John Wayne, as great as he was, was not entirely correct.

In the movie ‘True Grit,’ he had said, “Looking back is a bad habit.”

The problem with that statement is that we can learn a lot from looking back.

For example, I learned a lot from looking back to Christmas Eve 2021 when my back was a little sore.

Fast forward four days, and I found myself sitting in Urgent Care at The Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus.

The slight back pain from Christmas Eve had been upgraded to tremendous torment.

I required help from my wife just to put on a pair of jeans.

I am sure even “The Duke” could not look cool as someone helped him pull up his pants one leg at a time.

To the best of my knowledge, the catalyst was caused by lifting and carrying a heavy and awkwardly shaped gift intended for my son-in-law.

I grinned and bore the initial discomfort of carrying the present down a flight of stairs and under the Christmas tree.

I went to bed that night and prayed that I would be able to get down on the floor to play with my granddaughter.

My prayer was partly answered as I stubbornly made my way to the ground to play with her on Christmas Day.

Getting up from the ground was not entirely a pretty sight to witness.

I took some pain medication and occasionally grimaced my way through the rest of the day.

Boxing Day didn’t seem too bad with six-plus hours of it being in a car heading to Ottawa.

The heated seats seemed to do their job of making the journey pleasant.

Upon arrival at our destination, I felt more like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz after a terrible rainstorm.

“Can you find me my oil can?”

RUB A535 and Robaxisal were the oil that allowed this Tin Man to get from Point A to Point B with a reduced level of squeakiness.

So here I was in Urgent Care, waiting for a doctor to see me.

As I waited, all I could think was “if only I had said no.”

“If only I had asked for help to carry down that gift.”

Chances are I could have avoided spending 3.5 hours at urgent care.

I continued to use the over-the-counter meds and ice my back three times a day.

I went through three months of physiotherapy sessions.

Walking to the back of Walmart and back during that time could be painful if my pain meds had worn off.

One day, as my wife stood in line to fill a prescription, I grimaced in pain longing for an ice pack and medication to relieve my suffering.

How long was this going to take?

As I looked down at the shopping cart, an idea hit me like Mike Tyson during his prime.

I motioned to her that I was okay where I was.

My physiotherapist had shown me a new exercise I could do that morning.

And the handle of the shopping cart could prove to be useful in rehabbing my strained muscles.

I went through the exercise as I had during my appointment, and it helped the time melt away until we were ready to head home.

Over time, the pain decreased and I was back to normal.

I learned a great deal from the experience.

We shouldn’t dwell in the past, but we should learn from it.

Otherwise, history might repeat itself.

I don’t know what John Wayne’s thoughts are on that.

But, in my case, history repeating itself would be painful.

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