A pain in the neck: a story of a bad day

Doctor mommy is super duper unhappy today in many different ways, bodily and emotionally, for various reasons.  Last night was high on the craptastic scale as far as nights go, even though it was a decent weekend… until last night.

As parents, we he had to face the ever difficult decision of when to take your kid to the ER.  How do you toe that fine line between freaking out needlessly and being carelessly lackadaisical about your child’s health?  It was my daughter.  She’s very sunny usually and never complains or cries (Yes I do! she says, but honestly, she really doesn’t), and when she spends the whole day complaining and whining, throwing tantrums and not eating, and saying that her chest hurts, it is definitely weird.  Deciding when the weirdness is enough that you can’t wave it off or wait till Monday is hard on any mom, especially in the absence of obvious localizing symptoms, but a doctor mom has a whole other layer of complexity to the question, b/c we think we actually know stuff, even though most of us fully recognize that when it comes to our family, all common sense goes right out the window.  Plus, and I’m not sure about others, but for me, there is always the nagging “They’re gonna think I’m nuts” in the back of my brain, and also “I should really know better,” which doesn’t just apply to this situation, but to ALL situations.

This is why I sat on her all day, but when it was bedtime, and I asked her to stand up so I could put on her pajamas, and she wouldn’t straighten up, and cried hysterically, hunched over like an old lady  – that was the straw that broke the camel’s back (or neck, in my case, more on that later).  My hunch had been that this was something musculoskeletal, like a costochondritis or a pulled muscle, but what the heck do I know about 4 year olds?  Nothing, that’s what.  Then I remembered learning in pediatrics that if a reasonable mom is worried, you must listen to her. I like to think I’m at the very least reasonable.  So, hubby scooped her up and took her in.

She screamed all the way out to the car, and the 7 year old and I could still hear it in our heads for hours after; he even told me so: “I keep hearing her screaming, and thinking she’s back.”  Her brother was super worried and nervous, and asking if they’re going to open her chest: “If they open her chest, I’m just gonna be like omigod :-o,” he said, and I’m putting an emoji in there b/c he made a facial expression, and I don’t know how else to transmit that in writing.

They came back at midnight after a normal xray and a few hefty doses of motrin, and turns out I was right: it was a musculoskeletal thing, but I stand by my decision, and I think this only confirms the fact that I am reasonable, and that if I was worried, it was right to send her in.

So, she’s totally fine today, but me, I’m all screwed.

You see, I’ve been having neck pain, which you know, who doesn’t, amirite, but it’s been going on for over a year, and despite my ongoing simultaneous intimate relationships with a chiropractor, a masseusse, and a personal trainer who’s been working my core, it’s not resolving.  So, I finally got an MRI and this showed “mild” disk issues, which I supposed is good news, but I feel like “mild” is open for interpretation symptom-wise, or at least highly subjective.  I got sent to PT, where this 25 year old what I can only describe as kid, and I do feel very old saying that, but this kid recommends some random stretches and exercises to me, who’s sitting there all skeptical b/c I don’t even think PT ever works, and I am totally going to be one of those people with “NECK ISSUES” for ever and ever, taking my celebrex by the handful and using a cane.  This is after he tells me that people my age, after 40… and I know you’re 39, he adds… but… same thing… (side eye emoji)…

Anyway, I’ve been having neck spasms, and was actually doing ok, until I lay on the couch last night with the kids to watch a movie, and got up with a little kink.  I decided to be good and do my exercises as recommended, and even “dig into” my neck with the torture device otherwise known as The Back Buddy, and all I accomplished is pissing off my already pissed off muscles.  So, I spent 4 hours between 8 and 12, vasovagal huddling with my son worried about my daughter while “digging into” my neck muscles with a plastic cattle prod, and when I finally got into bed with her at midnight, I then proceeded to wake up yelping in pain like a little chihuahua literally every time I tried to shift in bed, approximately q 1 hour.

Then, I got up in the morning, and actually got ready, washed my hair and made coffee to go, put on scrubs and a hoodie and went to work.  By the way, driving while your neck is in spasm is a terrible undertaking: you can’t look over your shoulder, at least not comfortably, and certainly not on a whim; it takes planning and involves turning your entire body, so you better hope that you don’t have to make any sudden movements.

When I got to work, the nurses lovingly told me that I look like shit, and one of my partners asked me “what kind of attire is this,” and when I pointed out that they were black scrub pants, said, “Well, you look like you’re half asleep.”  He wasn’t wrong: I was half asleep, so if I gave this partner side eye, it wasn’t because I was mad that he didn’t like my outfit (ironically, while wearing a scrub top and chinos), it was also because I couldn’t turn my fucking head to give him a good head on glare.  To be fair, the black cargo scrubs and hoodie are confusing because to the naked eye not trained to recognize scrubs, it all just looks like an especially schlubby outfit.

Then, no sooner did I get home, than I started getting pages – turns out, I am on call, lo and behold, and I forgot.  Dare I say it without angering the gods? I hope people chew their food tonight?

Speaking of food and chewing, I also have a canker sore on my tongue that is making it very difficult for me to eat anything.

All of which brings me to the reason why I am especially unhappy right at this moment.  I am attempting to drown my sorrows in cheesecake and the damn canker sore is totally killing my enjoyment.  Wtf.

 

2 thoughts on “A pain in the neck: a story of a bad day

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