Okay, my postings have been a little spotty lately. I admit this. Three posts in three weeks — not good for someone who said he was going to try to write something every day.
But for the last week, at least, I’ve had something that, in bad light, would vaguely resemble a decent excuse. And I even have the prescription painkillers and muscle relaxants to prove it!
It started the weekend before last when I felt a twinge in my left ankle. Well, “twinge” might be a little mild — it felt like someone had stuck a razor blade under the ankle bone on the inside. But I pretty much ignored it as best I could; I’ve had serious foot problems since I was born, so I’ve stopped worrying when I get a pain there. As long as I can still walk, I’ll keep walking. (I swear, my life is proof that one can get used to darn near anything.)
But on Monday I started feeling the same sort of pain in my left shoulder and collarbone — not a traditional problem area. And the left side of my lower back began aching, right above the pelvic bone. And I was getting headaches, centered on the back of my skull on (guess … yep) the left side. By Tuesday my shoulder had become excruciatingly painful, I was walking with a pronounced limp and the headaches had relocated to behind my eyes, leading to a semi-permanent scowl. Trim my beard to stubble and take off eighty pounds, and I would’ve looked just like Dr. Gregory House. And don’t even ask about getting a good night’s sleep — impossible.
I knew that, despite my general antipathy toward doctors, I needed to get some professional medical care for whatever the heck was going on.
The problem was, when?
See, my day is pretty full with people who can’t get by without me. My son Sean, of course, needs semi-constant care as he recovers (we hope and pray) from his Leigh’s disease. My daughter Charlotte and my wife both need rides to and from school, since neither of them can drive (Nina because she has CMT, Charlotte because she’s nine years old). Plus, since I’m the one at home and Nina’s out bringing home the proverbial bacon, I handle the majority of the cooking and cleaning. I am simply not in a position to take a weekday off and sit in a waiting room or exam room.
(The flip side, of course, is that if I didn’t do anything about what was happening to me, I was going to be physically unable to take care of Sean, drive a car or cook meals. By and large, I already was …)
So Wednesday afternoon, I got Nina and Charlotte home, asked Nina where the nearest walk-in clinic was, and went there. Three hours, one examination, two sets of X-rays and two prescriptions (Naproxen for the pain, Flexeril for the muscles) later, I was home. And over the next few days, I took it very easy, let Nina handle dinner for herself and Charlybucket, allowed Sean a bit more TV than I probably should, took my pills and generally healed up.
And — mirabile visu — it worked. By yesterday, the only remaining pain was in my shoulder and even that was greatly reduced. I was walking normally and had regained full range of motion in my arm. I think Sean got a shock when I ran him through his full morning exercise regimen on Sunday — he was probably hoping to kick back for a few days more. No dice, Bruiser — vacation’s over!
I still have a follow-up appointment in a week, but I expect that it will go smoothly, since the symptoms are either gone or fading fast. A friend of mine said it sounded like I’d pinched a couple of nerves, and she’s probably right. They seem to be largely better now.
In the process of all this, I think I picked up a few lessons (although only time will tell if I’ve actually learned them):
* When you really need something to continue functioning, but your responsibilities to others are in the way … go get what you need first. There is such a thing as being TOO responsible. And besides, how are they going to learn self-reliance if I’m in the way?
* Stress has strange effects sometimes. Given the amount of stress I’ve been under the last year and a half, the surprise wasn’t that this happened, it’s that it took so long to happen. Hopefully things will ease up for a while so that it doesn’t happen again. Or maybe it’s me that needs to ease up. Or both …
* Only a minority of doctors are overeducated idiots. Most are actually nice people who are good at their jobs. I have to not let the few who aren’t competent block out the many who are.
* Naproxen tastes like butt. (Okay, I don’t really know what butt tastes like; let’s just say that Naproxen tastes like how I imagine butt would taste. That work?) Worse yet, it (like Vicodin) doesn’t have much effect on me. I ended up just switching to aspirin.
* Praying to God for healing is always a good idea. The worst that can happen is that He says no — and if He does, He’s got a good reason for it. You know, something like “you still have to pick up a few lessons from this …”
* Finally … boy, is it nice to be able to use both hands to type again! Thank you, Father!