I Couldn’t Stand Being Left Out

I mentioned last week that I didn’t believe I had substantively much to offer here these days.  I’m saving my blogself for “The Road Trip” which is to commence in T-minus three days.  After rerouting no fewer than fifty-three times, at last our hotels are booked, activities planned and purchased where that could be done prior to arrival, and Caleb the Wonderdog has visited his day care provider, AKA my husband’s brother and his family, to acclimate.  *pleasedon’twreckalltheirshitpleasedon’twreckalltheirshitpleasedon’twreckalltheirshit* 

I’m 82.4% certain that this adventure is going to be pretty cool, and only 17.6% (but often it feels exactly like 100%) that my failure will go down in the annals of family history as epic.

I’ve dubbed 2017’s summer The Summer of Appointments.  I cannot recall two consecutive days where I haven’t trotted one or both children to a symphony of piano lessons, a dentist, orthodontist, orthopedic surgeon, pediatrician, emergency room, physical therapist, imaging department, or sports medicine specialist appointment.  And that doesn’t even include baseball practice or games, and my children do NOT maintain freakishly overscheduled lives.  Despite having been fitted for an orthodontic retainer of my very own at MY AGE, I must have been feeling neglected, left out.  I wanted my very own orthopedic injury.  Kid #1 has a broken collarbone and Kid #2 has that separation in his bone growth plate, but what about me??  I want to be like the cool kids.  Daddy, I want an Oompa Loompa, I want an Oompa Loompa right now!

Somehow I’ve destroyed my rotator cuff.

And yeah, I say “somehow” because I have not the slightest inkling how the injury occurred, aside from just being old(er).  Naturally I blame the dog for having pulled fiercely when I walked him, because he’s a total jerk on his purple leash, and only walks decently, OK, really, like a canine prince on his Weiss Walkie leash.  His misbehavior is the most likely culprit, legit.  In the runner-up spot for destroying my shoulder is yoga, but I do not believe that my centering has taken me this far off-center.  I don’t.  I don’t know how I wake up one day having lost the capacity to move, but who am I to argue with nature?  It hurts.  Like makes-me-cry hurts when I engage in certain angles of movement.  Getting old and overuse is Bachelor #3 for etiology, but I just don’t wanna go there. Crap. 

A short list of things rendered excruciating by a wrecked rotator cuff:

  1. Sleeping.  Holy shit you guys, what I wouldn’t do to sleep on my side or belly.  Or not wake up yelping in pain.
  2. Walking the Wonderdog, although with the Weiss Walkie leash, it’s mostly OK.  I feel like the Weiss people should flip me a couple bucks for my endorsement here.  Right?
  3. Putting on or removing a bra.  I have preparatory tears as I consider retiring to bed tonight.
  4. Sitting erect.
  5. Typing on my laptop.  I hate this computer, but until this week it hasn’t inflicted physical pain, just emotional.
  6. Hold the phone.  This is not figurative language.  It hurts to hold my cell phone in my hand at the position and angle needed to you know, see it.
  7. Washing my hair (and washing the floor, but let’s not fool around here–I’m no more likely to wash the floor now than I was before).  Most hygiene tasks are complicated–shaving my underarms or applying deodorant leap to mind–and if you think that’s too much information, clearly you are new here.  Welcome. How are ya?
  8. Cutting food with a knife and stirring.  Also, cutting pizza hurts like hell.
  9. Eating.  But I like to eat, so I suck it up.
  10. Pretty much extending my arm more than about 40 degrees in any direction, crossing midline, raising my arm, and moving my neck to the left.  Super for driving. And being.

I’m a quirky kind of ambidextrous.  I consider myself a lefty because I write and eat with my left hand; I also bat and play tennis left-handed.  But I throw with my right hand, cut food with my right when I eat (but when I prepare food, the chef’s knife is in my left), and I use a right-handed scissors.  What I do with one hand I absolutely cannot do with the other though. Drat my quirky.  It’s my left shoulder that’s jacked up, so my body is so confused.  And so, so tired.  I’d donate my spleen to sleep longer than three connected hours. Do you even need a spleen?  Like a lot?

Boo-hoo, Wendy, put on a brave face, load up with ibuprofen, and keep moving.  I am.  Like my firstborn, I am badass with pain.  At my husband’s insistence however, I made an appointment with my general practitioner yesterday.  I say my husband made me, but when I am willing to go see a medical professional for myself, you know I’m one step from the grave.  I don’t go to the doctor unless it’s categorically necessary.  Quirky one, right here.  But I went, was sent for x-rays, and referred to an orthopedic/sports med doc of my very own.  My appointment with the orthopedist?  September 14.  I’ll be paralyzed or have descended into madness from lack of sleep by then, so I’m gonna have to trust WebMD for all my physical therapy needs.  (Also, I’m gonna totally possibly hijack my son’s PT appointment this morning and inundate my ballplayer’s therapist with “hypotheticals” about rotator cuff injuries which are totally in line with pitcher’s rehabs, so my questions won’t sound completely out of left field. It’ll be our little secret though, OK?)

After a star-studded June and July, the Explanation of Benefits statements from our health insurance carrier have begun to roll in, and give it up for Wendy! I only snot-cried like once.  I don’t get paid again until mid-September, such is the life of a public educator, so I’m not all summer eager-beavery about all the checks I am going to have to write.  The Summer of Appointments price tag will run upwards of $4,000 out of pocket.  Maybe that’s not a king’s ransom for you, in which case, you’re quite fortunate.  It’s not going to bankrupt us, but I can’t say it doesn’t sting.  Oh, and I have “good” insurance.

As I checked into my imaging appointment yesterday, the receptionist informed me that they required a $50 co-pay prior to my admittance, and the facade cracked.  The guy next to me was yelling at the woman checking him in about not broadcasting his address (you know how they ask you questions just specific enough to confirm you’re who you purport to be? “And Mrs. Weir, you still live on South Sesame Street?” or “Your phone number ends in 7777?”), and I needed a moment.  Just a quick moment to collect myself.  My eyes prickled from pain, but also from that feeling of “Stop it, weird over-reacty guy! I just want to get out of here, stop yelling at her!” I stared intently into my purse, searching for please-don’t-cry-right-this-second.  Found it!

I’m down, but not out. Never out. I’m the mom, ain’t no time for pain. I got some great mail this week, and mail you can touch and hold from a friend who always seems to know just what you need never fails to buoy my spirits. And my shoulder. 

In my mind, my two sons and I are lined up á la those see/hear/speak no evil monkeys, except we’re bandaged, casted, and splinted. I’m the short, hunched over one in the center.  A modern day visage of Larry, Moe, and Curly, us three. 

When Did Everything Start To Hurt?

Shower revelation du jour:  My knees aren’t 100% debilitating anymore!  Woot!  My neck and shoulders though?  They have morphed from semi-lithe in their movement to feeling and functioning like granite slabs.  I am rock-solid, but not in the hot in-your-20s rock-solid kind of way.  No, no.  My upper torso and neck hurt so unbearably that I’m a danger behind the wheel of my car.  I worry I cannot rotate my head, and thank the Ford Motor Company for its cameras and sensors. Holy crap, you guys, what the hell is happening to me?  PS–I say “Woot” about 7 times per day, and I just became painfully aware of my overuse of it.  Pretty much guarantees I’m moving on to my next verbal tic.  Funny how our brains have a way of taking care of such matters, no?  Anyway.

Sitting among the team dads at Friday night’s baseball practice, I listened to one of the guys lament how much time it’s been since he’d played little league himself.  He announced his shock and awe at having played ball himself at the diamond at which the kids played Thursday evening.  “I can’t believe it’s been twenty-five years since I played at Wilson,” he added wistfully.  His next utterance contained the words, “I can’t believe I graduated high school in 2000.”  Freakin’ Methuselah, that guy.

When you have babies as old as I did when I had mine, you don’t know you’re the old one until your child’s first day of K4.  I never felt as conspicuous in my age than at that moment.  Some of my children’s friend’s parents were oh, about 21 when their children began K4.  This is not to suggest teen pregnancy is the most stable path to starting a family; it is a path however, a not uncommon one at that.  My parents were 21 and 22 when I was born, not atypical in their generation, and I did OK.  I’m not blind, so I know I’m pretty much always the oldest mom in the room.  Sometimes it’s a little more in your face though.  Like last Friday night for example, when another of the dads, in an ostensibly “helpful” effort to point out that Dad A wasn’t that old, complained that he’d graduated in 1991.  I don’t even know how I managed, but I remained silent.  As much of a big mouth as I am, sometimes being the only girl among men and boys keeps me mum.  You learn a lot by listening, by the way.

A blogger friend of mine writes about being a grandmother.  She’s my age.  *ouch*

It’s OK that I’m old–any day above dirt is a good one, right?  Obviously I’d rather be old than among the not still breathing, but when did being begin to hurt so much??  The kick in the ass at 44 was to learn my vision was, in a word, awful.  Thinking I might benefit from readers, I learned instead that I had astigmatism, and was, BOOM, blind as a bat. I ran a few 5Ks at 45, and felt quite accomplished until I couldn’t walk from this hip thing I’d developed. The last few years have brought the joy of hot flashes into my life, and super swell coordination that leaves me falling down (and/or up) the stairs with frequency enough that my children barely even look up anymore.  And now, just when my knees allow me to come off the injured reserve, I’m a menace to pedestrians and motorists because I got this achin’ back. Get off my lawn too, sonny!  Oy.

Any day above dirt IS  a good one, true.  Sure, it takes me a little longer to bound from claw my way out of bed these days, but that’s better than the alternative.  Plus, I’m starting to believe that having a kitchen in the basement is good for my cardiovascular/neuromuscular health (read: my ass).  Hey, speaking of neuromuscular health, my kid has his semi-annual visit to the neurologist next week, and I haven’t even puked yet.  Score one for the old lady, huh?

Where do you keep your dishwasher?  Apropos of nothing regarding aches, pains or anything else contained herein, I offer this photo of our kitchen in its current state of undress to illustrate maybe why I’m a little fragile these days.