When I started massage therapy last year, it was miraculous. All summer I had complained to any provider who would listen (or couldn’t help hearing me even if they weren’t really listening) about my shoulders. My rock hard, painful, clicking, popping, crunchy shoulders that felt like they wanted to tear themselves away from my neck altogether. After a couple of weeks of once-a-week, hour-long massage, I realized–my shoulders didn’t hurt anymore. I was converted, and made clear to all concerned (family, work, friends) that on Fridays at 11:00 am I have a massage, and nothing; not tech week, not socializing, not anything, was to get in the way of that.
About two or three months ago, my mother offered to pay the difference for ten 90-minute sessions. When I completed the tenth, I knew there was no going back, so now I have a weekly 90-minute massage that sets me back $95 per visit. But if it helps, then, it’s completely worth it. Right now, that’s the problem. Lately it doesn’t help, or if it does help its for a day or two, but doesn’t carry me through the week.
On Friday I went, as usual. My shoulders were lousy. She had trouble getting them relaxed enough to even work on them. It’s funny, too, that when my body is resisting it’s framed in terms of me not letting go enough. I wondered if maybe it’s not “me” per se, but that my body is so jacked up it can’t release itself (what? Not my fault? Not because I am just not good at this? Whatchu talkin’ ’bout, Willis?). We did a couple different things.
Friday night was opening night of Chicago, the celebratory presentation of our collaborative effort to make theatrical art. That meant that Saturday? Saturday was the beginning of my actual summer break. I got up yesterday with so much pain in my left shoulder/neck that I couldn’t look over that shoulder, I couldn’t not think about the pain, I could hardly interact with any success because the pain alarm system was just jangling away, louder than anything else. I was driving to take Ibuprofen, I took a warm shower, I laid on the heating pad, I iced it, I heated it, I took a hot bath with epsom salts. I sat outside under the misters and drank two hard ciders mid-afternoon, I took a short nap, I rubbed in that rip-off Blue Emu shit I bought (oh, we the chronic pain types, we can be parted from our money so many different ways).
I endeavored to distract myself all day. I tried as hard as I could to not berate myself or engage in internal whining about losing this First Day, I tried to deal with now, not, “What if now that I’m off I feel like shit for the WHOLE SUMMER?” etc. I would say I was 75-80% successful. I resisted the desire to tell my shoulder, “Fuck you, I’m going to sew/draw/work anyway!”
This morning? My left shoulder is much, much better–down to its normal 2-3 pain level. Ready for the kicker?
My right shoulder is extremely unhappy–from the base of my skull to my arm to my rib cage. Like a 5 or 6 level pain.
I was willing to give it one day. I can hardly cope with the idea of giving it another one. In a minute I’ll consume my chia seed breakfast (which has restored almost normal function to my gut, so there’s that….), take more Ibuprofen (and pray that doesn’t lead to a night of Gnawing Stomach), take a hot shower, put on the rip-off
snake emu oil bullshit, and see if I get to have any of the things I wanted for this day.
Then I have to decide; go back to massage? Call it quits? It’s hard to let go of something that I perceive as being The Only Thing That Helps. Even if right now, it isn’t. Because then I’m back to There’s Nothing That Helps.
Not my favorite place to be.