10 April 2007

Getting to me where it hurts

I have tendinitis in my left shoulder which has been uncomfortable and inconvenient but hadn't really messed up my life until now. I mean, one can sleep only on one's right side and if I can't really lift my left arm well enough to completely shave under there, well I can't lift it well enough for anyone to see that, so it works out, right?

My wonderful pal John, the Grumpy Gecko, diagnosed the tendinitis for me. I can completely recommend having at least one friend who has banged, bruised, scraped, and cracked himself into walking reference material for injuries because I had no clue what was wrong with me and John told me after asking about three questions. And no co-pay, either. So after I got the informal diagnosis, I went in to see my GP and get the co-pay diagnosis. He agreed with John's assessment, suggested that I take Advil with every meal for a while, and wrote me a 'scrip for the 600 mg pills. (Drugstore Advil comes in 200 mg pills.) He also gave me a sheet of exercises to do and suggested a follow-up in 30 days.

30 days later .....

"So, Doctor, that Advil thing?"
"When's it supposed to work?"
"Your shoulder still hurts?"

And I leave with a 'scrip for Vicodin, a referral for an MRI to check for soft tissue damage, and the following thought in my head: "Vicodin! Jeepers! That's what cranky Dr. House is addicted to! Agh!"

I fill the 'scrip and largely leave the pills in the medicine cabinet because they scare me. And because my mother used to counsel the opiate addicted and I remember exactly how much fun hanging around her office was. And because Mom says that my family has "addictive personalities." So it took me two weeks to fill the 'scrip and I've only taken three of the pills since.

The MRI showed no soft tissue damage and if I have "frozen shoulder" it can possibly work itself out over the course of the next 2 - 24 months (oh joy) without requiring a surgical intervention.

Things have gotten better. I can unhook my own bra without wanting to cry and if someone bumps into me I don't gasp, turn pale, and bite my lip for a minute. At least not as often.

So, basically, just another in my continuing adventures. Except that things have now taken a brutal turn. I was seeing a show the other day and at the end learned that it now hurts to applaud. And I see a lot of shows, so applauding is my most consistent exercise.

Fortunately, Brett has come to the rescue. Instead of pills or surgery or anything, he suggests that I simply cease applauding. And to cover, he suggests that instead of sitting up front and looking cheerful and engaged, I sit in the back and appear to be filled with ennui. Smoking clove cigarettes and wearing a lot of black - maybe even a beret - wouldn't hurt either, he says.

Fortunately, I know enough people who already act this way - which I had never before regarded as a good thing - that the learning curve should be no problem. Unfortunately, I doubt that I will completely master the scornful-yet-blasé comment or the openly rude one:

"I saw your show yesterday."
"Oh, how nice. I hope you enjoyed it."*
"Eh, it was children's theater."

Guess who's going to be getting a clove cigarette extinguished in his food sometime soon?

And, of course, I'm scheduled to see several friends shows in the next few weeks, but I hope that all those folks will remember that when I see their shows that even if I'm practically a goth college student on the outside, I'm smiling and applauding on the inside.

*"I hope you enjoyed it" doesn't actually require an answer, as it is a pleasantry, not an interrogative. Changing the subject works just fine if the truthful answer is "no, not really."


Maureen said...

Can't applaud?!? That's gotta be painful!

Any chance my show is one of those you won't be able to applaud for? ;)

Liza said...

Sorry about your shoulder! It sounds awful. Is there anything else you can do for it???

The very tiny number of shows that I've seen and hated, I've still managed to come up with *something* nice to say. Or at least something non-dismissive, like, "what an interesting character" or at the Bard-A-Thon, "It looks like you were having a lot of fun."

(Only go to the Bard-A-Thon if you participate in the fundraising, and hence the reading. On-book, unrehearsed Shakespeare by beginning acting students is actually too painful to sit and watch. Learn from my experience.)

Leta said...

Oh, Liza, be careful - the secret is out about "It looks like you were having a lot of fun." :-) I have my own list of pleasantries for shows that I didn't love, but, of course, I can't share them!

And, Maureen, I will find a way to applaud, but if I applaud and frown at the same time, discount the frown and keep the applause.