Massages can be bad for you

Yeah, I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but I honestly think that’s part of the reason why I haven’t written anything in the last week or so.

My right shoulder hasn’t completely recovered from when I rolled the Explorer down the embankment, so I’ve been getting massages to try to loosen up the muscles in that area. Thankfully, it’s making progress, but the masseuse usually works on some other areas during each session, too. I don’t know how it happens, but muscle tightness migrates on my body. “If you think your shoulder hurts now, just imagine how your lower back will feel by this weekend!”

Unfortunately, sometimes it hurts while she’s working. If any of you have ever had a deep-tissue massage, it basically involves finding tight lumps in your muscles, then pushing down on it reeeeeally hard to get that spot to relax. (I don’t think she’s ever used a steak tenderizer on my back, but I’m not always sure I’d notice.)

“Can you feel this?”
“A little, yeah.”
“I’m putting a lot of pressure on it.”
“… Oh.”

She told me that if there’s a spot that starts to hurt, breathe deeply. This last time, she finished on my shoulder, started working on my neck and that’s what I was doing. In retrospect, I think part of the reason I didn’t tell her to ease off was because I was exhausted and half-asleep—she thought I was asleep—but the jolts in my neck kept me from drifting off completely.

I got through the rest of the evening, went to class for a couple hours (and stayed awake, no less) and everything seemed fine. Everything was not fine when I woke up the next morning.

Nope, when I woke up, I could barely turn my head in either direction. Incidentally, for those of you who have never tried it before, it makes driving way more interesting. Same thing the next couple mornings. It’s getting better, but one problem with having a really sore neck is that there’s not much motivation to lift my head off the pillow (using my neck muscles or pulling it up with my hands) when it’s a lot more comfortable not moving.

Now I’m up and about and feeling much more mobile, but I’ve learned my lesson: no more deep tissue massages for my neck. And along those lines, I should probably watch out for the steak tenderizer, too.

At that price, I’ll walk next time

I just got a bill in the mail from Burnsville EMS (the ambulance service that picked me up after I rolled the Explorer). They couldn’t find my no-fault auto insurance information, so I can either send that or cough up the dough. It would be a big cough.

The ambulance showed up with its lights flashing. I climbed into the back on my own, they put on a foam neck brace and strapped me down to a gurney for the ride, then drove about a mile to get to the hospital. Grand total? $1083.50

And you wonder why people bitch about the cost of health care in this country…

I may have an “I told you so” coming in my near future

The doctor in the emergency room was right: the muscles in my neck and shoulder got a lot tighter and more painful within the next two days. Maybe I shouldn’t have met with some friends to celebrate Pi Day (3/14) the Monday after my rollover, but dammit, I was hungry for pie! And I was starting to feel better, too. The doc had said I’d probably sprained the muscles that hurt, but they were getting better, the key term being “were”.

On Friday night, a week after the accident, I was sitting with my legs stretched out on my bed and leaned forward, intent on grabbing my feet so I could stretch my hamstrings. I got about halfway there when something went *pop* in the middle of my left collarbone. It was like cracking a knuckle or popping a single bubble on bubble wrap, but it hurt.

Because of where I was on the bed, falling backwards would have dumped me on the floor and tipping over sideways would land on my once-again severely painful shoulder, so I sort of tipped and twisted around to land on my back and laid there in agony for a couple minutes. (Seriously, on a pain scale from 1-10, I thought this was around a 6.)

After it calmed down, I went to the freezer and got some ice to put on my shoulder. Twenty minutes of that plus moving my pillows around so I wouldn’t move my shoulders and I was ready to go to sleep. I didn’t sleep well, but I slept some.

Then it was Saturday morning and I was back to “Lifting my arm up and carrying things with this arm really hurts.” That night, I was talking to a friend on the phone and got a stern reprimand for not talking to the doctor about my shoulder. It didn’t matter that I was feeling better. “Feeling better” doesn’t necessarily mean “healthy.” So she ordered me to make an appointment to see the doctor on Monday. “Yes, mom…”

I felt better on Sunday—that whole area had been reduced to a dull ache—but it wasn’t great. (Earlier on Friday, I thought maybe I’d try playing soccer… yeah, didn’t happen.) That settled it. I was going to follow orders and go to see the doctor first thing Monday morning.

Normally, I have a poor sleep schedule. I’ll stay up into the wee hours of the morning, then sleep late. I didn’t have anything to do on Sunday night and wanted it to be Monday morning soon, so I went to bed before midnight and consequently woke up around 4:30am. Better than staying up that late, I suppose…

After half an hour, I decided to call the clinic and find out what time the reception desk opened so I could make an appointment. As it turns out, you can call there at 5:00 in the morning and schedule to see the doctor at 8:30. Sweet.

I went to my appointment and as soon as the doctor sat down, she smiled and asked what I did playing sports this time. The last couple times I’ve been in there… it’s been a while since it wasn’t because of my knee. But nope, it was from driving this time. I told her about the accident and how my shoulder was feeling.

She had me sit down on the table, lift my arm, rotate them both together in big circles, then determined that it was something to do with the rotator cuff. I had some x-rays taken: nothing is broken and the shoulder hasn’t pulled out of the socket, so (thankfully) it’s just a rotator cuff strain along with sprained muscles from the bouncing around I did while the Explorer was rolling. Hey, when your body tenses up and then gets pulled in various directions, the muscles take offense.

So I called the physical therapist’s office and scheduled an appointment for 2:00 this afternoon. I was supposed to help pack stuff into a moving van today, but given that I wanted to see the doc right away and 2:00 was the only available slot for PT… no packing for me.

In some sense, I feel like Wolverine. (I like having claws and gutting bad guys… no, that’s not right…) I’ve been kicked in the legs, skidded on the turf, picked up bumps and bruises and all sorts of little injuries with no problem. Get back in the game, play next week, no big deal. Maybe that’s not because I have metal-laced bones, but the problem isn’t the bones: it’s the joints. Wolverine doesn’t have adamantium ligaments; obviously, neither do I.

How long will it take to get fixed up? Dunno. I got some new pills to take today, but they’re just muscle relaxants, so don’t get your hopes up about me selling them to you. The healing process may take a shorter period of time because my friend ordered me to go to the doc and there’s at least a slight possibility that I would have waited longer for the sake of packing today.

As it is, finding out there’s a problem after waiting for a week and a half post-accident probably earned me an “I told you so.” My friend might be nice enough to let it slide, but if she gives me heat about it, I told you so.

There must be a reason

It’s been a week since my rollover and I’m getting better. The worst part is the muscle going from my neck to my shoulder still hurts if I keep my arms raised up for too long (I should probably wait to clean cobwebs off the ceiling for another few days).

But some people have suggested that there must be a reason why I’m here. I’m not done yet, there’s still something for me to do.

The truth is that a lot of people have been reading the blog entries related to the accident. Maybe they like the story; maybe they use it as an example of how seatbelts can save lives. If that’s the reason—if I didn’t get smooshed inside the Explorer just so I could write about what happened and post some pictures—I’m okay with that.

That’s not to say it’s time for me to drive a car directly into a tree at 60mph without wearing a seatbelt to prove my point. There might be another reason, there might be more that I’m still here to do. (There’s a possibility that my survival was arbitrary and there’s no such thing as fate, a higher power, etc., but if that’s your belief system, you probably stopped reading this after the second paragraph anyway.)

But I am willing to say that if I’ve made a difference, if writing all of this has had a positive impact in at least one other person’s life, I’ll consider that a victory. (In my mind, it’s a much better victory than showing people the importance of staying hydrated while hiking in the mountains by vomiting on national television.)

My reign of destruction continues!

Today’s victim was sitting in the family room, completely unaware of the damage that was about to ensue. I’m talking about… the family recliner!

I have work I still need to do for class tomorrow evening; since I was upstairs with my laptop, I figured I’d sit down and look through some PowerPoint slides there. I lowered myself onto the recliner, hit the seat and TWANG! The left side of my butt was hanging lower than usual.

After pulling myself up and moving everything away from the crime scene, I lowered the recliner onto its side, looked underneath and saw that one of the springs that stretches under the seat cushion had busted. Yes, it happened when I sat down, but I’d like to think that other people helped its slow but inevitable deterioration. I simply provided the butt that broke the camel’s back.