Thursday, February 12, 2015

Adventures of Super Knot, Volume 1

I'd like to introduce you to a new blog regular. It's name is Super Knot and it has lived between my right shoulder blade and spine for more than ten years. I think I was first introduced to Super Knot when I carried my dorm fridge up three flights of stairs by myself during move-in sophomore year.

Super Knot comes and goes--it's a major player in why pregnancy sucks so hard--but even on Super Knot-neutral days Ryan can find it and if he pushes just the right spot on my back with his thumb he knows I will melt into a puddle right there on the floor.

So. As I mentioned earlier this week, I did a little landscaping over the weekend. I thought I would be sore the next day, but I felt fine except for some soreness in my hands because I am a BOSS! I am in such good shape that even two hours of bermuda scalping doesn't bring me down.

Until Tuesday, when I felt a little twinge. Super Knot was awakening. A couple of times during my lab I leaned against the limestone pillar in the atrium where we were working and attempted to work it out myself. This looked like totally normal professor behavior, if you were curious.

Yesterday, it hurt a little more AND it woke me up several times in the night. Hrmm, this is new. So I busted out my trusty heating pad and started popping Advil like candy. I texted my friend C whose husband is a doctor and asked "How much Ibu can I take without actually killing myself?" I made sure to stay well within those limits and waited for the magic to happen.

Instead of magic I got another sleepless night and woke up unable to take a deep breath. As a special bonus, a cold front had come through and stirred up the cedar pollen meaning that I had to SNEEZE every two minutes all morning. Every sneeze brought with it a wave of pain through my shoulders and neck. I was not my most delightful mommy self during our morning routine.

After I dropped Mary and James off I realized I didn't have my backpack, so I returned home to get it, sneezing and wincing all the way. At home I swallowed another handful of advil, SLUNG MY BACKPACK OVER MY SHOULDER BECAUSE I AM STOOPID, then got in my car to drive to work. The moment I turned off my street I was in a massive traffic jam. As it turns out there were TWO WRECKS on the main road that takes me to the highway I need to go to school. I sneezed. I started crying. I nearly turned around and canceled my class right then and there, but I had promised to return exams and I kind of thought I was just being a big baby. So I texted Ryan. "I can't take a deep breath and it kills when I sneeze and I'm stuck in freaking traffic."

He responded "I am so sorry, would you like to have lunch together?" which was perfect.

I finished all my grading for my statics course before class and then realized five minutes before lecture that the lecture notes I thought I had prepared were merely figments of my imagination, since I had only read the chapter and not prepared a lesson. So, CRAP. I decided to make a long show out of going over exam solutions, then introduce the next chapter based on memory, then let them go early because DANG, I hurt.

In class I wasn't able to move my arm enough to reach the top of the board. Erasing was a whole body endeavor. And when I mishandled my textbook and reached abruptly to grab it I yelped "OUCH" so loudly that the student standing next to me looked VERY worried.

I gritted my teeth through a brief research meeting, cancelled tomorrow's class, then had lunch with Ryan and going home, where I arranged a bunch of pillows on the couch and promptly fell asleep. Twenty minutes later I awoke with SCREAMING PAIN in my shoulder. I used my good hand to push my head back to center then waited for the waves of pain to subside. They didn't, but I knew I had to get up and do something to help myself. When I tried to sit up it felt like someone was stabbing and twisting a knife into my back and while attempting to maneuver I dropped my phone on the floor next to the couch where it was painfully close yet impossible to get.

After some deliberation I counted to three, screamed the F word, and forced myself into a sitting position on the couch with my feet on the floor. Several minutes of involuntary loud crying later, I was able to stand up, make my way to the kitchen, find the Advil, and take some. Then I stood in the living room breathing through the waves of pain trying to figure out what to do. An attempt to bend over and get my phone was met with every muscle in my back screaming "haha eff you" so I shuffled next door to my friend's house and asked through gritted teeth if she would come over and pick my phone up off the floor for me. She seemed alarmed. So did Ryan when he picked up and I immediately began sobbing into the phone.He came home quickly and got me in the car to go to the doctor, where they saw Ryan HOLDING MY HEAD UP SO I COULD GET OUT OF THE CAR WITHOUT SCREAMING and brought a wheelchair for me to use. I felt ridiculous, but the thought that I could find a semi-workable position to sit in and then not have to move again for over an hour sounded amazing.

The doctor came in and I tried to be polite as possible without the ability to turn my head in greeting or shake hands without swearing loudly. He asked where it hurt and I asked Ryan to show him where Super Knot was. The doctor ran his fingers over my shoulder blade and when he reached Super Knot he exclaimed "WOW. That's there all the time?" "All the time." answered Ryan.

The doctor tortured me through a few exercises to isolate the source of the problem (my whole freaking shoulder STOP TOUCHING ME. I felt like my cat when he had an infection. If I could have crawled under a bed and hissed at and bitten anyone who came near me I would have) then prescribed no fewer than FOUR DRUGS to get me functioning again. I have a steroid, a painkiller, an anti-inflamatory, and a muscle relaxer. And once I can stand up without Ryan's help, I go to physical therapy. Apparently it's not normal to have a knot in your back for more than ten years.

Then Ryan rolled me out to the car, held my head while I climbed in, and drove me home where I sat very very still on the couch for the rest of the day. When I have to get up to pee he comes over and holds my head and upper back steady, which keeps the waves of stabbing pain from coming back.

He also made Pioneer Woman mac and cheese for everyone, including my dad, who had came over to pick up Charley and Wes, while I asked helpful and not at all overbearing questions from the next room. "Did you grate the cheese yet?" "What about tempering in the egg, do you know how to do that?" "Is the roux thickening, it's supposed to coat the back of a spoon!" I am a delight.

The kids sprang into action with the helpfulness. Wes made his lunch for tomorrow, Charley brought me his lovey. Ryan brought me dinner. My dad put Mary to bed. Charley and Wes went to bed with no fuss. And Ryan went to the store and came home with four different kinds of ice packs and some codeine. I'm a lucky lucky lady.

The first dose of anti-inflamatory has been very helpful in that I am now able to unclench my shoulders away from my ears and can find a comfortable position propped up on the couch with every pillow from our bed. THIS IS PROGRESS BELIEVE IT OR NOT. And now I'm gonna take my muscle relaxer. Bye bye George, see you next Tuesday.


Alyssa said...

Oh good Lord, you poor woman! I hope you start to feel better soon and that physio helps keep it at bay.

Chiconky said...

Oh I'm so sorry! That sounds awful! Hope you feel better soon

Jeg said...

That sounds horrible! I hope you feel better soon!