Well, I tell ya, I’ve fought tougher men, but I really can’t remember when

Physical therapy continues.  It would appear that the heart of the problem is my left shoulder, which got messed up in a car accident back in the day, when a guy in a hurry to get to a party ran a red light, broadsided my little green Maverick, and I shot cross-car, striking my head on the windshield on the passenger’s side, shattering the safety glass (insert hard-headed woman joke here), and lost consciousness.

It’s been quite the epic, this shoulder.  At first, I was told that I would never use my arm again.  That was a non-starter, given that I typed for a living.  So the doctor and I went ’round a couple times and he finally buckled and gave me a reference to Kernan Hospital’s Sports Medicine Unit, which at that time did all the therapy for injured Colts and Orioles and other Baltimore-area wildlife, with the dire prediction that therapy was going to hurt.

Which, to be fair, it did.  The guy who was my therapist did brutal things to me, including hanging me by my neck to stretch the locked muscles.  “I will hurt you and you will hate me,” he told me during our first meeting.  “But then I’ll give you heat, and we’ll be friends again.”

And that’s pretty much how it went.  I got the use of my arm back, the shoulder never really stopped hurting, but I’d been primed to expect that outcome, and with familiarity, I was able to largely ignore it and get on with things that mattered.

Except that, like many folks I’ve talked to, all my stress from those days to this goes to live in the most vulnerable place — the shoulder that never really healed.

Thirty-four years of compensating takes its toll on the whole body — that old ankle bone connected to the leg bone thing — and this is what I’ve brought to the physical therapy table.

The presenting problem — the hip pain — has been addressed, but my body’s out of true, and it feels like my left shoulder (by which I, neither a doctor or a scientist, mean the area bounded by the occipital bone and the trapezius and down to places I don’t know the names of) is made of cement.  It really seems as if getting in a street drill would be a good thing, here.  Failing that, it looks like lots of work ahead to get things properly aligned, and hopefully to prevent any more new problems caused by this old problem.

So, what I’m saying here, long-windedly, and not very elegantly is — if you have a health issue that you’ve been…oh, just putting up with, say, either because it’s been with you so long it’s familiar, or because you don’t think you can afford to get it fixed — and believe me, I know all about not being to afford to get something fixed, but?

That’s one of those false economies.  Because whatever isn’t right isn’t only going to continue in its not-rightness, it’s going to take other, perfectly healthy, bits with it into not-rightness.  And eventually, it will all have to be looked at, anyway, when it’s become a large, entangled problem.

So, take care of yourselves, right?  You really are worth it.

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“It’s a strong curse, Kate; it will not fail.”

 

5 thoughts on “Well, I tell ya, I’ve fought tougher men, but I really can’t remember when”

  1. This is true, true, true. It’s like the old Fram filters ads: “Pay me now or pay me later,” and the cost later is much higher.
    I, too, suffer from the famous locked shoulder/neck. It’s been improving with massage but it has taken a long time.

  2. The other thing I recently learned . . . If you have an old injury that was treated to the best of medical knowledge a couple decades ago, and you’ve been working around it since then, get assessed again. Medical science and rehab techniques have improved since back in the day, and it’s possible that the “best we can do” is actually better now than it was then. Nothing like hearing, “oh yeh, back when you got injured, that was the best we could do, but about 15 years ago, we came up with this new therapy, so now we can finish curing it.” That’s like the good news is we can fix it but the bad news is I’ve spent 15 years having pain and mobility limits that were not necessary. *sigh*

  3. Very true! And worth remembering on my part for my neck & shoulder injured in a fall 18 months ago. Over 4 months of therapy put me right–but I have to watch it, and exercise/strengthen it and not ignore little twinges because “oh, that will go away”. I got an unhealthy attitude towards doctors from my mother (wait, and if you get better then don’t go) which has resulted in waiting TOO LONG! May it get better without too much hissing at the therapist!

  4. If there’s anyone over that way doing “Myo-Fascial Release” I strongly recommend it. It fixed my sacral injury. By which I mean, it sometimes still hurts a bit here and there, but never lays me out flat on the floor for a month anymore.

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