.