I have had a rough few weeks, I have to be honest.
My class of fifth graders this year is very, very challenging. It isn’t that they are defiant or badly behaved. It isn’t that. It’s that they are incredibly needy, and every one of them spends all day pulling on my heart, my patience, my courage, my loving support. When I finally get to four o’clock, I am way past drained and exhausted.
Then there is the fact that my daughter and her fiance have moved in with us for a few weeks. She is my beloved girl, my darling, my pride and joy, the sweet, tangy macintosh apple of my eye. He is calm, and funny and smart and gentle. He loves her to pieces. And its great to watch.
Still, we have gone from one adult couple in the house to two. It has been fun and challenging and interesting and stressful and rewarding and hard. The fridge has different foods, the basement exercise room has become a home office, the garage has gone from finally-a-little-bit-organized to every-inch-is-packed-full. People are walking around the house at 1AM, and we are just not used to it anymore!
But worst of all, I pulled a muscle in the middle of my upper back last week. I have no idea how it happened, but it may have been when I lugged a 20 pound curriculum box upstairs to my classroom. Or it may have been when I carried 15 pounds of professional development books and 24 science notebooks home in my workbag. It could have happened as I tried to do the last weeding chores of the season, or when I was walking 175 pounds worth of big dogs.
All I can tell you is that I woke up last Saturday morning with a sharp pain just below my left shoulder blade. It hurt to breathe deeply, it hurt to raise my arm, and in the ultimate bizarre symptom category: It really, really hurt to burp.
I waited a few days, sure that it would just go way, but the pain got worse and began to radiate from my shoulder blade to my rib cage and up into my left arm. It was painful to brush my teeth, to drive, to reach into the fridge. And I still couldn’t burp without feeling that knife blade between my ribs.
Finally, after two nights of tossing, turning and moaning in my sleep, I followed Paul’s advice and went to see my doctor.
Visions of medical disaster were dancing in my head the whole day before the appointment. What if I had a blood clot in my lung???!!! What if it was a blocked coronary artery???!? A cracked rib?!? A TUMOR, for God’s sake!!! Every indrawn breath brought a new twinge and a new surge of panic.
I burped more that day than I had in the past month. And they all hurt. A lot.
Finally, I was there in front of the doctor, johnny robe open in the back. He poked, he prodded, and the pain surged like a bolt of lightning to my waistline and right around to my left hip. He nodded his head, murmured, and sent me for some X Rays. By the time I had lain on the ice cold metal table and returned to my doctor’s office, I was throbbing from waist to shoulder.
I sat in front of the doctor, waiting for the verdict.
He clicked some keys on his computer, looked up and said, “It looks like a muscle strain. You should take ibuprofin and use this arthritis cream.” I felt relieved, but I waited for what else he’d have to say.
“You also need to apply moist heat for at least an hour a day.”
Moist heat? What, like really hot water?
“OK”, I said, like the good patient that I am, “We, um, we have a hot tub…..?”
“Perfect!”, declared the best doctor ever. “You need to get in there at least twice a day, and really soak that sore muscle.”
Well, OhKay then!
It isn’t my heart. I don’t have a blood clot, or a broken bone, or a blocked artery. All I have is the world’s best excuse to lay back, close my eyes and let those little jets work their magic.
I like to think of this prescription as the payoff for my slightly difficult last month.
You should be so lucky!