Last updated: July 24. 2013 1:35PM - 126 Views
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PDT Outdoors Writer

In order to get you to understand, should you even happen to notice, why I’m dragging my left leg behind me and holding a hand to my lower back and left hip as I walk, I must first tell you of my sleeping arrangements.

The perpetual lower back pain I’ve suffered from for years stems from an automobile accident I was involved in at 17th Street and Carter Avenue in Ashland. That, and a fall down my basement stairs a little while after that.

At any rate, it’s been difficult to find a mattress that allows me to get up in the morning free of lower back pain. I thought I had found it in a single, narrow bed with a foam-like mattress, one that allows you to dance on one end without spilling your long-stemmed glass of wine setting on the other end (according to the commercial).

It only took a few nights to discover that that type mattress was no help to the back whatsoever.

Then I became aware of air.

I had bought an air mattress to use on a tent-camping trip. This is a double mattress, one mattress attached on top of another, and when you blow it up and place this big, fat mattress on the tent floor, it’s not only as though you were sleeping on a cloud, but it’s high enough that you can swing your legs around and hit your feet on the ground and rise right up and face life with renewed vigor, with relatively little lower back pain.

The mattress is just wide enough for one person and a dog (I’ll explain that in a minute).

At home, I place this rubber mattress on top of the bed and its foam mattress. It’s just a tad wider than the single-wide bed, calling for caution when getting up in the mornings, lest the mattress tip as one slides out.

The one problem is that the bed is so high – maybe five feet from the top to the floor — that I have to place a chair at bedside and climb up on it in order to get into bed. This is a sturdy, heavy oak chair that my father had used in the camp cars when he worked for the extra-force on the C&O.

My little squirrel dog, Belle, who weighs about 15 pounds, sleeps with me. She soon solved the mystery of getting into bed by climbing onto the back of Old Faithful, my lounge chair sitting nearby, then leaping onto the air mattress. She then settles into sleep, on the side next to the wall.

And this is how I’ve been sleeping, and getting up with less back pain than ever before.


Now, last week, Friday the 13th, at 3:20 a.m., I’m having a wonderful dream about meeting with some old school chums I hadn’t seen for years.

One of them, who was from Tennessee, announced that he had to be getting home. I reached out and grasped his left jowl with the thumb and fingers of my right hand and said, “Nobody leaves this meeting without permission of the committee!”

This, for some reason, was hilarious. Everyone guffawed, even the one whose cheek I pinched. He leaped up as though to leave without waiting for permission from the committee. I leaped up to grab him.

The next thing I know my head is hitting the floor, hard. I wake up on my side, the air mattress partly on top of me. The chair I had used to get into bed is knocked askance, turned over and lying against the chest of drawers.

I laid there for maybe 10 minutes, slowly coming to my senses, when I realized that my little dog was gone. Had she been flipped and splattered against the dresser, or the wall above it? Had I killed or crippled my little squirrel dog? Surely, if she was able, she would come and lick my face, see if I was still alive.

Then I heard a faint, “Woof? Woof?”

It was coming from the hallway outside my bedroom door. Finally I saw her peek her head in though the door and look at me. She had been scared out of her sleep, and out of her wits; had, no doubt, become airborne when the mattress flipped.

I called, and she bounded in to lick my hands, my face.


I hobbled through the weekend, even somehow made it to church and to Uncle Bob’s for breakfast afterwards. Monday morning, with the inside of my leg having turned the color of the sky over Deadman’s Ridge on a moon-less coon-hunt night, at my wife’s persistence I visited the emergency room to get checked out. X-rays showed no broken or cracked bones, an ultra-sound showed no blood clotting, and there appeared to be no concussion.

I have removed the thick foam-like mattress from the bed and placed the double air mattress on top of the bed itself, and, for the time being, everything seems to be under control.

Wonderful, isn’t it, to have everything under control?

PARTING SHOT – Eventually you will reach a point where you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.

G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (606) 932-3619 or Gsamwriter@aol.com.

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