Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Incident

I love my new chiropractor.  Nadina worked on my shoulder and neck for nearly two hours this week.  This has been an ongoing process since the “incident” in June 2011.  It was our 25th wedding anniversary and Jeff and I had booked a room at the oh-so-spectacular Central Park Bed & Breakfast in Old Louisville.  We had gotten a suite which included a Jacuzzi built for two and I was toting high performance bubble bath.  After the water covered the jets, I turned on the magic.  The water was the perfect temperature for me, but I knew that I better cool it down for Jeff.  He thinks that carrots and onions should be added to my boiling hot baths.  Maybe he’s right. I had to reach for the towel covering the step and wipe the sweat off my forehead.  It was already wet, so I rolled up the towel and put it behind my neck.  The bubbles were about three feet above my head and I thought it would be a funny sight when Jeff finally walked in.   I leaned back and remember thinking, “Man, I love this place.”  Upon arrival, the inn proprietors, Bob and Eva, had a bottle of champagne chilling in the turn of the century vintage silver ice bucket.    Vacationing in that house is like stepping through a portal and entering the Age of Innocence. The house is completely furnished with Victorian-era antiques, chandeliers, and decorations, except for the three items which are a must for all paying guests:  flushing toilets, a whirlpool tub, and a TV.  I was in my element.  I looked for my bag-o-essentials (shampoo, facial cleanser, razor, etc..), which I normally place on the tub when I’m unpacking.   Crap.  It’s on the sink.  Did I wait for Jeff, who was sure to walk in within minutes?  Nope. I decided to step out and get it myself.  Yep. I’m brilliant.    Next, I remember my foot hitting the slick ceramic tiled step like one of the three stooges on a banana peel…only naked covered in bubbles!  Next, I actually remember being airborne and landing on my elbow.  Jeff came running when he heard the enormous thud and saw me lying on the floor, looking less than desirable curled into a bubbled ball while holding my elbow.  He kept shouting something, kind of like he did when I was in labor with our children:  “Are you ok?” “Breathe!”  I don’t remember.  I just know that when I’m in enormous pain, I can’t talk or breathe.  I thought I had broken my arm or possibly dislocated something.  Jeff pried my right hand from my left elbow and gasped.  “Oh my God!”  I saw what looked like my elbow about 45 degrees from where it should be.  After hours on ice, the “elbow” turned out to be a knot and this clumsy girl licked her wounds for the rest of the anniversary weekend.  Jeff, as always, took care of me and nursed me back to health.  Well, almost.
Since that day, about 25 months ago, my shoulder/neck/elbow haven't been the same.  I should have had an x-ray back then, but I kept thinking it would get better.  Over the past several months, the pain has kept me from sleeping.  Nadina would do intense massage therapy, but it would only help for a day or two. She said, “Your shoulder is out and you need to go to Dr. Meridith, a chiropractor in Ashland.”  I called them today and told them I was having surgery Friday.  I told the receptionist about my upcoming lumpectomy and that I knew my current arm/shoulder/neck pain would be even more intolerable after my surgery on the same side.  They squeezed me in their schedule and treated me like royalty.  Cindy, one of the therapists, a blonde lady with sparkling white teeth, shared a story (with a happy ending) about her friend who has battled breast cancer.  She also told me I look like Sandra Bullock, so of course I loved her instantly. She hooked me up to an electrotherapy unit (Tens, I think it’s called) and placed an iced pack on my shoulders. I said, “If I forget to tell you, I had a good time.”  She said she loved anyone who quoted Pretty Woman…or Steel Magnolias.  “”If you can’t say anything nice about anybody….come sit by me,” I said in my best southern drawl.  She said, “Are you on Facebook?” I smiled because I knew I had made another friend.    I don’t know if it was because of… or in spite of …the cancer, but I only knew that I felt very much at home in this office.  After Dr. Meredith had me complete about six pages of questions about my particular pain, he took a few x-rays.  Given the radiation my body has recently endured, he took the fewest possible (three instead of six).   I wasn’t too surprised when he showed me the film.  My left shoulder was out of socket, and my neck was curving in the wrong direction.  After a few adjustments, I felt some relief of pressure on my shoulder. I know that, during surgery, my arm will be in a position which would be agonizing if I were awake.  What happens when the anesthesia wears off?

 Dr. Meredith said, “Can I ask you a personal question?”  Now…this one always surprises me. Whenever someone asks me that, I imagine incredibly intrusive questions about my sex life or my weight.  “Do you believe in the power of prayer?”  Whew.  “Absolutely!”  I said.  “Would you mind if we prayed together?”  I wish I could remember his prayer verbatim.  All I know is this wasn’t his first prayer rodeo.  Among many other perfect requests, he asked for guidance and a skilled hand by the surgeon, clear lymph nodes, and quick healing.  I was a puddle of tears and snot by the time the prayer was over.  I cried most of the 80 minute drive home, thinking about the friends I’ve made and the acts of kindness which seem to multiply each day. 
Central Park B&B, Louisville

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