It only hurts when I move.
That may sound melodramatic. Or like dry humour.
But actually, that’s a bit of gratefulness.
I tried to resume normal yesterday, except typing with my left, and being a particularly good pet-owner to myself and taking me for a couple walks, making sure I had water and nutritional food, and taken to the litter. I ensured I did not put any weight on the right arm and was attentive to posture. Yesterday felt a hard slog with much accomplished in the house, in the manuscripts, even with a balance of time for conversation.
But by night the arm was an aching cramp, partly fatigue, mostly from the awkward jangle of trying to extricate myself from clothes even with help. I couldn’t sleep for fear of waking up to the state of pre-cortisone shot into the joint. (Surely the effect couldn’t wear off that fast.)
I got used to counting on 2 or 3 times a day of a jolt out to fingertips of shoulder being evil. I got used to wave of nausea in the daily or so, so it wasn’t an alarm bell to attend to anymore than a security beep before the clerk waives you past anyway. A dull throb to sharp, nausea-inducing spike that was there day and night and was exacerbated by tensing the arm was normal for weeks, growing over months.
I got good at rethinking how to do daily as if I had no right arm. Partly because I’m bull-headed (and ascribe shame cubed to needing help, asking for help, getting help). If there’s something I excel at it’s workarounds. I forget you can do direct because I’m used to pitching in various ways to see what would stick this time because there’s no constancy of truth to what works. There’s success in learning how to get my left to do more, how to get into a jacket without reaching the right back. I started to tense up if anyone came near the arm, which in itself caused a flutter of spasms.
I began to forget before this frozen shoulder business.
Last fall to spring I had a break from chronic fatigue and pain and decided, woohoo, I’ve done some magic formula or the body in its Great Wondrous Randomness has worked itself out of penance and pain pennants, and I’m free.
So it was worse to find myself returning to the station but in a new location. A state as bad as slipped disk (1996, 2008) or trick knee (2002-04) or migraine (until last year). Life isn’t fair. Life is.
I suppose Joe Mariner would be surprised to find that I can still see his bearded face, 80s-big eyeglasses thumbing the nose and chanting “You don’t always get what you waa-aant” back at the heels-dragging grade 7 class. I bet he’d be surprised that I retained his telling the girls that if they didn’t shave their underarms it would grow long as their head hair and need to be braided, and that lipstick was made from ground up fish. This, this I remember? What did we learn of geography, history, English? No idea.
Of all the things my mind would choose to be able to access.
“What nonsense we talk
What nonsense we’re told
What nonsense we are
But I wanted to tell you still how lovely we are”
Today I woke cautiously as a person who had fallen might first check by wiggling toes to see that the spine isn’t broken, run a mind’s eye over the limbs to see if nothing is calling for attention, and got up carefully not to slip to automatic and put weight on it or move wrong.
It feels more present than it should but back to tender instead of hurt. It’s another day of spring. Should I keep loitering in winter of last night? As Thoreau said, (yes, I am rarely in my own decade or century),
“In a pleasant spring morning all men’s sins are forgiven. Such a day is a truce to vice. While such a sun holds out to burn, the vilest sinner may return. Through our own recovered innocence we discern the innocence of our neighbors.
[...]There is not only an atmosphere of good will about him, but even a savor of holiness groping for expression, blindly and ineffectually perhaps, like a new-born instinct, and for a short hour the south hill-side echoes to no vulgar jest.”
Heady with a sense of extra energy, for an hour or a day or until it runs out, it feels a bit like a lottery of time resource freed up. I have a backlog to go through. Should I invest it measuredly, or do a I can do ANYthing, so trifle it?
A joy of working with less encumbrance than usual. Let’s go for that.
Quote: “Suddenly I realize / That if I stepped out of my body I would break / Into blossom.” ~James Wright