Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"I Guess I'll Make Time for the Pain" Was the Original Song Title

I threw my back out while lying in bed the other morning. That's not even the worst part. What's worse is that it's not the first time this has happened.

"No no no no no no no," I said, plus about a hundred more "no"s when I felt the pop in my left shoulder blade early on Monday morning, before the sun had come up. I wasn't even awake yet; I had simply stirred from my slumber in order to yawn and stretch my arms when the pop came and the entire left side of my back flooded with pain.

I can only think of three worse things to wake up to on a Monday morning (death of a loved one doesn't count because this is a Fun Blog!):

1) A whiskey hangover
2) A dog taking a crap on your bed
3) Finding yourself engulfed in flames.

That's it, just those three things are worse than starting your Monday off with a big ol' steaming cup of back injury. Trust me; I saw it on the Science Channel.

At first, I wasn't sure what to do. Michael was lying next to me and I considered telling him right away, but he had his own problems. Specifically, a back injury that he got over the weekend. Unlike me, he had no clue how his happened, but the pinched nerve kept him couch-bound all day on Saturday until he had to rally himself to play drums for a show on Saturday night. Sleep was elusive for him afterward, and Sunday night, and after the initial agony of my own back injury subsided into a steady icy grip, I felt guilty for injuring myself. Because it's a well-known fact that when the able-bodied children in a house outnumbers the amount of injured or sick adults, Armageddon ensues, complete with pestilence, locusts and horsemen.

Eventually, though, I had to tell him, because I think the fact that I rolled up on my coffee Quasi Modo style might have given me away. And, of course, I had to apologize. What kind of jerk-faced jerk head gets a back injury before their significant other recovers from their own back injury? A big, fat jerk-faced jerk head, that's who.

It's amazing how quickly a normal looking, mild-mannered desk chair can turn into a torture device that would make the 14th century Catholic church squee like little school girls. Even with the heating pad firmly attached to my back, I was in excruciating pain, sitting in that stupid death chair all day. Usually in situation like this, I call my chiropractor, but I've discovered over the past couple of years that chiropractic adjustments don't really work for me anymore. I end up feeling better in a about 3-5 days whether I get one or not, so what's the point? So for this injury, I decided to try something new for me: Deep tissue massage.

Massage has been strictly recreational for me up until this point. I can count the number I've had on one hand, and at least two of them were gifts. Not that I have a problem with massage. I think they're neat. I just haven't really been in a financial position to get massages with the frequency that very bored, very rich and very relaxed people seem to. So approaching it from a place of urgency seemed weird to me, and it was hard for me to get past the idea that I'm spending a lot of money on something so frivolous. But the pain eventually won out, and after calling half a dozen places in the area, I finally found someone to take me last minute.

Karen, my massage therapist, couldn't have weighed more than 100 pounds, and I feel like that might even be a stretch. I'm pretty sure my left leg weighs more than Karen the massage therapist. But what she lacked in bulk she more than made up for in some sort of anger issue that resulted in her not exactly massage me, but somehow managing to beat me internally with just her tiny hands and arms.

I am loathe to say it was the most painful experience I've ever had, because I do have a child, but I'd say it ranks right up there with breaking a finger. An index finger, even. Except much, much, MUCH slower.

So is it safe to say that it was one of the most painful prolonged experiences I've ever had? Does that still smack of hyperbole? Whatever. It is. Feel free to start a blog and write about how wrong I am.

"Do you ever have a chance to stretch," Karen asked while she dug her wee meat hooks into my pectoral muscles. I couldn't answer at first, as I was too busy sweating profusely and grinding my teeth down to nubs.

"Yes," I finally managed. "I do yoga about six times a week."
"Oh, that's so great! You should be pretty limber then."
At least, that's what I think she said. It was hard to hear her over my silent screams.

She asked me a lot of things, like what I do for work, how often I'm able to exercise, whether there's a lot of stress in my life. One thing that seemed glaringly absent from her line of questioning, however, was, "Does that hurt?" And my answer would have been, "YES!!!! OH FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY PLEASE STOP TOUCHING ME IMMEDIATELY!!!"

I don't know from deep tissue. Maybe that's how it's supposed to be. Maybe you're supposed to suck it up and take the pain because you'll feel better once you get through it. And honestly, my back did feel better when she was finished, but at that point, I couldn't tell if it felt better because it was better or if it felt better because I had so much adrenaline coursing through my veins that I could have taken a bullet in the kneecap without so much as a yelp. Either way, I managed to hobble myself home and settle into the couch in order to let the magical healing begin.

At around 5am this morning, I woke up suddenly. I tried to sit up, but every part of my body felt like it had been beaten with a stick, so I sort of rolled/crawled/fell out of bed. I limped to the bathroom and grabbed my handheld mirror and looked at my back. It was covered in bruises. Little, tiny, pointy finger tip-sized bruises, especially down around my lower back. Again, I don't know from deep tissue, but bruising after the fact seems a bit excessive. My back seemed better, or possibly much worse, but it was hard to distinguish the new pain from the old pain. So I packed up my heating pad and headed to work, where my death chair awaited me.

Only time will tell if the deep tissue massage was a good idea. Perhaps I'll wake up tomorrow and feel like a new woman, one free of aches and pains and bruises inflicted by petite massage therapists trained in grappling by the Israeli army. Or maybe I'll break my hip in the shower and sprain my ankle while peeing and check myself into a nursing home and be done with it. It really could go any direction at this point.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I hope you've learned your lesson about yawning.

    I think the benefits of deep tissue massage are supposed to take a couple of days to really settle in. However, I'm pretty sure they're not supposed to leave you looking like you got tattooed with leopard spots, either.

    On the upside, a hefty malpractice payoff would totally make my back feel better.