Sandy Smith woke up to the annoying and familiar sound of the alarm clock. It was another day and the beginning of another hectic week. She rolled from her stomach onto her back and unburied herself from beneath the old, down-filled, pillows. Sandy reached over and pressed the snooze button in an attempt to steal five more minutes of peace. As Sandy stretched, she felt the pain, a stiff ache that had unfortunately loomed over her body every morning for quite some time.
Once out of bed, Sandy leaned over and tried to concentrate on making the perfect hospital corners. She slightly lifted the large, squishy mattress, and tucked the corners just right, trying to ignore her stiff muscles and joints. She shuffled into the bathroom and brought her toothbrush to her mouth. Hunched over the sink, trying to avoid the tired reflection staring back at her, Sandy brushed her teeth. Her motions were slow this morning, and she had no time to concern herself with a little pain.
"Here they come," Sandy thought to herself as she heard the pitter-patter of four little feet running down the hallway. The kids were awake, eager to begin the day. Sandy threw on a skirt and sweater, pulling her brown high heels out from the back of the closet.
"Ow," Sandy exclaimed. The pain in her back sent a sharp signal to her brain that the day was not going to run smoothly. She clomped down the hall to retrieve the hairbrush stuck in her daughter's long hair, and her feet found Barbie. Her heels had little traction and she grabbed the banister for support.
Realizing she was late, Sandy bent over to scoop up her 2-year-old. Her back seemed to yell at her, and she suddenly realized her toddler was becoming heavier every day.
After cereal and burnt toast, Sandy marched her girls to the bus stop and waved good-bye as she turned toward her car, angry with herself for sleeping those five extra minutes. She would have to face Monday morning gridlock and suddenly felt the beginning of a headache that would stay with her all day.
"I love Mondays," Sandy said to herself as she sat in traffic. She reached for her cell phone, cradling it between her neck and head. Her conference call would need to be conducted in the car, and her headache only worsened.
Thirty minutes later, Sandy pulled into her parking place. She sprang from her car, heaved her over-stuffed leather bag over her shoulder, and scurried through the office doors.