Today could’ve been awful. It could’ve been another long, cold, horrible day with more bad news in a string of long, cold, horrible bad-news-filled days. But it wasn’t.
After a night filled with very little sleeping and a whole lotta neck/shoulder/upper back pain, I woke up with more pain, a lot of pain. I’ve been trying to push through it, to ignore it, to wait for it to magically resolve itself on its own. As if by sheer will and stubbornness, I was going to force my body to heal itself. Well, the self-delusion timer went off today and I simply couldn’t fake my way through one more day. I finally called my doctor.
It’s not that I don’t like my doctor. She is actually quite wonderful. In fact, we have a long-standing tradition for my birthday in which I slip into a paper gown, spread my legs to celebrate another year and she touches my lady parts. (She has a very gentle touch.) However, I would love to arrange a date sometime in which I could keep on all of my clothes and we could chat, sip wine and brunch. I’ve seen some truly wicked glimpses of humor from her and I would like to enjoy them without the cold feel of metal deep inside my body.
Alas, today was not destined to be the day we brunch.
Instead, I sat perched on the exam table, wearing ill-fitting denim jeans and a pink paper half shirt, gaping open in the back. She asked me to do a lot of horrible, contortionist things with my body that really no lady should ever have to do – because it all hurt. It hurt so bad it made me wince and my eyes tear. I practically begged her for some lube, a cold probing and a smear.
She gave me a prescription for muscle relaxers, anti-inflamatory meds and 4 weeks of physical therapy.
She said I have whiplash.
I laughed and asked if it was real. Surely, whiplash isn’t real. It’s much too funny of a word to be real. Every time I see it on amusement park warning signs, I giggle. Whiplash sounds like an adult substitute for the “dog ate my homework” excuse.
Marv, where’s your pie chart for that presentation? Sorry, sir, I have whiplash.
Suz, isn’t it your day to drive carpool? Sorry, no can do. I have whiplash.
Mom, can you help me with this project? Nope, sport, I have whiplash.
My doctor assured me that it is indeed a real thing and it’s the cause of my awful pain. She concluded by telling me that it could take a while to heal and stressed the importance of physical therapy.
I wanted an easy fix. I wanted a bottle filled with special happy pills. I wanted those magical Z packs of antibiotics to take away this pain. I got a to-do list of exercises and 8 future appointments to work into my already exhausting schedule which currently already includes bi-weekly OT appointments for my middle son’s still healing broken arm.
My personal pity party for one started the second I got in my still-busted-up mini-van. The sight of her bashed in side panel, mangled half-on/half-off rear bumper and lights held on with duct tape made tears run down my face. I picked up my prescriptions, changed into some yoga pants and giant sweatshirt and headed downstairs to watch TV with a heating pad around my neck.
Then, I spied it hanging on my closet door knob.
It was big and furry like a muppet, a size intentionally too big and smelling like ALL laundry detergent: my snow leopard animal print robe!
That ugly monstrosity called for me. I succumbed to her fat, furry siren’s call and slipped her on and went downstairs. My pity party was over. I found happiness on my couch with my heating pad snuggled up in my gigantic, ugly robe today.
Sure, my robe didn’t make my neck pain disappear. It didn’t relieve the crushing overwhelming feeling stalking me these days, but it reminded me that I still had a little control in my situation. I could decide to seek comfort, to find something which makes me happy even if it’s just an ugly, comfortable robe on a cold day, to do something for me.
Today, I learned that I am still capable of seeing the positive in a situation, no matter how much pain I am in and no matter how overwhelmed I feel. I can take some time for me, slip on a suddenly magical luxurious robe and heal.
Yes, I can do this.
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