It’s been a rough seven days. Everyone has those stretches of time where it seems like your life is going downhill fast, and I’m no exception. The challenge is to overcome those periods where things just don’t seem to be going your way, and age is catching up to you.
So, let me tell you about this one week period in my life that I just mentioned in the previous paragraph. I won’t say that things were going against me, but they sure weren’t going for me. I seems life was trying to strike me down, and make me realize that I’m not as young as I once was.
It all really began a couple of weeks ago. My shoulder has been bothering me, so I was babying it back to health. You see, I injured it many years ago, and it flares up and reminds me of its frailty every once in awhile. So, when it began to bother me, like it does every so often, I began icing it and taking over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs. Oh, and providing it plenty of rest, too. That usually does the trick. Why would I think this time would be the exception?
Eight days ago a friend and I went out bouncing around in the jeep on some fairly tame roads. I didn’t think it would be an issue at all. I had taped up the shoulder and didn’t expect any problems. That’s where I was wrong. That night, around midnight, I rolled over on the shoulder and the excruciating pain brought me to a sitting position in bed, rather suddenly, too. That sudden movement provided the opportunity for someone, or something, to stick an ice pick deep into the shoulder socket. By 3:00 a.m. I was up for good, because laying down resulted in too much pain. At 7:45 I walked into urgent care—after a one hour drive in that same damned jeep.
The doctor was kind enough to stick a needle into my shoulder (not as far as the ice pick from earlier in the day) and smilingly inject me with some steroids and pain killer. He told me that it wouldn’t be long and I’d feel better. I assumed that “it wouldn’t be long” would be a matter of minutes or even maybe an hour, not four hours. He also prescribed a regime of oral steroids and some pain medication so that I might be able to sleep. He suggested I take the day off work and rest. I don’t think so, boss. The job I do is not too physically challenging, and I couldn’t do that to my fellow workers. So, I went to work that day.
Now, this is where the story gets interesting. A couple of days before my shoulder acted up I was bitten by some unseen insect, or two, or three. Damn things. They seem to love me. I had forgotten about these insect bites when I was visiting with my now favorite physician. When I went to work that afternoon I was telling my co-worker about the insect bites, one of which was on my forearm and pretty swollen. That one paled in comparison to the spot on my leg. She suspicioned what might have bitten me on my lower leg and looked it up on the internet. The pictures we saw matched this growing red area almost exactly. As a matter of fact, it could have been my leg that was being displayed for the world to see. It seems I may have been bitten by a recluse spider. I hope the damn thing died after feasting on my tender calf.
So, instead of going back to the doctor for more medical attention I did a little research. It seems that one of the treatments for a recluse spider bite is massive amounts of steroids. At that point I had so much steroids in me that I figured I didn’t need anymore. As a matter of fact I still had several days to go before my prescription ran out. And, the pain killers really helped with the itching, too. In a couple of days the sight where the spider(?) visit resulted in something that looked like it belonged in a medical text was looking much better, and the pain in my shoulder was greatly diminished. The only issue is the range of motion in that shoulder, but I figure that will come around before long.
Well, two days ago I went out bouncing around in the jeep again. I was feeling pretty good, just limited range of motion, so I figured everything would be okay. The next morning my shoulder said, “I told you so.” I guess I should have stayed home and let it rest, but life is too short to let a great time slip away. At least the pain was not near as bad as the first time around, and, anyway, I still had plenty of drugs at my disposal.
I am now out of good drugs, the spider bite looks considerably better, the shoulder is, well, something I’ll just deal with, and my now dirty jeep sits there for the world to see while it silently begs me, like a dog, to take it for a walk along the backroads of the Kaibab Plateau. I’m going to resist its pleas this time. I’d rather not be back in the doctor’s office helping make his house payment for him.
This all reminds me of something Bette Davis once said, “Growing old is not for sissies.” Seven days ago I would have given anything to be a sissy.