Sunday, March 27, 2011
And It Really Hurts
Last year, if you remember, I injured my right shoulder. My doctor did x-rays even though he knew they wouldn't show anything, but insurance companies won't approve the MRI that will show something without the x-ray that won't. He gave me a muscle relaxant and said, if the pills didn't make the pain go away, I should come back.
Well, the pills were wonderful. I have been pretty much pain free since June of last year. But, for the last 2 weeks, the pain has crept back. Thursday, I could barely move the arm upon waking without excruciating pain. As I got going, however, a hot shower, aspirin and Ben-Gay made it tolerable and it even disappeared about noon. It came roaring back at 2:00 Friday morning.
I could not get comfortable to sleep. I tried everything. I had taken aspirin when I went to bed at 11:30 so taking more was out of the question. I tried Ben-Gay. I tried the aspirin cream I have. I nuked this wrap I have which is filled with lavender and put it over the shoulder. Nothing worked. I don't know if I just got so exhausted I would have slept anyway, but I finally fell asleep at 3:45 a.m. That lasted until 5:50. I knew there was no way I could go to work when I couldn't raise my arm. The clinic opened at 8 a.m. but I did seriously think of ER. One of the angels on my shoulder whispered, "They are there to help you." The hot shower I took at 7, took away the pain for all of 5 minutes. I got an appointment with my doctor's wife, who is also a doctor, for 11 a.m. and tried to rest. My nap was 90 minutes long, although somewhat fretful.
Her diagnosis is that whatever I did, probably years ago, had never completely healed. Shoveling the snow from the blizzard aggravated the problem. Although I took great pains not to tire myself out and to shovel "correctly", the sheer amount of snow was just not good. It's taken awhile for the problem to resurface. She referred me to an orthopedic doctor. I can't get in until April 6th but I do know right where this doctor is located. In the meantime, I have those lovely ivory-colored pills you see above. I take one a day and they do take away the pain.
I slept soundly last night for the first time all week. The shoulder has been bothering me since last weekend, but I was able to sleep for at least 4-5 hours at a time. Last night's sleep was almost 10 hours and was filled with some rather interesting dreams.
Last year, Dr. Burandt suggested it was a deep muscle tear. That is still a possibility. It is also possible it's the rotator cuff. My dad had the "Tommy John" surgery when I was in college after he tore one. It doesn't seem to be "frozen", meaning I can't lift it, because I could do much more today.
This happened to me back in August of 2006. I remember because Carole was home and I did go to ER that time and told her I could drive myself at 3:30 in the morning. The ER doctor felt I had accidentally overextended the arm, gave me a shot and sent me home. I had some physical therapy to build up the muscles and I seemed to be all better. It is kind of discouraging to have this flare up again. I'm hoping whatever is wrong is fixable and not the onset of arthritis or something chronic that is merely managed. If it is something that is simply managed, I will figure out how to manage it and go on.
It is times like this that I loathe being single. Having someone in the house with me in the wee hours of Friday to voice my fears to and wrestle with the "should I or shouldn't I go to ER" would have made things not feel so overwhelming. Plus, driving was an adventure when I have a stick shift vehicle. I just gritted my teeth and did it.
Now I wait. The 10 days between now and the orthopedic appointment will disappear. I'm good right now and I hope to be better. I have a lot of work upcoming so having to be out because of a shoulder injury is not good. Then again, is there ever a time when an illness or injury is convenient?
Beverage: Hot Cocoa