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Dem Bones

Nothing makes you feel old as when one of your limbs isn’t functioning the way it used to. Suddenly the children’s song, Dem Bones, makes sense. The loss of function in one body part impacts just about everything you do. One part is connected to the next part. Last Tuesday or Wednesday I wrenched my right shoulder. I think I messed it up by sleeping on it wrong. I can remember when it must have happened. For some strange reason I sometimes like sleeping on my stomach with my arms lying down along side my body instead of out to the sides or bent and in a reaching up position if you were looking down on the bed.

At first this position is not painful. Actually, it almost feels like a healthy stretch after a workout, but eventually it becomes a little uncomfortable. That is the time that a normal person would realize that it is time to roll over and change positions, but no, not me. For some odd reason I stayed in that position for an extended period through the night and into early morning. By the time that I woke up, I could barely move, let alone use my right arm to help lift me to turn or worse sit up. So here I was, a complete doofus, remembering the good old days when this kind of thing could just be shaken off after a few minutes and a morning trip to the bathroom. That was not happening this time. The pain was so bad that it conjured up tears every time I tried moving it, like somehow a nerve had gotten pinched. “What the bloody hell have I done to myself?” My cat, Lily, staring at me from the floor probably wondering if I’ve lost my mind, looking at me crying sitting on the edge of my bed and then even she turns her head and looks away at nothingness the way only cats can disrespect you, with a slight turn of the head and shift of the eyes, no longer having you as their center of attention when it is not feeding or play time.

For nearly five days I have been manually moving my right arm with my left hand to place my fingers on keyboards so that I can work, holding a cup required both hands, reaching for and dropping things with my left hand, struggling with getting my seatbelt fastened, forgetting my pain for a moment reaching out for things with my right arm and hand and screaming in pain, cleaning the house and showering and brushing my teeth with my left hand. All the while I've been sucking down anti-inflammatory medicines, sleeping with a heating pad, and then searching Google to find out that a bag of forgotten about frozen peas and then a bag of Trader Joe’s riced cauliflower would be so much better. Thank God for angels with healing hands. After two shoulder massages over the weekend, at least the range of motion is returning to my arm. What a fool I’ve been. I am no longer 25, 35, or even 45 when stupid things I would do to my body would resiliently bounce back quickly into working order. How crazy is it that I can’t get up off of my low sofa with a bad arm.

Can’t you just picture that? Not cute. Today is about day seven and just yesterday I realized that I wasn’t needing to take pain medication. I’ve tried to stay just ahead of my pain. The three and a half hour window passed and now almost a full 24-hours have passed and I am only feeling random and very minor twinges of discomfort. It is very early morning yet. The sun is just beginning to show. I can still tell that something is not quite back to normal with my shoulder. I am not going to try any wild moves with it. I thank God that it isn't permanently inoperable or worse.

Even Lily is making eye contact with me this morning and just gave me an early morning guttural grunt while passing by in her slow saunter, as if to say, “welcome back dummy”.

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