Life: My Aches and Pains

seen-better-days Have you noticed, when you lay down for a nap, or settle into a comfortable position as you’re willing yourself to fall asleep – that moment when your body begins to quiet and your breathing evens out, grows shallow, gets comfortable, when your heart slows and beats a comfortable staccato against your breastbone, how many nerve endings quiver and jump?

I’ve been noticing it more and more. It seems my body is beginning to protest more and more the older I get. Luckily, the various body parts that occasionally give me problems tend to play nicely with one another – one part will flare up while the others grow quiet and wait their turn. My aches and pains rarely flare up all at once – my pain is considerate of my tolerance level.

I have a high pain threshold. I can take a lot before I reach the point of going crazy or crying uncle and see a doctor. I do not have a primary care physician because I’m rarely sick. If I ever reach the level of going to see an urgent care doctor, it’s serious. I try very hard to control my body, not the other way around.

I realize that I’m blessed with good health. This fact has never been more apparent than it has been since I started working in healthcare. My problems are minuscule, almost non-existent, compared to others whose bodies have completely betrayed them.

Nothing warms my heart more than helping a patient be able to walk relatively pain free, to come in for their post-op appointment looking 110% better than they did before surgery. It’s satisfying and it makes me very proud and honored to work for miracle workers.

I have predictable aches and pains – my biggest issues are:

Sinuses/Headaches – but I have that under control with Sudafed products and migraine medication. I can tell what sort of issue I’m having based on where my headache originates. If it’s in the temples, it’s caffeine withdrawal. If my nose feels like someone has a pair of vice grips on it and is squeezing, it’s sinuses (and this usually corresponds with the barometric pressure).

Low back – I started having low back problems shortly after falling off a 6 ft ladder when I worked for Wendys and tried to stand on the very top to change the marquee. I landed on my low back, knocking the wind out of me and bruising my kidneys. I have a permanent bump around my coccyx (tailbone) area. Kevin calls it my “tail.” I suspect, though this has never been confirmed with testing, that the tissues did not heal correctly in that area and whenever I get really stressed or really lazy, the muscles around my coccyx will swell and tighten thereby decreasing my blood flow in that area. It hurts to straighten up and walk. I have found that Ibuprofen and heat works really well at massaging those knots out. (Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory and works to reduce swelling). I now know to do stretches, squats and to walk whenever my low back starts to feel tight.

My vagina feels like it’s falling out – I know. I’m sorry. But I’m just keepin’ it real. At first, I thought maybe my pelvic muscles were getting weak. Which, they might be because your muscles do get weaker as you get older. And I did have a large bowel resection (my large intestine had a few twists in it that required three feet of it to be surgically removed). As a result, I’ve been doing squats and reverse sit-ups to counteract that possibility. I don’t really know how to describe this feeling. Whatever is happening, it puts pressure on my bladder and I have to pee a million times. It’s not a UTI, it’s just an overwhelming urge to pee. I’ve really been paying attention to what I’ve been eating and when it happens. I think I’m eating too much fiber. I make two scrambled eggs, toast, orange juice and one fiber bar for my breakfast in the morning. Sometimes, instead of eggs, I eat a bowl of oatmeal. I force myself to eat a heavy breakfast in case I don’t get to eat lunch and I’m not dying of hunger later. I then eat another fiber bar mid-morning to take the edge off my hunger. You can imagine what happens when I get home from work. Since I’ve been trying to cut back on the amount of food I’m eating, I’m wondering if all the fibrous foods I’m eating is putting pressure on my intestines and since I’m not eating that much food, there’s nothing to “squeeze” out? And the pressure on my intestines is putting pressure on my bladder? I have no idea if this is what’s going on, but I’m going to experiment in the next few days and test my theory.

My left (dominant) arm is weak and hurts – This pain started a few weeks after my flu shot. (*SIGH*) I have VERY STRONG FEELINGS AGAINST THE FLU SHOT but if I want to keep my job, I’m required to get the damn thing every year. I think the girl who gave me my flu shot this year did it wrong. I think she gave it to me too far up my upper arm. I never felt a thing. I didn’t feel the prick when she stuck me or any burning after the poison was injected. I did a little research and that’s actually not a good thing – to not feel anything. I’ve had forearm and elbow achy pain ever since. I almost went to the doctor the pain was so bad – it was keeping me up at night. However, after doing a little research, I began to ice it (which really helps), put a heating pad on it, (which hurts like hell the next day but then evens out and doesn’t hurt at all for several days after that), and took Ibuprofen, which really, really helps (which leads me to believe that I have some inflammation going on in there) but Ibuprofen is not good for your liver, so I only take it when the pain gets unbearable. I also have pain in the palm of my left hand, too. This pain is aggravated by typing so I wonder about carpal tunnel, though I don’t have numbness in my fingers. The pain does seem to be getting better, so maybe it’s just muscle strain. I haven’t given up trying to control it on my own yet and have no plans on going to the doctor for it at this time.

And that’s about it. That’s the extent of my aches and pains. This may sound like a lot to some but it’s really nothing compared to many people. I rarely come down with colds and I honestly can’t remember the last time I came down with a cold. (And no, it’s not because I take the damn flu shot – I wasn’t sick for years before the stupid thing). Whenever I start to feel icky, I suck on a Zicam, use nose spray and burn the back of my throat (which burns off any lingering bacteria – and yes, I know it sounds crazy but I SWEAR it really helps).

All of this to document how little discomfort I have now. I’m curious to see if and/or when this changes as I get older. I think the key to staying on top of aches and pain is to keep moving and that’s exactly what I plan on doing – staying busy and physically moving.