Ever felt like someone was stabbing you in the neck with a large flathead screwdriver? How I’ve been feeling lately is exactly how I think it would feel. I say this because we have one in the garage and that’s the mental image I get as I’m in pain these days.
After five months of issues with my neck and upper back ranging from uncomfortable to excruciating, I had finally reached the breaking point.
Yes you saw that right. FIVE MONTHS. Why have I not gone to the doctor? There are many reasons, the first and foremost being that I’m used to being in pain. I’ve had back problems forever, this just seemed like yet another chapter in the ever popular saga of “Look what motherhood has done to my body!” I also live with a man who feels that if you’re not bleeding profusely it’s probably not serious enough to go see the doctor. Add to that the fact that I don’t make any money right now. Making the decision to pay to go see a doctor about something that may be something but could be nothing is almost viewed as a luxury. Believe me, I’ve shelled out my share of money for conditions that were unsolved mysteries.
So back to the breaking point. About three weeks ago I felt a small lump on the back of my neck where the pain seemed to be worsening, right around where the pinched nerve I’ve had forever lurks. I’ve had some lumps and bumps pop up on my bod lately, and they almost always turn out to be another zit. But this was not turning into anything. I don’t know how many times I played contortionist in the bathroom trying to get a good look at it in the mirror. I tried to show Evil Genius, who of course thinks that I think that there is always something wrong with me. Naturally I didn’t pursue that venue too long, since he has all kinds of coefficients to think about.
I didn’t look this up online, by the way. If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, then you know that one thing I’ve learned is to never ever ever google your symptoms. EVER. You’ll think you’re dying. When all of this started back in December, I made the mistake of looking stuff up and wrote about it. I had what turned out to be bronchitis on top of everything else that was going wrong, and my subsequent neck pain was poo-pooed as being a little from being sick and a lot from anxiety. Another reason why I haven’t been back to the doctor.
Anyhoo, I’m rambling again. Back to this week. After the third night of very little sleep due to being uncomfortable and anxiety ridden thoughts like “What if it’s cancer? I will die and my kids will have no mom!” I finally called the doctor’s office. Often getting in to see the doctor around these parts is like playing a strategy game. I got to talk to the nurse, which is always F-U-N.
“And why do you need to see the doctor today?” The nurse asked.
“I’m experiencing neck pain.”
“How long have you been experiencing this pain?”
Um…ummmm… be honest, “Please don’t laugh at me, but five months.” I replied, and then quickly added “There’s a bump there too!”
Then I had to spend another few minutes describing this bump in detail. I must have done a good job, because I was in. Shockingly I got in that morning, but it was two hours away. I spent the next two hours in an anxious person’s hell, because I do this every time I have any kind of ailment. I spent two hours worrying about the doctor’s appointment. Should I live like I’m dying? What if I go in and she takes one look at the bump and whisks me off to have it removed immediately because it’s that advanced? Should I go ahead and name the bump something like Cher so I can talk to it?
By the time I made it to the doctor’s office, I was pretty much a basket case. Luckily they didn’t make me wait very long. I went in with my list of symptoms in hand (because I forget to mention really important things) and then promptly forgot about it the second the doctor walked in.
The doctor looked me over and asked some questions. She had me do some interesting things with my arms, because I am soooo strong and in shape these days. She felt my neck, including the bump.
“So what do you think it is? Do you think it’s serious?” I asked nervously.
“No. That bump is part of your muscle,” she replied with a smile.
More questions-had I been in any car accidents? Had I fallen from a great height recently? Did I fall down the stairs (this is a legitimate question-everyone knows my stairs are out to get me). Unfortunately, there is nothing that I could pinpoint that could have caused me to injure myself and thus explain some of the pain I was experiencing. Bummer.
After looking me over a little more, she declares “Looks like we’re definitely going to need some x-rays. Would you like to go to the main clinic (in other town) this week, or wait and set something up here next week?”
“It’s not life threatening? I’m not dying?” I had to be sure, you know.
“Nooooo…” she said, still smiling (STOP SMILING! It’s not funny!)
“I’ll do it next week.” I figured since I wasn’t going to die that I could wait and do it when it was convenient.
I was sent away with prescriptions for muscle relaxants and a pain reliever that wouldn’t upset my stomach like 800 mg of ibuprofen would. I don’t know about you, but whenever I think about muscle relaxants, I think of this scene from Sixteen Candles:
I can’t say that they’re working like that for me, which is a little disappointing. I feel a little weird, but that’s about it. I can’t say that the pain reliever is doing much for me either, which is a lot disappointing.
As for what I believe is going to happen next, I foresee some more physical therapy in my future. I’ve been there and done that in the past. If it makes me feel better, I suppose it will be worth it. And because I’ve been waiting for an excuse to use this meme again, here we go.