What A Pain

We did lots of stupid things as kids. Like, a lot.

But the good thing was that back in the days when Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter were in the Oval Office (during different terms of course), there was no social media and therefore no evidence of our childhood shenanigans and ignorance. In fact I can argue that a lot of the things we did would definitely make me and my childhood friends more or less the original cast of Jackass.

Not my pic but a pretty accurate depiction of our childhood – sans protective equipment and orange cones for extra difficulty. And common sense. Ah, the ‘70s.

While most of these activities involved bikes and skateboards (because back then we actually went outside and did stuff), others were just questionable. Some involved pyrotechnics which were always in season in my neighborhood and oh, did we blow up stuff. And maybe burned things. That’s all I’m at liberty to divulge.

Despite all that, not once during this time of growing up did any of us suffer from any kind of bodily harm that was bad enough to send us to the doctor or hospital. I can recall getting the wind knocked out of me, someone else having temporary amnesia after falling from a tree and banging his head on the ground, things like that. We had to be bleeding profusely or in major pain for us to go. Different times.

Strangely after we moved from that neighborhood in my teens, I did end up with stitches near my right eye during a playground accident. Someone threw a volleyball my direction and me, holding a bat, tried to dodge it and the ball hit the bat which then smacked my temple. Blood all over. Thankfully, there was a hospital next door to the Catholic school I was attending at the time so my mom rushed over in her brown ‘78 Ford Granada and I was stitched up – much to her dismay but probably leaning more toward anger.

Flash-forward to a few weeks ago when I began to experience pain in my upper left arm and shoulder. It was sharp pain and not accompanied by any symptoms of a heart-attack, so I knew I didn’t have to go to the ER.

But the pain persisted and I did take myself to urgent care to have it looked at.

Their assessment, after x-rays, was that it was a muscle strain. I was given a shot, a prescription, some exercises to do, and off I went.

Two weeks later I was still having the same pain and perhaps even worse. And when I say pain, I mean it. Things as simple as driving were becoming burdensome, not to mention lifting anything over a few pounds. My range of motion became limited and all the muscle relaxers did was make me sleep very, very well. The ibuprofen? Helped just a bit.

All of which leads up to today when I visited my new primary care physician who had my urgent care report and did a more thorough exam to narrow down the possibilities.

And the assessment: a rotator cuff injury. Yep, all those years of riding bikes around dirt BMX tracks we made with shovels and imagination couldn’t break me, neither could careening down a steep ditch on a piece of fiberglass siding and flying over the ramp at the bottom then smacking the ground.

At age 52, I had finally achieved what I couldn’t as a kid: hurting myself bad enough to get help. But the question is how? I can’t recall anything I might have done outside of hitting some baseballs with the kid and even so, I don’t see how that could have caused it. But it sounds a lot cooler than saying you hurt it lifting a BarcaLounger chair all by yourself.

Then again, as Mick and the Stones said, “What a drag it is getting old.” By the way, he sang that at the ripe old age of – gasp – 22. Jesus, Mick.

Fortunately, the injury is in my left arm which is not my dominant one and it doesn’t look like surgery will be required. This means that hopefully, recovery time will be much sooner than I anticipate since it’s not what I rely on most of the time.

Recovery, by the way, involves some physical therapy sessions that may take a few months. I’m all for it if it means having this inconvenient pain go away or at the very least, minimize it.

Until then, it’s matter of taking it easy and getting help with the things I can normally do but just can’t.

What a drag indeed.