Thursday, April 21, 2005

Pain, Pain Go Away!

Ever have one of those weeks that starts out calmly enough, like a sunny country drive, then suddenly and unexpectedly hauls butt around the bend, roars downhill and comes to a screeching halt in the parking lot of crapola?

That's what the past week has been like for me.

The "normal" aches and pains I experience have turned evil and inflicted upon me a wretched and roaring pain in my neck and shoulders. Not content to stay localized, though, it then spread to my low back and hips, rendering me pretty much useless and rather immobile for most of the week. It started, ironically, after a massage which was supposed to, of course, relax the muscles. Oddly the adverse occurred as she had somehow managed to jam and prod so much that the muscles reacted by cramping up and clamping down.

This is very disgruntling for me. For goodness sake, I have things to do! People to see! A garden to tend! I haven't been able to get out and get my much-needed errands done since, until two days ago, I could barely turn my head, not a real asset when you're trying to drive. And sitting at the computer, well, forget more than five minutes at any one stretch. So I get up, check email, write one in reply, walk around the house, lay down. Get up, read a little, go back to bed. This has been the pitiful rhythm of my days. I tried reading, but holding the book aloft exacerbated the shoulder pain. I tried to sit up and read, but sitting for very long caused screaming response from my back and hip muscles. Ditto with watching TV. All tendons seem in mutiny and I'm caught in the crossfire. I resorted to listening to the radio while lying in bed. I discovered that the music of my era, the tunes we so loved in high school and college, are now being played on the "oldies" station. (Just when, praytell, was eighties music relegated to the classification of "oldies"? I prefer to think of them as "rock classics", thankyouverymuch. And if I am going to listen to "oldies", it darn well better be older than I can remember.) That further depressed me. I switched over to talk radio, but about ten minutes of that had my muscles more tense, and the cat running scared, as I yelled at the radio and the half-witted drivel streaming out of my speakers. I popped in jazz CDs.

I tried Tylenol. Nada. Bumped it up to Motrin. Dulled it a bit, not much. On to Aleve. Nary a blip. I slathered on cooling gels and muscle rub creams. I'm now contemplating the possible efficacy of using Limoncello medicinally.

I have learned from experience not to share these instances with too many people. In the past if I mentioned health issues, I received responses that ranged from "OH, I've got just the thing for you. I know it will help. I sell this line of vitamins and for only $139.95 I will get you a starter pack, okay?"; to "Suck it up, kid, pain is a part of life"; and, the glazed-over eyes accompanied by an expression that clearly communicates, "Ummm, when I asked 'how are you' it was part of a greeting, not because I really wanted a response." Thankfully, there are also those blessed ones who respond sympathetically and genuinely, who will lift my spirits by making me laugh or being helpful, or who just exhibit concern. My sister, for example, has become a little 'meals on wheels', bringing me lunches. My uncle Dean can commiserate since he is in pain with sciatica and he never, ever fails to make me laugh. Bryan, of course, wants to jump into action and fix it all, and he picks up all the slack when I'm out of commission. Miss Underestimator, a fellow blogette, offered a muscular relaxation technique she garnered through her shoulder rehab experience. My mom -God bless mothers!- voiced her "oh no's" with a concerned voice, then got livid and said, "You should call that quack massage therapist and tell her....".

I started feeling a little better yesterday, so, foolishly, I went to Italian class. At last week's class I had had my confidence bolstered as I had understood - get this! - nearly every word spoken in conversation. I was so proud, I wanted to repeat the experience. Instead, the pain resumed due to the uncomfortable classroom chairs. It distracted me; I understood nary a thing. Sad, frustrated, I limped home and crawled back into bed.

Today I'm still going through the up-and-down cycle. I've been writing this in five minutes increments. And now, again, my time online is up; back to a prone position with a heating pad. Now where did I put that Beach Boys CD?

copyright 2005 Valerie Schneider

1 comment:

Dr. S said...

Trust me, Valerie, there is no reason for me promoting the following. When I first tore one of my rotator cuffs and simultaneously suffered from lower back pain from too much bad digging-style (if there is such a thing, but I suspect there is!) in the gardening, my doctor referred me to an acupuncturist, who's not far from you on 528. Two 8-week sessions and my swimmer's shoulder and lower back had returned. She's really incredible, and I've since heard from another friend that he's been to her, too, and found her amazing.

It might be worth considering.