I had an "I'm old" week last week.
1) My cold. I called in sick Monday for it, but lucked into a snow day. I went to work Tuesday and was told repeatedly by various and sundry people that I shouldn't be there, so I left that evening with my genius plan of staying home on Wednesday. It was the tiredness that made me feel old. By the end of Wednesday, I had discovered that activity made me very tired, but that I was otherwise capable of living as usual. Then Thursday happened.
2) My neck. As I was getting out of the shower Thursday morning (at a decent time because I was back to work!), there was a loud CRACK! A series of them, actually. One giant crack, and two loud pops. It's not unusual for my neck to crack. It's the routine sound of my over-tight tendons snapping over my vertebrae. It's not a pleasant sound, but relatively harmless and, I've been assured, unlikely to give me any form of arthritis.
This crack was different. As soon as I heard it, I immediately started twisting and stretching to try to stop what was quickly becoming the inevitable tightening of my neck muscles. Inevitability won out. I stood tensely in the bathroom trying to figure out what to do. I decided that lying down and getting the weight of my giant head off my neck and shoulders could only help. Gasping and mewing, I made my way to the bedroom, with a quick, semi-conscious detour to the living room to grab my cell phone. I can't explain why I did that, but it turned out to be a good idea.
Once on my back on the bed, I started some deep breathing to try to relax and counteract the jolts of pain that were emanating from my left neck and shoulder. The radio was on, so I tried to concentrate on that and not the pain. After about 10 minutes went by, I started making attempts to get up again.
To no avail. I was basically paralysed from the waist up. Any movement ignited another flash of pain. I screamed and yelled practically every time I tried. I was glad my neighbour was away. She probably would have thought I was being murdered. Probably by my ex since she has no use for him.
I tried over and over to get up. I had three ongoing thoughts: "There's nothing wrong."; "I have to go to work." and; "Fuck; I can't move, I can't get up. Fuck, this hurts." All those thoughts were in my head. Out loud there was lots of swearing, screaming, whimpering, and groaning.
This is where my Blackberry comes in handy. I first tried to find the e-mail with the phone number of the guy I was supposed to call if I needed a sub. No luck. Then I called my friend who tends to get to school pretty early to see if she could inform someone. No luck. Then I tried to bypass that and call my friend who subs for me on occasion. No luck. Then I called another friend I work with and asked her to look up the number for me. She did. I called the supervisor and told him I needed a sub. I apologized for not letting him know earlier. He said no problem, asked me to e-mail a lesson plan, and didn't ask any other questions. Typing a whole day's lesson plans on a Blackberry was fun....
Then, after all this, I called my parents. And promptly started to cry and panic and freak out and all that good stuff. My dad handed me off to my mom, who offered to come over. I told her to wait until after rush hour, since I couldn't move then anyway. While I waited, I shivered (I was still only wearing a wet towel) and dozed.
When Mom showed up, she helped me get up (much screaming ensued), get dressed (how embarrassing), and eat. She called her chiropractor and made an appointment for me. Then she left me on the couch with an ice pack for an hour while she went to yoga.
A couple of hours later, I was face down on a massage table after a scan of the nerves in my back revealed wide-spread inflammation, compression, and misalignment of my vertebrae. The bulk of the problems were in my upper back and neck, with a few problems lower down.
After a chat about my various aches and pains over the years, the link was made: my problems are related to my jaw. The same jaw for which I am currently being treated. It really is all in my head. Years of pain and the resulting ridicule most likely originate from my crooked, off-centre lower jaw.
Actually, knowing that makes me feel less old; less like I'm falling apart before 30 and more justified in feeling the pain. It also makes me want to smack all the people who were ever rude to me about my poor health, calling me lazy, etc.
I'd just like to say that I'm glad that I live in a country where I can have this pain and someone will fix it for me without my having to prove anything to anyone. I'm just sad that dental isn't covered, because I now owe a lot of money for these teeth.
Oh, right. Bills. That's the other thing that makes me feel old....