When I was acting up into a Senior position I was working overtime. Pushing myself too hard. In all kinds of ways. Not thinking about my health, not doing any exercise. Just trying to stay on top of my responsibilities.

One of my tasks was to attend the FNA clinic and use a microscope to check the sample had enough cells for a diagnosis. The microscope was situated in a locked cupboard inside a padded suitcase. Each clinic, I would have to get the heavy microscope, wheel it through to the room we were in and lift it from the case onto a trolley. Each time I did this, I lifted it carefully, using my core muscles to protect my back. My back had problems in the past, so I was always careful.

As we were short staffed, I was doing this clinic twice, instead of once a week.

One morning I had a bath while my husband took the kids to school – it was his day to work from home. I got out of the bath, put on my dressing gown and leaned over to rinse the bath. In the middle of rinsing the bath, my back went.

It feels like something has snapped in your back and you are unable to move a muscle without intense pain. I was stuck in a hunched position, holding the running shower head. I didn’t know what to do! All I could do was wait. I remained as still as a statue. Frozen. It felt like forever. But it was probably only a few minutes. When he came home he switched it off the shower and tried to straighten me. No way! The pain shot through me again. He had to literally carry me in the hunched position, into the bedroom and lay me down on my side.

Me being me, I decided the pain would go away soon. I ignored the signs that maybe I needed to rest! I called work and told my manager that my backs gone, but I’m sure I’ll be in, I’ll just be an hour or so late. It’s only pulled muscles surely?

Hubby got me a hot water bottle and I lay there. Every time I tried to move, the pain was just as piercing. The clock was ticking. I was starting to panic.

My need to get to work was greater than the care I wanted to show to my body.

My hair was still wet. I was still just in a dressing gown. I took painkillers. Another hot water bottle. Nothing worked. I called work again and instead of calling in sick, I told my manager that I had an awful lot of paperwork, so if she could just email it across to me, maybe I could work from home? She agreed.

I sat there, in my dressing gown, on my laptop, working for the rest of the day. With wet hair.

To me, work was the most important thing!

Work is not the most important thing though. If my children had the choice, they’d choose to have a healthy & well Mummy. What example was I setting? Where was the balance?

My friends questioned why I was so adamant to work and not rest. Why wasn’t I listening to my body?

Because at the time, I was not important to me. Everyone else was.

I now know I need to stop when my body tells me to. I take care of me first, so I am well enough to take care of everyone else.