40 years old and a pain in the neck

Tomorrow I turn 40.

The big news in the US right now are the presidential debates:  President Obama vs. former governor Mitt Romney.  You know how they over-pre-analyze everything to the stupidest detail, and then afterward talk to the spinsters, and then jaw about how it all effects the horse race?  Well after these things are said and done, they’re really only good for one moment of insanity.  Tonight’s moment of insanity is when Mitt Romney told Jim Leher that despite his great love of BIG BIRD, as president he would cut PBS.  Jim Leher of course, is a PBS employee.  Also, as a cost saving measure, PBS is 0.012% of the Federal budget, so it’s not what anyone would call a serious plan to cut government spending, but there it is.  That’s the only thing that will stick in the minds of the population.

Anyway, that stuff is lame.

Let me tell you about my NECK!  So it turns out my trapezius muscle  was inflamed for some reason; it could have been trauma, could have slept on it wrong, or maybe it was the evil shingles virus, expressing itself as an inflamed muscle, before traveling to the skin and becoming the identifiable rash.

Who knows.

Anyway, it was freaking painful, and it prevented me from turning my head to the left.  And whenever the muscle was called upon to flex, it hurt an angry tantrum hurt.

Within minutes of that going down, the rest of my body conspired to never feel that pain ever again.  My neck muscles all colluded to freeze any movement of my head, and were so rigorous in their defense against movement that they quickly became tired and sore, almost to the point of becoming inflamed themselves.

So it hurt to turn, tilt, lie down… basically any movement or position that didn’t involve looking straight forward.  The other thing that hurt was any act of balancing my giant melon head, so things like walking and riding in cars were incredibly painful.

After two visits to Urgent Care, I had a couple of pills that helped get me through the day.  I wasn’t able to teach for two days.  The consulting nurse said that symptoms would last for a week, and there was no. way. that I was going to take a week of sick days off of work; that would be unacceptable.  I tried to get an acupuncture appointment on the advice of a friend, but the website LIED and said they were closed on Monday.

Luckily I was able to get a massage appointment on Tuesday.  So I lay down on this soft, towely massage spa table, and there is new age music playing, and the lights are dim, and there are flowers in the room and pools of water and smooth rocks and shit all over the tastefully color-coordinated room.  Then this dude came in and grabbed my head up off the table and wrenched it around and slid his giant knuckles along the train wreck of neck muscles that were piled around my spine.  His hands were as big as rump roasts.

When he’d move me unexpectedly my neck would lock up, and then he’d crush the raging muscles into submission.  I went from screaming and cursing on the table to whimpering and shuddering, back to screaming and cursing, and then shuddering.

The entire time, he’s chatting amiably about how he used to be a mechanic.  He’d ask me about China, and I’d sat something about the subway and then suddenly scream something inappropriate about his heritage.  To him, that was all part of the conversation, and I remember him dropping a casual F-bomb while describing a frustrating experience he had had at a restaurant in China, chuckling thoughtfully to himself as he crushed my neck beneath his soulless robot crusher-hands.  I thought to myself “is he supposed to be dropping the f-bomb?” but then I remembered I had screamed something three times worse about five second into the massage.

At one point he explained to me what “guarding behavior” was; as I explained above, my un-inflamed neck muscles colluding to protect me from the pain of the one inflamed muscle.  Even my front neck muscles were sore from guarding behavior, the muscles at both sides of my adam’s apple, the ones that pull your chin down to your chest.

So then he stuck his hands into my neck and snatched up a fistful of my front neck muscles, like he was grabbing a fistful of spaghetti.  I didn’t know you could snatch up somebody’s neck muscles!  I lay their shaking and wheezing slightly, and the dude says, “oh yah, you have a lot of trigger points here.”  And then he asks, “are you feeling dizzy, because I am right next to your carotid artery.”

Anyway, a day later, I am feeling bruised all over my neck.  But the bruises don’t show, and  I’ve recovered a huge range of motion, and the relief is amazing.  My pain pills and muscle relaxants wore off hours ago, so I’m pretty sure I’m past the worst of it.  The bruises are actually fun to touch, and I’ve tried to snatch up my own neck muscles a number of times today.

So to wrap this post up, the massage was a huge help.  I feel like I should bring my massage therapist a box of oranges or a pie or a single red rose or something.  I can’t wait until the bruise pain subsides enough for me to snatch up my own neck muscles.

As far as birthday stuff goes, I think there is a happy hour tomorrow, nothing planned for the weekend.  My sister asked me what I wanted for my birthday; I told her accordion, so she claims she got me bagpipes.  I know this to be a lie.  Boy do I love my sister.

Birthday wishes have been rolling in from across the world ever since the sun hit Australia.  I’m so glad to hear from everyone!  Thank you so much for all the love, and don’t forget to thank my mama… she did all the work!

2 thoughts on “40 years old and a pain in the neck

    • I’m sorry to hear that! I very strongly encourage you to find a massage therapist! It makes life better! The dude is expensive, so I only go when there’s some kind of catastrophic pain.


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