The lower back pain is starting to clear up, which means I've made tentative steps in the direction of getting back to work on the book again. But there were points where it was getting silly: at its worst, I had to drag myself from the side of my bed to the phone to call a doctor, and the whole process took about fifteen minutes - and the distance from the side of my bed to my telephone is about twelve feet.
A little net research on the laptop told me back pain occurs most frequently in the lower region of the spine, since this is essentially a pivot upon which the entire upper body balances; as a result, the muscles as well as the bones at this point are under considerable stress, which is why good posture really does help.
The next step is to visit a physiotherapist, something I should be sorting out on Monday morning. Mostly I hobble about at the moment, and take the subway everywhere, as opposed to my usual walking or cycling, but another couple of weeks and I should be back to normal. But one of the weirder aspects of the medication I received was the hiccuping. Hiccuping for, like, 26 hours straight. Turned out this is an occasional reaction to some of the painkillers I'd been supplied with, but it would have been nice to know before rather than after returning to work and spending an entire day behind a desk, on a subway train, buying my lunch, and watching television in the evening while hiccuping uncontrollably. I made a joke of it to a friend by imitating Woody Allen's 'countdown' hiccuping in the movie Casino Royale, but still ... bizarre doesn't even begin to sum it up.
I've been watching the current series of 'Sea of Souls' on television with some interest, given I've been attending a scriptwriting workshop at the BBC run by someone who works on the show. Considering the sheer quantity of unadulterated dross that passes for fantasy/science fiction television, it does stand out. Really it fits in the 'supernatural' bracket, but given that the protagonists use scientific methodology in their attempts to understand the phenomena they encounter, I find myself thinking of it as being a little closer to sf: think of all the shows where the heroes wave crosses or chant spells, and you'll see the difference. If, however, you haven't seen the show and think about renting it based on my recommendation, skip the first series and go for the second. The first series wasn't that great: the second is much better (the series is currently on its third season). And what's even nicer is that it's produced locally, by BBC Scotland, and set here in Glasgow.
Oh yeah - thanks to all who mailed me advice on how to deal with the back pain.