Mr, Cupcake at Craters of the Moon

Mr, Cupcake at Craters of the Moon
Mr. Cupcake at Craters of the Moon

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Down for the Count

Today I am admitting to myself that I cannot do all the things.

If you follow me on social media or know me in person, you'll have heard me complain of excruciating pain in my shoulder these past two weeks and more. It's like someone has a voodoo doll of me and is drilling a hole into my left shoulder, in the middle part of the blade. I have been alternating between muscle relaxants (methocarbomol) and ibuprofen to help me sleep at night, and taking an average of 600mg of ibuprofen about every two hours to keep the pain down to a level where I can function.

I don't know what I did exactly, because there wasn't a moment where I was set off screaming, but as my job is a very physical one (lifting kegs full of beer, lifting glasses in a tray out of a glass washer, pulling beer, lifting boxes full of bottles, and tons of repetitive movement). I have had repetitive strain injury (RSI) before, in my wrists and hands, from working at places like a meat cutter and the public library. It's that kind of nothing-will-help immobilizing pain and all a person can do is rest.

If I was in Canada, I would have seen a doctor by now. I don't have health insurance in America, and I still don't really know how the system works. In mentioning this to social media, some of my twitter friends have made helpful suggestions first to what my problem might be (tendonitis or RSI in my rotator cuff) and also that there may be free clinics thanks to Obamacare or that, for work related injuries, Worker's Compensation will pay for my doctor visit. I didn't know that there was worker's comp in the US, and apparently the employer has to make the appointment for me, so I have submitted my request to that effect.

In the mean time, this is my last week at work and I have to absolutely admit that I cannot do any more lifting of any kind. I have enough staff now that I don't need to be behind the bar (which is a good thing, considering I am leaving) and who can help me with other things like gathering supplies and doing the cleaning. All I have to do is coordinate the things that need to be done.

Meanwhile, we have friends coming to visit from Canada (one who is originally from Virginia) tomorrow and I wanted to have the house clean and ready for their visit. Here I am also admitting to myself that I cannot undertake that work. Even thinking about lifting the laundry basket makes me wince in pain, there is no way I can drag a vacuum cleaner over our 2,400 square feet. I'm sure they will understand, friends are good like that.

I am still looking for another job and have a lot of leads and possibilities. Here also I have to admit to myself that I cannot do serious physical work anymore. I am strong, it is true, but I can only do so much before I start damaging myself and that won't do. I'm only 39 and have a lot left to do in my life. While I am proud of the fact that I can run a jack hammer and a recip saw, power tools like that leave my hands tingling unpleasantly and lead to later numbness.

Thus I accept my current impairment. I cannot knead bread. I cannot sleep on either side (I have an old shoulder injury on my right side, the current injury is on my left). In fact I cannot sleep through the night - I have to wake up to take more pain killers. My twitter friends who have experienced injuries of this nature tell me it takes 4-6 weeks to heal. Well, at least I have audiobooks and podcasts.