Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Pain in the Neck

In April I finally got a new doctor because I had a pain in my neck and shoulders so severe I literally could not move. I was working and it was almost time to leave so I took a bathroom break and while I was walking back to my cubicle I felt shooting pains down the middle of my back. I drove home cautiously (for a change) because I couldn't really turn my head to check the blind spot. I took some motrin, prayed and went to bed hoping for the best.

Sleeping was tough, and when I woke up the next morning I decided to see a doctor. The problem was, mine is dead. The wonderful man who had been Dan's doctor basically his whole life and mine since we moved to Elk Grove, passed away suddenly almost three years ago. I apparently have been pretty healthy during those three years, because besides one trip to the clinic for strep, I had no need to see a doctor.

So I decided to see his replacement....until I found out he isn't in on Thursdays.

So back to the clinic, where the very gracious NP told me I was not within her realm of expertise and referred me to the new guy. The new guy looked me up and down and asked "How'd you get injured?" I replied "Um, it's not really an injury." Him: "You weren't playing a sport?" Me: "Not so much." Him: "Did you suddenly move or turn funny?" Me: "Um...nope." Him: "It just appeared all of a sudden?" Me: "Yeah." He put me on a steriod, prescribed some vicadin for the pain and gave me a referral for a physical therapist.

The first thing the physical therapist had me do was bend my head every which way. Which went something along the lines of "Okay, now bend your head as far back as you can" and me going "I am bending it back as far as I can", which fetched the reply "Oh."

She said the knot and tension in my shoulder was not the result of one recent pinched nerve, but the accumulation of something more significant over many years, because it felt like a big, solid rock beneath my skin. I was oddly encouraged, because that was sort of validating.

Over the course of four weeks, I learned many new exercises, had 6 ultrasounds on my neck and shoulder and as many manual massages & heat treatments. The rock sunk deeper and the pain lessened and the mobility increased. I made significant progress. I continued to do the exercises at home. I was put on a lower dosage muscle relaxant and stopped taking the pain pills.

We decided we couldn't really justify further treatment to the insurance company and I went on my merry way.

Then it came back. The first time on the day of the twin's birthday party. I took Motrin. Then Tylenol. Then Aspirin. Then I waited a little while and had a couple of Margaritas. It finally felt a little better. The next day I was fine. A week later I had my follow up with the new doctor. He asked how I was doing and I said other than having gained 5 pounds since the original visit, I was good. Then I told him about the one day it came back. He raised his eyebrows about the Margaritas on top of six pills, but I assured him I spaced it out. Eventually we agreed the worst was behind me, I would keep doing my exercises and again, I was sent on my merry way.

The next day I woke up and could barely move. I attended a luncheon with a friend and smiled through gritted teeth. Later I went on a Double Date with Dan and some of our best friends. We had dinner and saw the Beatles Tribute 1964 at the Rosemont Theatre (which was pretty fantastic except I still couldn't move). I took Motrin and then Tylenol and then more Motrin and had a glass of red wine. It did not get better. The next day, I was marginally more functional. I took the vicadin and slept most of the day. I called the doctor in the morning. The doctor who saw me three days earlier and heard me say "I'm fine." He didn't really want to see me again. He said to finish the prescriptions and call if it got worse.

I was feeling pretty sorry for myself at work the following day, still really stiff and in pain. Over lunch I spent some time praying and read the church newsletter which had a prayer request from a family who has a disabled son who is almost 22 and cannot care for himself at all. They have to do everything for him physically, mentally and emotionally. They have another son who is autistic, but he's doing pretty well and they just really wanted some time once in awhile for a respite and more energy.

I left my pity party and went back to the prayer and over the counter meds routine and am feeling remarkably better so far.

I've been reading this book "The Gospel According to Job" which takes you through the whole book one or two verses at a time and gives some insight on the faith of the guy who suffered more than any other human being I'm aware of. It's very humbling when all I have is a pain in my neck.

1 comment:

Laura said...

Hey - go to a Chiropracter! I just started doing this and its fantastic. Seriously. Make an appointment ASAP.

Laura Krause