A Fool’s Game

Today I learned (TIL for all the modern, acronym-dependent, Internet citizens), that when it comes to personal injury, I am no smarter than a toddler playing peek-a-boo.

Almost a week ago, I had some shoulder pain, like a knot in my back shoulder.  It’s not really uncommon, since I am either sitting at a desk or driving in my car 90% of my waking day.  The last time I had this specific kind of knot, it lasted for days and days and kept me pretty miserable, so I wasn’t thrilled to have it return.

So Friday night, I broke out my Shiatsu chair massager and beat the hell out of my back and shoulders.  It was like twanging guitar strings.  Just to be on the safe side, I took a pill from my emergency stash (now 5 years old) and went off to bed.

I woke up the next morning in pain.  Great pain.  I made it through the day with ice, heat, and Advil.  At the end of the day, I figured I was past my problems, but just in case, I took another emergency pill and went to sleep.

Sunday morning was no better.  Worse, in fact.  Probably because I had spent some time Saturday doing yard work since I wasn’t feeling any great pain (Thank you, Advil).  Now, I can’t turn my head or look down.  I self-diagnose myself with a pinched nerve and I can still feel the knot in my shoulder blade.  So I call up a local massage place and get a walk-in appointment.  They say, “We only have a male masseuse available, is that ok?”  Geez, whatever.  Even if I wasn’t in excruciating pain, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal.

So I get the crap wrenched out of me on the table.  He probably spent too much time on my neck and not enough on the trouble spot, but everything was messed up, so whatever.  As the night comes on, I’m sinking back into pain.  Advil wearing off again.  Then I get to thinking, maybe it isn’t a knot or a pinched nerve.  Maybe it’s actually an injury, like a pulled muscle or a torn tendon.  After all, I am currently on an antibiotic whose primary side effect is causing brittle tendons.

So, to recap:  I have a knot in my shoulder.  I pull or tear my lat muscles with a shiatsu massager.  I go to a massage and have them ripped up even more.  All the while, I’m peaking and crashing on Advil thinking, “I’m better!” or ”I’m in hell!”

It doesn’t end there.  Sunday evening, post-massage, my shoulder back doesn’t have a knot anymore.  Now it’s just one big swollen mass.  Sleep that night was in 20-30 minute intervals, followed with a painful repositioning.  At one critical point, I was on my chest and turned my head to stretch my neck and I heard and felt something in my neck squirt.  As scream-inducing as that was, it actually was kind of a turning point and I slept better afterward.

Monday, I had to leave work after less than a hour because the pain was making me dizzy.  Tuesday, I felt pretty good during the day, so I thought I was on the mend.  Then the Advil wore off.  Silly, me.  I took more Advil and felt better.  Better enough to do yardwork when I got home.  Silly, me.  Today, I’m paying for my transgressions again.

So yeah, I’m just playing peek-a-boo with my injury.  As long as I don’t feel the pain, it doesn’t exist and I’ll just go and injure it more.  It’s definitely not the first time I’ve done something like that.  This is just the first time I’ve noticed my behavior.

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