I like to think I’m pretty tough. My cousins and I have a knack for making all activities– whether it be the card game spoons or badminton– full contact. I played rugby in college, which is essentially an exercise in getting the crap beat out of you. I once fell off my bike in Costa Rica and cleaned the open wound in the ocean. I was reared by the baddest woman I know. I am tough as shit. Or at least I thought I was.
A combination of lifting weights, a 3 hour DC walkabout with my a heavy purse across my right shoulder* and sleeping funny one night last week has left me with muscle spasms in my shoulder and upper back. I’ve dealt with muscle knots before, as I like to carry my shoulders as close to my ears as possible (both generally for fun and when stressed) but this is pain like no other.
I started with the usual route– enough Advil to make me fear an ulcer, walking to the gym to sit in the hot tub and a small investment into Tiger Balm and Icy Hot. I smelled terrible. It hurt. No matter which way I adjusted my body, I couldn’t get comfortable. And a week later still can’t.
I spent the majority of Saturday evening sitting on my front porch with a bag of ice on my shoulder and Tiger Balm at my side. We had plans to go to Policy on U Street Saturday night to celebrate Brynn’s birthday, so I wanted to make sure I was properly Tiger Balmed before we set out. I was going to be a trooper. Because Brynn’s pretty great and staying home wasn’t anymore comfortable than any other activities.
I even put on make up and high heels– pretty much for no reason. Do YOU know how hard it is to pick up boys in a bar when you’re moving around like an old lady and smell of very minty feet? Not easy. By the end of the night, I was in enough pain to throw public decency to the wind and just started lathering my shoulder up with Tiger Balm in the middle of the bar. I was that much fun this weekend.
By the time Monday morning rolled around, I’d had enough and scheduled a doctor’s appointment. So now I’m on muscle relaxers and some anti-inflammatory they usually give to old folks with arthritis*. Let me tell you what it is like after you’ve taken 2 muscle relaxers at the office.
Talking to your superior: Oh shit. He’s talking to me. What is he saying? Ok. Focus, focus, focus. It’s your turn to respond now. What did he say? You need to respond. RESPOND! It is a lot like showing up to your high school Spanish class high. Or what I assume it would be like to show up to your high school Spanish class high.
Sitting at your desk: Really hard.
Keeping your eyes open: Virtually impossible.
Other activities that are hard: brushing your teeth, feeding yourself, holding up your ice cream cone, washing your hair, hugging, sitting at a desk all day, sitting anywhere for more then an hour when you’re expected to hold still, sleeping.
I’ve finally caved and scheduled a massage. I’m fairly certain this woman is going to make me cry. I’m putting all of my muscle spasm eggs in her basket. I want her to work miracles. I want her to be a muscle spasm goddess. I jwant to sleep at night and be able to left my beer without searing pain. Is that too much to ask? I didn’t think so.
The moral of this story is this: Don’t walk around town with bricks in your purse. Get a super cute backpack like this one maybe. Tiger Balm is a natural cockblock– if you’re on the market for one. Muscle spasms blow. And apparently, I’m not as tough as I thought.
* Most likely filled with bricks.