Fr Z asks a prayer – UPDATE Socks Plot™


Even times of pain can be amusing.

For example, I was contemplating putting on my socks.  For those of you who have experienced back pain, this is not a small undertaking.

Part of my Socks Plot™ involved the use of one of those long shoe horns that hotels sometimes provide.   Having carefully maneuvered my components into what I deemed the optimal mis en place, I launched my cunning plan.    Just as I began, across the room an alarm went off on my mobile phone with the Mission Impossible ringtone.   The perfect timing compensated for the additional pain that came from laughing out loud.

BTW… for travel, I highly recommend Fox River socks, which are milspec and which dry really fast if you rinse them out frequently.   The black crew dress liner is my summer go-to sock when on the road.  US HERE – UK HERE

You long-time readers might recall that we had a sock drive for soldiers in Afghanistan which was sparked by a chaplain friend of mine.   We exceeded all expectations.  HERE and HERE

Originally Published on: May 4, 2018

I had hoped to avoid this.

Friends, I think that with the help of antibiotics I have beaten the crud that infested me.   My eye is also better.

I did something to hurt my back.  It’s not a little discomfort, but rather drive air from the lungs pain when doing things like … moving.   I spent today in a chair.

May I ask your prayers for swift and complete relief?

This is ridiculous.  So far this trip is going well for most people, a few have had relatively controllable issues.  I, on the other hand, have been beset.

However, it is also a 1st Friday and helped my determination even to figure out how to get out of the aforementioned chair and even attempt the putting on of socks.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. SKAY says:

    Continued prayers for you, Father.
    I am so sorry about your back pain.
    If it is a pulled back muscle it is VERY painful. I know.
    Rest and a muscle relaxer helped me.

  2. Mariana2 says:

    On it!

  3. DD says:

    Prayers for sure. Meanwhile, this might be a good diversion. The 2018 Met Gala has the theme of Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. I think the late Andrew Greeley (who wrote a book titled The Catholic Imagination ) would be pleased. Might be too late to add this to my soon-to-be-defended dissertation’s chapter 6. Here’s one link, though the NYT has lots more on the subject:

  4. mike cliffson says:

    Fr … there s a heck of a lot you can do to your back that the pain from immobilizes. Heat is almost always helpful: hot water bottles, hot water earthenware we used to call pigs in England, wrapt in a towel ,or those titchy electric shawls made in china, So are tens machines , liddles Spain sells themfor 20Euros when they have them in stock, they don’t suit absolutely everybody. They cant cure, but relaxation of the muscles helps a lot. You do have to follow instructions, never over the spinal column, never neck and head, never mucusy parts of the body or open wounds. I m sure a medical reader could give you some vague tips without you suing him for damages. I forget the best saint for bad backs, I don’t know how far it comes in guardian angels’ remit but there’s no harm in asking .

  5. Joy65 says:

    Our Father
    Hail Mary
    Glory Be

  6. rssalazar says:

    My prayers for you Father!!!

  7. Kathleen10 says:

    oh boy. rough to be you right now. back pain is crazy, it comes on you so fast. I’m sorry this is happening to you. I’m asking Padre Pio to help you.
    If you threw your back out it just has to run it’s course. You may need help with those socks. They do have this sock-helper thing at pharmacies now. It literally makes it possible to put your socks on when you, can’t.
    Try Motrin.
    What a bummer.

  8. G1j says:

    Certainly Fr. Z. I ruptured a disk a couple years back and the Doc’s prescribed a Medrol Dose Pack-Steroids to reduce the inflammation. I swear it was heaven sent. It really helped a lot. Nothing else even touched the pain. Prayers for God’s healing grace to fall on you.

  9. chantgirl says:

    Prayers to St. Padre Pio for you! A priest with chronic back pain once told me that the only day of the year that his back doesn’t bother him is St. Pio’s feast day.

  10. Semper Gumby says:

    Prayers Fr. Z.

  11. Ms. M-S says:

    Our champion whose lance skewers prattle,
    Who calls out the liars to battle,
    O, Knight-errant of accuracy,
    Do get well, for without you we’d be
    Stranded up that famed creek with no paddle!

    (Will pray for your recovery.)

  12. APX says:

    Try a chiropractor (one that’s not into quackery). You may have a herniated disc, or a rib out. Both are extremely painful. Sitting in a chair all day is the worst for back pain and back injuries. Try lying on the floor with you knees bent and legs resting on a chair or a couch.

  13. benedetta says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this Father Z! Redoubling prayers!

  14. tamranthor says:

    St. Philomena, please take Fr. Z under your tender ministrations; intercede for him to restore his back to its former glory and function, without bodily pain. Allow him to fully serve Our Lord with his consecrated hands, and to lead all of us to grace and final glory.

  15. ChesterFrank says:

    Prayers to Saint Gemma Galgani are being said on your behalf.

  16. chantgirl says:

    Another good trick is a rice sock. Fill an athletic sock with a 1-2 cups of uncooked rice, knot the sock, microwave for about 60 seconds, and apply. It stays hot for a long time and molds to your body well. It can be reused again. It was my go-to when I had back pain during pregnancy and couldn’t take meds.

  17. Ame E. says:

    You have been added to our rosary intentions for the sick. Will pray for you this p.m.

  18. rcg says:

    Poor Fr. Z.! I just have come through the same tunnel with a muscle spasm pinching my sciatic nerve. Now THAT was weird. So I will pray to St Luke for the second time today to guide your doc (and I recommend a physical therapist for the back). God bless you for what you do. Maybe He is making you rest a bit.

  19. snegopad says:

    Its for sure, this happened to you because you did something VERY good in fighting the dark one…………..hold on,—- praying for you constantly!

  20. Tom Kaye says:

    Having experienced all of the symptoms you have at one time or another in my life, Father, I think I have a recovery process down pat.
    1) take my meds
    2) drink plenty of water
    3) do not deviate from my regularly scheduled prayer life. I sit in the back of church on Sunday and try not to contaminate anyone. No free passes or excuses on #3. All illness can be meritorious for the Holy Souls in purgatory. I try not to waist any of it

  21. SKAY says:

    Father, if it is a disk the suggestion about the steriod medication by G1j would
    be very helpful. It definitely helped my daughter right before we were to leave for
    a long trip.
    Continuing prayers for you. I think snegopad has a point.

  22. un-ionized says:

    As a permanent back problem person, I recommend the sock tool that Kathleen10 mentions. It’s the one usually included in the hip kit. There is a very sturdy one for compression socks. For sock removal the Ableware dressing stick has a notch on the shoe horn end. It also has a hook for pulling things like pants. For toenail maintenance, podiatrists do this for a reasonable fee. Insurance covers it if you’re diabetic.

  23. un-ionized says:

    rcg, I get the nerve entrapment sciatica about twice a year. Chlorzoxazone and quiet prayer (for other people) help.

  24. JabbaPapa says:

    From experience (including back pains), I’d actually suggest long 100% wool military socks for travelling purposes.

  25. KateD says:


    Judging from your most recent posts, it sounds like you got your spunk back. Hopefully that means the pain has let up some. We will continue to pray. Might it be spiritual attack? It seems to be going around.

  26. Cafea Fruor says:

    Poor Father! You definitely have my prayers!

    I can sympathize–a couple of years ago, I injured my sacroiliac joint (joint between the hip bone and the lower spine), and even though I’ve been through a lot of physical pain in my life and have a high tolerance for it, this outstripped any other pain I’ve experienced by far. I remember lying in bed, in so much pain I couldn’t sleep or even think. It hurt so bad it took five minutes to roll over, and I was desperate for pain meds, but just getting out of bed was massively excruciating and took my breath away.

  27. Marg says:

    Don’t forget abdominal breathing…or as my grandmother used to call it “belly breathing”
    to relax those muscles too.

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