I Haven’t Got Time For the Pain

Don’t you just hate it when old people go on and on about all their various aches and pains?  You just feel like interrupting their incessant damn whining and telling them to take a few pills for the love of God.  So if you’re one of those people who hates that, don’t read any further, because I’m about to become one of those people doing what you hate.   But just for this one blog, I absolutely promise, and then I’ll take a few pills and shut up about it.

My right shoulder has been driving me insane for over two months.  At its worst it was a pain that originated in my neck and spread down to my elbow and up the back of my head and into my right shoulder-blade.  When I lifted my arm above my head something would click and lock and it hurt like hell to bring the arm back down again.  My neck also makes strange clicking sounds.  No one warned me that when you get old various parts of your body would start to spontaneously dislocate themselves.

The MD wasn’t much help – something is sprained – rest it.  Diagnosis and cure in under five seconds.  The chiropractor has been a little more interesting and helpful.  He has pinpointed the source to a spot on the side of my neck where a muscle is torn, and that’s what’s causing all the rest of the discomfort.  Because pain likes to radiate.  Stupid little bugger.  It took only two little clicks to re-align things and a few test movements to determine that it wasn’t rotator cuff related, whatever that means.   One visit he did one of those mega vibrating massage things all over my back and up into the right shoulder until I saw stars.  I was wondering if one of those things could cause a retinal detachment when he finally stopped and I slowly regained the use of my optic nerves.  The last visit he used what sounded suspiciously like a staple gun, clicking away on various spots until he finally found the most painful one possible.  Then he stopped, because why push your luck.  I think he’s running out of things to do to charge me for, because for the last fifteen minutes of that visit we had a long detailed conversation about support pillows and how they’re a load of crap.  He said to roll up a towel and use that as neck support.  Perhaps his towels are softer than mine, because I tried it and it felt much like what I assume a rock would feel like if you tried to go to sleep with one of those between your neck and shoulder.

I know this story is much too long, but I don’t care.  My neck hurts and I NEED TO TALK ABOUT IT, GODAMMIT!  I purchased a piece of foam and rolled that up and secured it with rubber bands and that seems to be working a bit better.  I can sleep for several hours at a stretch now before I have to get up and grope around in the dark for the Advil 400’s.  Now there’s a pill that actually works.  Believe me when I say I have tried others that did not.  I am trying to do as much as I can with my left hand and rest my right, but there are some things, like blow drying one’s hair that just don’t come out the same.  I’m trying to remember to keep my thumb up when I raise my arm above my head.  Have you ever tried that?  Do you know how few things you can accomplish well with your right thumb up in the air??  Try putting away plates or optical trays and see how awkward it is.  I like my thumb DOWN, but that way hurts.

Okay, I’ve had my rant, and it IS getting better, so I guess that’s entirely enough on this fascinating subject for now.  I’ve had to give up Angry Birds for the time being, because that forward head posture and the tension in my right bird tossing arm turned out to be one of the many things I was doing to keep the pain and inflammation fresh and vibrant.  Thankfully typing and using a mouse haven’t shown any harmful side effects, except for that morning when I dropped the mouse into my coffee, but that’s a whole other story.  And they don’t seem to have any pills for that.

A Difficult Decision

Yesterday I talked to a man who had only one leg. He came rolling into the Vision Centre in his wheel chair with a beaming broad smile on his face. It was a smile so fiercely beautiful I had to smile back. I don’t know how anyone who looked at him could hope to do otherwise.

While his glasses were being adjusted, cleaned and repaired, (all the helpful mundane things we do all day), we had one of those little chats that strangers are prone to having. Is it getting any warmer out there as the day goes on? Do you ever remember a spring so late? He told me it was snowing again and he said it with such delight. You should come out to the parking lot and see it! All those gigantic flakes just floating down. You can catch them on your glove – they’re like tiny bits of lace. Fragile, but captivating and wonderful to look at. So perfect it’s amazing!

But in my head I could see our driveway, and the snow shovel, and the banks and the horrible roads. So I gave my head a shake to get rid of those pictures in it. I said we don’t think to look at the fascinating side of things often enough, do we? It’s so easy to focus on the negative instead. But you’re right, this kind of gentle snowfall has a certain charm if only we choose to see it.

I didn’t look at the place where his left leg should have been, although my eyes wanted to. I didn’t let them. I didn’t ask him how long he’d been without it, or how hard it might be to get himself dressed in the morning and in and out of a vehicle and across a snowy rutted parking lot. And what do you do with all those left boots and shoes and pant legs? How horrible has your life been and how hard was this to accept?

I said none of those things that were in my head, because we were just two ordinary people having an ordinary conversation, being pleasant and accepting of each other the way we happen to be at this moment, no deep introspections required. He got his glasses back and he was on his way.

All afternoon I kept thinking good thoughts about snowflakes. I thought about those airy little bits of lace, there for a moment on the back of his glove, and how they made his face so blissful. His mood was so intoxicating, I wanted to give him a hug and thank him for that.

But I didn’t. I wish I had.

Powered by Plinky