Posted at 23:13 on 10 Mar 2011 by Pandora / Blake
My discipline deal with D (how's that for an alliterative beginning?) has been revealing so far. To my surprise, I've pretty much kept within my drinking limits, apart from one week which included two birthday parties and two other boozy social occasions.¹ And my gym schedule has been easy to maintain, at least when I'm at home and not gallivanting around the country. But the daily physio exercises I'm meant to do to help my long-term back pain - day after day, despite my best efforts, I'm failing to find the time.
I tried doing them last thing before bed; but then by the time I've finished for the day, I'm flattened and just need my sleep. We haven't tried first thing in the morning yet as my morning routine is already longer than it should be, and I don't want half the day to disappear before I get down to work. I tried fitting them in as and when, but my schedule is already squeezed to bursting and I seem to never have a space of time when there isn't something urgent needing doing. D and I sat down and talked about it and agreed that a mid-afternoon break might work, since an excuse to get up from my desk and move around will help my back in any case. I have an alarm set for 15:00, but it always seems to go off when I'm in the middle of something super-important. My new idea is to set the snooze on it to half an hour, rather than five minutes, so chances are I'll have finished whatever I was busy with by the time it goes off again.
I'm encouraged by my success in the other areas, and determined to break the back of this one (as it were). In the meantime, however, my record is fairly shoddy. The last time D and I settled the account, I was due 48 whacks with the bathbrush for missed physio exercises; a bonus 6 for missing a number of days in a row; plus 12 for going a week without a booze-free day. Hardly a glowing report. We talked about ways I could try and do better, but I did feel genuinely disappointed with myself, and D, while gentle, was not exactly impressed.
So the tone was very different from our last punishment session. He asked me to undress completely, and as I lay on the bed I knew this wasn't going to be pleasant. D's manner was calm, but a little cold. The strokes for missed back exercises were so numerous that he didn't give them to me in sets of six, this time; just one extended application that did not care how much I wriggled or cried.
I did cry, before we were halfway through. The tears squeezed themselves out onto the pillow and it felt good to surrender to the pain, to our collective disappointment, the shared sense that this punishment was thoroughly deserved. The last six, bonus strokes for missing my back exercises too many days in a row, were hard, and if I hadn't cried I might have screamed.
But the worst came last: twelve hard whacks with the brush on my thighs. He delivered them with a clinical, even pace, starting at the top of one thigh and working down it for six, then back up the next. The pain was incredible. I gripped the rail at the head of the bed for dear life, willed my legs to stay still and not kick, and sobbed.
I felt better afterwards, though. Admittedly rather sorry for myself, but less burdened by the knowledge of my failure.
I'm sorry to say, however, that after all that the intervening weeks have been even busier, and my good intentions have continued to fail. I'm still not giving up - I want my health to improve, and I'm determined to find a way of making this system work for me. But the next accounting is likely to be another painful one.
1. I could perhaps blame Emma-Jane for the jugs of mojitos, but that would go against the spirit of spankee solidarity.²
2. Which is, of course, Bacardi.