Young@Heart: Don’t Tick Off a Kink

Do Not Tick Off a Kink!

Young@HeartUsually if I wake up with a kink in my neck from sleeping wrong, I can work it out by mid-morning. Last week we were in Boston at our daughter’s home and we slept on our teenage grandson’s super firm mattress which was armed with difficult pillows.

I knew the minute I tried to get up, that there was one very angry muscle in my neck. You know those main muscles that stick out on either side of your throat when you frown and say “EEEK”? That’s the one that got mad. When it comes to pain, I’ve been through my share with three babies and a couple of broken ribs under my belt so I’m familiar with the pain scale of zero to ten, zero being pain free and ten being scalped and begging for Dr. Kavorkian.

So how could a kink send me crying and moaning to the emergency room and ultimately be outfitted with one of those collars people wear when they break their necks? I’m a wimp, and since the neck is so close to the brain, the two of them had a field day with me. When the doctor asked me where my pain level was on the scale, I told him in a shaky voice, “Nine.” I wished I could’ve told him I was injured skiing, but nope, I had to tell the truth.

I learned the neck muscles are in charge of whether or not your head stays upright, and they take their job very seriously. They’ve got good pals in the region like the muscles on your head that make a nice platform for hair to grow and keep your ears from sliding down to your shoulders. Another clan of friends are your shoulder and back muscles. Ordinarily all these muscles are friendly and they go along happily in life enjoying their individual jobs and cooperating with each other. But when that one neck muscle got ticked off, they all forgot their lifelong alliances, forgot their jobs and responsibilities and a territorial war ensued. That left me frozen in a chair, popping narcotics and pinned by the pain.

This whole experience has made me wonder how football players do it! We love to watch football and I’m always amazed at what players will do to keep playing. I remember the first time I heard an announcer say, “So-in-so is playing hurt,” I couldn’t believe that a coach from a big deal, professional football league would allow that sort of childish behavior from one of his players. I thought, ‘If I were that guy’s coach, I’d pull him out of the game and let him be an example to the rest of the team if they ever even thought about pretending to be hurt.’ (Terry explained to me that the player was playing in spite of his injury!) I’ve thought a lot about that in the last week. There is no way I could even scramble eggs, let alone tackle another person or run in for a touchdown.

I always insist on coming away from negative circumstances with lessons learned.

  1. Don’t sleep on someone else’s hard bed with pillows that seem filled with odd socks and Potato Buds.
  2. Have compassion for all who suffer from chronic pain.
  3. Queens can turn mean. Let me explain: From my painful perch in Terry’s recliner in the living room, I had to ask him for everything, water, food, blanket, heating pad, ice, time, phone, meds and help to get out of the chair to the bathroom. He has a hearing problem, so often I had to repeat my order using a louder (and harsher) voice. He was wonderful…at first, but by the third day he started staying away for longer and longer periods of time. I can’t blame him; I turned into a dictatorial shrew. I know a couple of bossy women and find it a very distasteful trait yet there I was ordering my beloved husband around like a hard hearted slave owner.

My neck muscle is happy again and has repaired its friendships with its neighbors. I’m happy again and came out with wonderful lessons learned. I’m in the process of repairing my marriage.

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