Not The End Of The World

Send to Kindle

DSCF0267It’s been one of those times ( you know them, I’m sure) when the unexpected happens and you’re left in the dust as the world moves forward and you’re left wondering how you’ll ever get back on your feet.  Emails and blogs I’m subscribed to are piling up and it seems like the only thing to do is hit erase and pretend I never got them.  And my writing?  Forget about it.

Two weeks ago I was hit with a pinched nerve in my left shoulder area.  The pain was sharp and intense in my neck, and shoulder. It ran all the way down my arm into my elbow and hand. The first two days I was here alone. Walking the dogs, getting a meal prepared for myself and driving were a nightmare. I went back to see my chiropractor, whom I’d seen just hours before the pain hit.  She readjusted me but nothing changed. The following day I had a two hour massage with one of the best world’s best. It felt better for a few minutes but went right back to feeling horrible. The day after that, a Sunday, Bill was home again. He drove me to Med-Express, one of those places that is open all the time with doctors who are available to help those who are ailing.  The funny doctor there took x-rays, noted that it wasn’t my rotator-cuff, four or five other things, and said, “Yeah, It’s probably a pinched nerve.” He called me “Poor Miss Joan,” and told me I’m not getting any younger but added that I look terrific for my age. He sent me to the pharmacy for a muscle relaxant and prednisone in a pack that you take for six days. Each day you take one less until they are gone.

Nothing much changed.  My stomach became a mess. I was bloated, had indigestion, and worse. I began to wonder if I had some fatal disease. I felt helpless and hopeless. I wanted to write but couldn’t bear the pain. I spent most days in bed. Moving around was just too painful.

I had silly, mini panic attacks. I worried the endometrial cancer I’ve been free of for three years was eating it’s way through my body, similar to the 17 year locusts that invaded the area this summer devouring oak leaves. They made love, laid eggs, and then died. Yikes! Being one with a wild imagination, I worried about what would happen if I did die. Would Bill feed the dogs on time and walk them as I always did the first thing each and every morning?  Would I be able to somehow finish the first draft of my book before I went, if I dictated it to a stenographer?  And would Bill know that I had taken several sweaters to the cleaners last week? And would he remember to pick them up?

If I wasn’t crying, I was trying to laugh.  Sort of.  Monday after seeing the doctor at Med-Express, I called to make an appointment with my own doctor.  She had a full schedule, couldn’t see me and was going out of town for the rest of the week. I made an appointment with her Nurse Practitioner for Wednesday. I called another doctor I’d seen over ten years ago for a rotator cuff problem and is considered the best in town.  He was booked ahead for months. But his associate could see me on the 28th of August.  I said, “No, if I wait tow weeks to see someone about this problem, I’ll probably be long gone to another world. “

On Wednesday with the pain worsening, I saw Nurse Practitioner, Alycia.  She is lovely and young. I felt like an old, worn out hag, getting ready to sit in my rocking chair for the next ten years, drooling and staring into space.   She told me the stomach problems were caused by the prednisone, that it is very unlikely that the cancer had spread to my shoulder, and no, I wasn’t dying.  She also told me that I had so much inflammation in my shoulder and arm that I needed to go back on the prednisone once I’d finished the pack I already had.  She also gave me a prescription for a stomach soother, told me to enhance the Prednisone with Naproxen, rest, and don’t do anything that hurts.

Well then, what could I do? Every time I moved it hurt. I’ve found that most things require arm motion of some kind.I decided I’d finish the two books I was in the middle of reading, watch something stupid on television, and take advantage of the time by having long afternoon naps. After a while the last two activities got boring.  I wanted to write, go for a walk, and stop hurting.

Very slowly, the pain is moving on.  Today I worked on the computer without my hand getting numb.  My shoulder and neck are still a bit tight, but hopefully that’s coming to an end. Yesterday, I baked banana bread and puttered around with laundry and all the stuff that sits undone as I spend my days not doing much.

Today, I’m reading the blogs I subscribe to, and emails, too. I still can’t go to Pilates, Yoga, run around the block, walk the dogs because they pull, or work in the garden.  But it’s coming. This whole little side-tracking adventure has given me something to cry, giggle and write about. I’ll start work again on my book tomorrow, if I haven’t burned out my arm and fingers writing this little jingle. And I’ll continue feeling grateful that my problems are no worse than they are.

As I send out love, healing light and prayers for my pain to go away, I also send them to all sentient beings every where. And especially to a friend who recently found out she has a brain tumor.

May you be well. May you be happy. May you live in peace.


  1. Oh my, I don’t like to think of you imprisoned by your pain. I am just back from a trip to Scotland and unable to sleep (it’s 2.10AM here) so I thought I’d catch up on all the blogs and emails I’ve also been neglecting for months.
    I do hope you mend quickly, but in the meantime I’ll enjoy catching up with your posts. x

    • Joan Rough says:

      I’m so happy to see you here. Thought you’d dropped off the end of the earth. I trust your trip back home was wonderful and hope all is well with you and yours. Are you back to writing?

  2. I send you healing vibes so you can get back to writing… I know how debilitating nerve damage can be… it seems like only time can heal it… to me these times are reminders of how precious and fragile our health and independence are…

    • Joan Rough says:

      You are so right about the fragility of our health. It seems my body does not do well sitting in front of the computer for hours a day and so it’s rebeling. Went to see a Physical Therpist today. Besides doing the stretches he showed me, I’m supposed to get up out of my chair every thirty minutes and move around, doing some other stretches. So I’m working slowly these days and trying to be aware of what is happening to my back, my arms, my hands ….

  3. Joan – These very words could have been penned by me this past March when I broke my ankle and was in a non-weight-bearing cast for 8-weeks. I thought I would go out of my ever-lovin’ mind! The moment you can get back to yoga (the gentle, slow, restorative type), do. I swear by yoga. It’s my cure-all; my silver bullet!

    • Joan Rough says:

      Thanks, Laurie. I’ll be in my yoga class on Friday morning. It’s what we call “The Old Lady” class and it is gentle and slow and very restorative. I agree that yoga is the way to go!

  4. We certainly can’t take our bodies for granted, can we? When they decide to revolt, it’s painful in more ways than one! I do hope you’re really and truly on the mend now.

    • Joan Rough says:

      Thanks Becca. No we can’t take our bodies for granted. During the early stages of this problem I swore a lot and tried to keep going. Not the best recipe in the world. Now I’m going slowly and doing a lot of stretching and taking care of this old lady so she can keep on keeping!

  5. Yes, the terrible thing about lying in bed with nothing to do that long is the worry you have time for all of a sudden. Glad you’re feeling better!

  6. Joan,

    What a frightful thing. I had a hairline fracture with my ankle and completely broke my wrist two years ago, so understand how the lack of mobility can drive a person crazy. Especially someone who cherishes their independence, as I suspect you do.

    But the worst pain I have ever had was a pinched nerve in my back. All I remember is that they were trying to prop me up in a standing position for my x-ray and I kept collapsing, like a rag doll. I am sending my thoughts for your complete healing. Sounds like you have really been though it. Feel better!

    • Joan Rough says:

      Thanks, Judy. This thing is still hanging on but it is better and hopefully tomorrow will bring more relief. I haven’t been hit with anything like this before. Age?

  7. I’m glad to find you here on your new website, but so sorry to hear of your misery! I have an overactive imagination as well, particularly when it comes to health issues, so I can totally relate! I hope you’re feeling better and better every day.

    • Joan Rough says:

      Dorothy, Thanks for your well wishes. The pinched nerve problems till lingers into week 4. But I’m slowly feeling better and will have an MRI soon to figure out exactly what is going on.