First, things are a bit better. That’s stuff for another post, but I’m encouraged. Now, on to the main subject.
Since I messed up my shoulder in May, I’ve been in mostly constant pain. To be honest, I’ve had some form of discomfort in various part of my body for years. I can’t remember when my neck/shoulder didn’t hurt in that sort of hunched over, too much time at the computer sort of way. I have a knot in my right shoulder that’s been there since college–maybe even earlier. Partly from being right-handed, I’m sure, and partly from the usual stress/tension of life. Until whatever it was I did at the hot springs, I sort of just ignored it and plowed on. The last few months, however, have kind of pulled me up short. Here’s what happened:
We were at the Idaho Hot Springs just west of Denver. The public pool part of the springs was closed for maintenance for the time we were there, so they gave us passes to the hot springs caves instead. These are segregated into male/female and are clothing optional. We got to our room and headed over. It’s kind of spooky, going through tunnel-like passageways, and into the pool area. It’s REALLY hot and humid, more like a steam room, since it’s inside. The actual room with the pools is a cave, and the pools are cut out of the natural rock. They’re a little deeper than waist high and have stone steps and rails. The coolest one already had people in it. I love hot springs, but can’t take water that’s TOO hot; 104 degrees is about my limit. The next pool was maybe a bit warmer than that, but definitely cooler than the one at the deepest end of the cave, and it was empty, so we chose that one. G and her sister were already in. I left my glasses outside, so I was sort of creeping along. I had my right hand on a rail (first mistake–there was a closer rail on my left, but I used the old dominat arm), and my arm was extended out (second mistake–if you’re nursing a shoulder, keep your arm CLOSE to your body). I stepped down, and the step was about half again as deep as a regular step. I didn’t stumble or fall, but a thought I was going to, and so I really grabbed onto that railing with my right arm and before my foot hit the step, I felt and heard something in my arm/shoulder go “crr–eeea–kkk, gr–itt–chhhh”. I mean, really, I HEARD it. I had immediate hot, sharp pain in my shoulder, where I’ve been nursing it for the past few years (remember my pre-swim anxiety about it?). I was PISSED. First, here I was at a hot springs of all places, and I hurt myself! It’s supposed to be a place of relaxation, not pain. Plus, I was just getting back to feeling good at the gym, sparring with my trainer, and swimming again. I had gone a mile in the pool not the week before and felt great. Now, I couldn’t even lift my arm in front of me without bringing tears to my eyes. It hurt that bad.
So, I muddled through the week of the visit. Luckily, we all had massages the next day, and that helped a lot. I called my chiropractor’s office from there and made an appt for the day we got back and just prayed. I had to adjust. Reaching for a glass or the toothbrush was agony. Getting dressed was horrible. And pulling the covers over me with my right arm? Enough to drive sleep away for a while. Driving wasn’t too fun, either, but I managed. At least I could rest my arm on the steering wheel.
Since then, there has been some improvement, but there’s always a lingering, nagging pain. The chiro gave me some exercises to do, and they help, but I’ve only been back to the gym once and that was on the elliptical, which was all right as it has those arm handle things that I can hold on to. Passive movement, i.e., taking my other arm, and moving the sore one, doesn’t really hurt, but when I try to do the same motion actively–OUCH. Over the past few weeks, the pain has sort of moved up my neck and into my ear area–not so much pain there, but a kind of fullness. It’s like all the muscles from my skull down have clamped up and are really letting me know where they are. It doesn’t make for real incentive to get up/out and do anything. It pissed me off and I think maybe that’s some of my frustration with everything else.
I know I could go to the health department and get an MRI or whatever, but here’s the bottom line–even if everything is covered, if I have to have some kind of operation and I’m out of work, I don’t have anything to fall back on. No, folks, I don’t have short or long term disability, nothing. Right now, sitting and typing doesn’t hurt, so I keep working. I am better than I was, but anyone who’s sustained a soft-tissue injury, which is what I think this was, knows that they take forever to heal and REST is the best thing to do for it, and well, despite my post about using my non-dominant hand, I’m not that good with my left hand to do a lot of things and not take all day. So, I use the sore arm.
Still, I haven’t been all that active and honestly, you hurt MORE when you don’t move, but getting over that first hump of pain every time is a bitch. And it’s HOT. And recently, it’s been more humid than usual, which surprises me, since we haven’t really got rain, but there’s moisture in the air from somewhere, and that pisses me right off. At the moment, it’s 82 degrees and 38% humidity at 9:30 p.m., which a lot of you would find laughable, but when you’re used to humidity in nearly the single digits, it’s like a wet, cloying rag. All I want to do is sit in front of a fan and drink iced tea.
It just feels like I’m in the mood to complain tonight, and I know that doesn’t help, but honestly, when I think about trying to mouth positive platitudes, I just want to reach out and bitch slap somebody, and I don’t care how much it would hurt. I am counting down the days until fall. I am going to force myself to go to the pool next week, just to see how much swimming will hurt, and if I can propel myself through the water at all. If I can, maybe I can at least immerse myself in water a couple days a week and in so doing, become more bearable to everyone.
Wish me luck.