A few weeks before Christmas, I felt my shoulder pop. Within days, it began to constrict. No rhyme nor reason. It was back. Simple as that. My shoulder was freezing again. At the same time, things in my personal life – home life, family life, outside-of-work life – were changing enough that words began surfacing slowly, too, as if my range of mental motion were constricting at the same time.
I was in the frenzy of preparing for our Christmas trip to California – polishing off presents, planning my outfit, placing my day job in a holding pattern and tying up loose ends. I had no time for physical therapy. I would wait. After all, I remembered a few of my stretches from two years ago. That would have to be good enough …
… it would be good enough. I did them exactly three times in fourteen days.
My shoulder began to throb.
Not just when I twisted in an awkward way. Not just when I reached back to push myself forward on a chair, or when I reached overhead to catch something heavy that was falling, or when I put on my coat. Or my belt. No. By the time we returned home from California, there wasn’t a moment of the day when I could ignore this new incarnation of my body’s betrayal. Not one moment. Neither waking nor sleeping. I was perpetually, uncomfortably aware that something needed to be done. But what? I didn’t have time to do a thing.
From my very serious research (thank you, Google), I knew to expect a solid two-to-three years before my shoulder thawed, and I didn’t want to pop any pills, which meant it was time (past time) to get serious about stretching.
In January, I began. Truly. Stretching. Ten minutes every morning, ten minutes every night. But I needed more time each day, more stretches, more… something. Stretching for twenty minutes was not enough. Even if I wanted it to be.
Still, my words came slowly, stilted. I tried not to say what was going on. I didn’t want to be THAT lady, the one who always complains.
All things are connected, my wise friends say.
Denial. Constricts a person.
I returned home from a work trip – speeding through my improvised stretches one morning, skipping them that night, shortening my routine again the morning after – and all the muscles up and down my arm went haywire, going into mild spasms for a full day.
Protesting my neglect? Pretty hard to see it any other way.
I called the doctor, made an appointment. I’ll see her next week. She will refer me to a physical therapist, who will make some adjustments and teach me new stretches.
Maybe as my shoulder thaws, my words will, too.
If I make some adjustments. If I stretch in new ways. If I skip the attempted shortcuts and dive right in.