Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Aching Ape

Last Friday while teaching, I wrenched my neck.  Normally, things like this bother me only for a day or two, but this particular strain or crick or whatever it is refuses to relax itself.  The only thing that brings me relief is being perfectly still with my chin down and my right arm hanging limp at my side.  That isn't likely to happen very often or for very long.  I am right-handed and I spend a lot of time each day actually writing, whether or a board or in a notebook.  Last night, I went to a seminar where I pretty much zoned out and doodled on a sheet of scratch paper, and by the time it was over, I could barely stand to turn my head.

It's been four days, and I've been eating ibuprofen like candy to keep the pain down to a level where I can  function.  I should just go to the health center and get some muscle relaxers, but I hate taking pills like that.  About most things, I am a control freak, and pills like that render me stupid and useless -- two things I cannot abide.  So, I suppose I should just quit bitching about it.  Then again, that is part of the purpose of this blog.

My heart has been nagging me a lot lately.  It's grumpy and confused and irritated with itself and others.  I was thinking,"Wouldn't it be nice if someone made a painkiller for when your heart aches," but several drug companies do.  My cousin was on Prozac for a few years, and he said that he quit taking it because feeling the ups and downs he had before he started taking it was better than feeling absolutely nothing.  My college roommate said the same thing when her doctor suggested she take something after she lost her husband.  I realize that for some people, those drugs are necessary to function.  However, I can think of only one person I know who is on anti-depressants who doesn't look and act dead inside.  Is there such a thing as comfortably numb?   

Pain is supposed to teach us, right?  So, okay, I got the lesson.  Next time I want to see what is at the other end of the board, I should step back and look instead of leaning back and jerking my head to the left.  But, what about my heart?  That's different.  Yes, I learn from heartache, but it doesn't stop me from repeating some of the behaviors that caused it in the first place: putting myself out there, sharing (too much sometimes), caring about people I probably shouldn't, and so on.  I can't stop doing those things because if I do, I will feel nothing.  I can't abide a numb heart.

So, what's the solution?  Take the pills and surrender control, or take the time to relax so the pain eases and goes away on its own?  I guess I'll wait a few more days and see.       

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