A Real Pain In the Neck: It’s Not A Too-Mah!

horse massage

Perhaps I need one of these?

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.

Remember this?  The I-Don't-Remember-What-The-Award-Is Award?

Maybe I’m just questioning things too much…

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.

Don't do it!

Don’t do it!

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?

Anxiety-cat-400x300By 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.

Really?

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:

Muscle relaxants.

When I think of muscle relaxants… Sixteen Candles Wedding.

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.

Oh yes...

Oh yes…

Google Has the Questions, Jenn Has the Answers

Grease_Pink-Ladies_Cheerleaders.bmp

This is how I view many of today’s lady bloggers. They are the cool kids. I’m more like an Amy Farrah Fowler.

I kept seeing it over and over.  People talking about this thing called Theme Thursday.  I wondered to myself what on earth it was, and I wondered how to get involved with it.  As it turned out, it was where the cool kids hung out.  And I got to sit at their table.

Oh what is it REALLY?  It’s a link up.  Every Thursday Jenn at Something Clever 2.0 picks a theme and the people that participate have a week to roll out a post for it.  It’s something I look forward to every week.  And Jenn puts up with me writing my plug for Theme Thursday each week featuring stuff like:

Theme Thursday was created by Jenn at Something Clever 2.0 to bring peace and harmony to the blogging world on Thursdays… and a place for a few of us to complain. Something Clever 2.0 assumes full responsibility if you are entertained by this post.

Theme Thursday:  Kid tested, mother approved, or something like that.

And my favorite thus far:  Theme Thursday is not filmed before a live studio audience.

Yet somehow she allows me to come back each week.  Imagine my delight when she agreed to guest post for me!  Again, I get to run with the cool kids!

This is me reacting to Jenn offering to guest post...

This is me reacting to Jenn offering to guest post…

A little bit about Jenn (She wrote this.  She doesn’t complain as much as she thinks she does…):

Something Clever 2.0 is not so much a mommy blog as it is a humor blog written by someone who has a kid. Jenn likes TV and wine and hates most other things. She is excellent at complaining.

Here is her guest post, with no complaining involved:

My favorite part of any magazine or newspaper has always been the advice columns. It’s so fun to read about what’s going wrong in other people’s lives! I always thought I could do a better job than the writers. The problem was that nobody ever wrote to me for advice.

So imagine how thrilled I was when I hopped on Google the other day and was bombarded with all sorts of questions!  Every time I tried to type something into the search bar, another question would appear below it. Sometimes there were up to five questions! I didn’t see a way to answer them on Google, but I figured that if these people were smart enough to contact me through a search engine, surely they’d have no trouble finding my replies if I published them on someone else’s blog. I mean, my fans are clearly internet geniuses.

Here are the answers you’ve been waiting for!

Where is Chuck Norris? Chuck Norris lives in the hearts and minds of good little boys and girls everywhere.

I can’t figure out my face shape. This is hard to guess, without a picture. Please include one next time. For now, I’ll have to generalize… Are you a robot? If so, chances are your face is either square or rectangular. Are you a cat? If you are, and you happened to be looking down right now (say, at a keyboard), your face is kind of like a triangle. Are you a little girl on Nick Jr. who teaches children a foreign language? Then your head is probably a very wide, oversized oval.

What does YOLO mean? “Young’uns Often Lack Originality.”

What are the bases? The things that belong to us.

How do you get mono? By kissing popular girls. You should only kiss nerdy girls or you will get very, very sick.

How do I live without you? I’ve only been doing this advice gig for a few minutes, so it’s sort of soon for you to be that dependent on me. I feel confident that you’ll be okay without me. You’re strong. You can do it.

Who does the bachelor pick? The bachelorette.

How can you mend a broken heart? That depends on if it’s porous or not. If your heart is made out of a non-porous material like plastic, simply apply a thin layer of super glue to one edge, then hold the pieces together for at least one minute. Let the glue set overnight. If your heart is metal or porcelain, I’d recommend Gorilla Glue. Follow the instructions on the package.

How can I keep from singing? Why would you want to? Life’s a cabaret, or so I’m told. Oh, wait, are you a bad singer? That makes a difference. If you’re a bad singer, you can still sing; just roll up your car windows first.

Help, I have a headache. Take off your headband. It’s too tight.

Why do cats knead? When kittens nurse, they knead the momma cat to make the milk come out. When a grown cat kneads you, it means they are very calm and content, and they love you. If the cat is kneading dough, they are probably making bread or a pizza. I highly recommend that you record it and upload the video to YouTube.

What is love? I assume from your question that you are either a fan of “A Night at the Roxbury,” or a sentient robot. Or maybe Mitt Romney. If you’re one of the first two, please send me a private message; we should hang out.

Who can it be now? Colin Hay.

When do you ovulate? Well, thanks for asking! Actually, I use Mirena, so I don’t do that anymore. But I appreciate your concern.

When does Lent start? The Wednesday after McDonald’s starts running ads for Filet O’ Fish sandwiches.

Let me know if you have any more questions!

My Glands, My Glands, My Lovely Swollen Glands

Don't do it!

Don’t do it!

In case you haven’t heard, I’ve been sick.  It seems like I have been sick forever.  I think I told someone I’ve been sick for a month.  I really wasn’t lying-in my defense it certainly seems that way, but I think it’s only been more like three weeks.  It started out as a cold, got really bad, and got better but hasn’t completely gone away.  I was left with this tickle in my throat that when I cough sounds something like a weak chipmunk.

This morning I woke up feeling completely crappy with swollen glands.  I’ve never had swollen glands in my life that I remember.  They aren’t just swollen, they HURT! Having never had them, I had no idea what was wrong with me.

Of course me being the cool calm collected person that I am, I panicked.

I spent the first part of the day finishing my New Year’s blog post and purposely avoided going anywhere near Google, since I was convinced that with the pain being sort of to one side it had to be a tumor.  If you google your symptoms, you will very quickly think you are dying.  I knew that if I got on there I would be in trouble.  Then I took ibuprofen, which didn’t help at all.  This worsened my fear.  Not only was I swollen and in pain, traditional pain killers weren’t helping.  Great, I’m dying.

frog croak

My husband didn’t help matters.  Being ornery, he made sure to let me know that he thought I was dying too.

By late morning the swelling and achiness seemed to be pretty much all over on both sides of my throat.  So if it’s evenly spread out, it can’t be a tumor, right?  After this thought I self diagnosed myself with thyroid disease, since it runs in my family.  Why not?  Later on I would discover that my thyroid is nowhere near the part of my neck that actually hurt.  Sigh…I never claimed to be a medical expert.

Around 2:15 I tried to lay down and take a nap, but my neck hurt and I of course sat and thought about it.  At 3:00 I dragged myself on a walk and worried the whole time.  When I returned home I threw the empty box for the ornaments on the table and pleaded for the kids to take them off the tree.  Then I drove to town to return a movie that was two days overdue.  My phone chimed just as I pulled in to the movie place.  It was my Mom-she had commented on a blog post I had written on Facebook.  She’d been gone to visit my sister, so this meant that she was home.  I called her to wish her Happy New Year.  When I told her how I felt, she said “Oh you have swollen glands.”  Oh, duh.  People get those.  She also mentioned that I really should go see my doctor-I’d been sick long enough.  Therefore that reaffirmed in my messed up head that I was dying.

By the time I returned from taking the movie back, I couldn’t stand it any longer.  At 5:00 I googled “make swollen glands less painful”.  I so shouldn’t have done that. I now think I may have a whole slew of diseases starting with “a” and going almost all the way to “z”.  I tend to make up symptoms as I go.  That day that I had that itchy bump on my stomach-that counts as hives, right?  My boob hurt the other day, even though I figured out it was right where the underwire of my bra pokes it, that counts as breast pain.  Sometimes my eyelids twitch-that is TOTALLY a symptom.

toomah

By the way, I never did really figure out how to make my glands less ouchie.  Partly because I was obsessing about diseases I could have and partly because some of those websites tend to have really, really gross pictures of stuff like nail fungus and infected things on their sidebar that I can’t bear to look at.

This whole situation is akin to having back pain and renting 50/50. If you are experiencing back pain of any kind, just don’t rent it.  It’s a great movie, by the way, even though I did think I had cancer after seeing it.  I often have muscle spasms in my back and neck.  This has been confirmed by two different doctors.  I’ve been in physical therapy for the neck pain, which I have my daughter to thank for this.  When I gave birth to her I did something to my neck.  Even after six weeks of physical therapy for that and a dislocated pelvis, I never did regain full range of motion in my neck.  She is literally a pain in my neck.

I will give my husband credit, by evening he finally admitted that he was feeling a bit swollen too.  He has been sick right along with me, just a few days behind.  He’s not coughing like I am but he snores when he’s congested.  I should have known this was true.  So maybe I’m not dying…

Incidentally if you put the words swollen glands to the tune of jingle bells it works out pretty well music wise.

So tomorrow I begin the long ordeal of trying to get in to see my doctor.  It’s not that it’s hard to see her, it’s that you have to answer all kinds of questions and possibly have a nurse call you to determine if you are actually sick enough to be seen.  It’s kind of annoying.  I only go through this when I am dying or have some sort of medication issue.  I don’t get that sick too often, so it’s been awhile.

One thing is for sure here, these are the days when I really miss my big fluffy kitty!  The one who currently resides in our house is indifferent to my suffering…

WHAT?  Me comfort you?  Just who do you think I am?

WHAT? Me comfort you? Just who do you think I am?

The ADD Kitchen Chapter 2: Cooking Calamities

I often disable this before I even start.  There is a good reason for this.

I often disable this before I even start. There is a good reason for this.

There’s a reason why I don’t bake stuff for people during the holidays.  Or any time of the year.  It’s because with the exception of the apple crisp I made once that turned out awesome and the banana bread I make, I suck at it.  I’m not much better at cooking regular stuff, you know, like dinner.

When you are ADD, there are things that just happen because we people miss stuff.  Important stuff.  Ok, often REALLY important stuff.  Certain things go wrong due to:

1)  Ingredients-Either a) I had it the last time I looked (in April) b)  Didn’t look to see if we had it at all or c) Missed something entirely (Oh, I needed THAT for the recipe?)  This sometimes calls for interesting substitutions, or a phone call to Mom for help.

Aw dang it, this recipe is for TIGER soup!  I only have leopards.

Aw dang it, this recipe is for TIGER soup! I only have leopards.

2)  Directions-Inevitably I will miss some really important part of the recipe.  Case in point-Mexican Stuffed Shells.  This is a very favorite in our house.  For some reason, we haven’t made it in a very long time.  Since we had leftover french fried onions from Thanksgiving, this is a great recipe to use the rest in.  I’ve personally never made it, because the one with the talent in the kitchen department is my husband.  I attempted it this time and as usual, only paid attention to part of the directions.  I mixed up the ingredients and just threw them all together.  Then I read the instructions again.  I was only supposed to mix a HALF cup of the stuff together.  Oops.  So to fix it, I just added extra of everything.  That works, right?  I threw in what was left of the salsa in the fridge, I opened another can of tomato sauce.  It came out ok.  Of course, you really can’t screw up that kind of cooking.  By all means try it though, just because I can’t follow directions doesn’t mean it’s not awesome.  We use ground turkey in ours, because I don’t eat red meat.

3)  Containers-I don’t often look at whether or not there is an insert in spices and extracts.  I just dump, assuming that there are a whole lot of holes to keep the whole container from going in there.  I was making a new recipe the other night, Turkey Pasta Soup.  First let me point out that I had already met criteria #1 because I needed the Italian stewed tomatoes, and I only had regular diced.  Damn Fareway, why do all of their cans look alike?  I figured I would just add extra “Italian” spices.  It needed basil.  I took the spice container and just started shaking it in there.  PLOOP!  A half container of basil.  Yup, I have no idea where the little shaker hole thing went.  “Man, that is a LOT of basil,” Evil Genius remarked in passing.

Today we attempted some holiday treats. Mostly because I want to do stuff for people so I don’t look like a total douche this holiday.  And also because Princess Christmas has been begging me since the day after Thanksgiving to do it.

So first we spent part of the day making sure we had everything we needed.  Then I settled on doing white chocolate covered pretzels with crushed candy cane and holiday sprinkles.  Easy, right?  I read online that “Chocolate covered pretzels are one of the easiest treats to make on the face of the earth.”  Whoever said that LIED!

This is what I was TRYING to make.  Something tells me they wouldn't look this pretty.  Image from BakedPerfection.com

This is what I was TRYING to make. Something tells me they wouldn’t look this pretty. Image from BakedPerfection.com

I try to be all organized and whatnot.  First I lay out everything I need.  While I do this, I set my daughter loose on the floor working on making graham cracker crumbs for another project.  I give her a bag of broken graham crackers and a hammer.  She loved this task almost too much.

Then I tried to melt the chocolate.  As I was gathering my recipes, on one website it said it was easier and better to melt the chocolate in the microwave than on the stove.  Since I’m always looking for ways to make stuff go faster (mainly because I lose interest quickly) I pour half the package of white chocolate in the microwave and started to zap it.  Meanwhile, I switch my daughter to saltine cracker crumbs.  My we will have plenty of crumbs to make stuff with!

All of a sudden I smell something NOT GOOD.  I look in the microwave and see a big black spot in the middle of the white chocolate.  I burned it!  Noooo!  I stop the microwave and try to yank the bowl out.  OUCH!  The bowl is hot.  A hot, stinky gooey mess.

I could very well go on a spree after some of the calamaties I've had.

I could very well go on a spree after some of the calamaties I’ve had.

I go back to the computer and google it.  Ohhhhh, you should do it in twenty second intervals until it’s almost all melted.  And stir, and all of that stuff.  In other words I have to monitor it.  Sigh… Ok, at least I have a half package left.  So I pour that into another bowl and stick it back in for the first of probably a million twenty second intervals.  While this is going, I eat what didn’t burn of the other chocolate (and I wonder why I’ve gained weight??)

If only I could say it turned out perfectly and the pretzels were awesome.  Oh no, you’re talking about something I’m cooking.  While I did earn the title “She Who Microwaves” from a coworker because of my love for taking shortcuts with a microwave any way I could, this does not make me an expert in any way.  l After microwaving several times at 20 second intervals, I wound up with a hard lump of white chocolate.

After consulting Google again, I discover that apparently you can overcook the stuff.  This is when I gave up for the day.  Not because I give up easily, but because I had a 2nd grade Christmas concert that evening and had to move on to other things…

In summary, research your desserts completely, because you never know when they’re going to turn on you!  If you want good baking, go over and visit my friend Karen at Baking In A Tornado.  She bakes great stuff!

Oh, and burnt white chocolate doesn’t taste bad at all.

I always do...

I always do…