Friday night, for the first time in my life, I had to walk off an assignment for a news organization.

The Floyd Press assigned me to shoot Friday night’s season finale, along with “Senior Night,” for next week’s paper.

I had been battling severe lower back pains for most of the week and took three days off to stay off my feet, take medication, and hope the pain would end so I could work.

On Friday, I doped up with pain medications, muscle relaxers and 800mgs of ibuprofen with the hope that would allow me to work.

Five minutes into shooting the football players and their parents for Senior night, both my legs buckled and I went down. Two people helped me up but the pain became too much to try and stay on my feet.  I told Floyd Press sports editor Roger Mannon that I could not continue and started the walk back to my Jeep — stopping twice to let the pain that shot down both legs subside enough to continue.

Once in the Jeep, I sat for another 20 minutes, waiting for the pain to subside so I could start the vehicle and head home. Every use of the clutch, brake and accelerator sent new spasms up and down my legs. I finally arrived home but had to use a camera monopod as a cane to get into the house.  I took more pain medication and laid on the couch, waiting for the pain to subside enough to breath without wincing.

Finally, I fell asleep.

I injured my back more than 30 years ago, resulting in compression of disks in the lower back. Since then I’ve had pain attacks every few years or so but none as painful as the attack that struck this week.

Back to the doctor on Monday. Until then, a simple trip to the kitchen for a cup of coffee or glass of water turns into a study in torture.

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