Yesterday this particular online groceries delivery man recognised me. He hadn't been on my route for a couple of years - the supermarket seems to switch them around regularly and with one or two morose exceptions they are to a man affable and friendly. He helped me unload my fortnightly order and asked how my back was.
When he last saw me I was on strong codeine-based painkillers and had to lie on the floor for a good part of the day. I remember he commiserated with me at the time and told me how he'd had similar problems before taking his current job and now he hauled heavy crates of groceries in and out of his van all day. Yesterday as he passed me the packets of salad, tins of sardines and the bottles of extra virgin olive oil he said that he believed that all this heavy lifting had actually strengthened his back. Using the muscles, moving, bending at the knees, keeping the weight close to the body.
He's right. I'm not where I was two or three years ago. The pain levels in the back are much lower and I'm off the codeine. I'm moving more freely, with greater confidence. I didn't want to inflict on him details of the gut and digestive stuff which has taken over as the number one health nuisance but seeing him again is good reminder.
A little gratitude is in order. Heaven knows I'm not where I want to be healthwise, but looking back it's clear that nature and time are doing their job. Slowly. With a bit of luck and a prayer the progress will continue.