Injuries Journal Part I

jonbland spine

Artwork by Jon Bland.

I’ve decided to keep a series of journal entries for the next few days, possibly weeks, to record how well my body is healing and to help decide if it’s time to go to the doctor or not. About a week ago, I injured myself carrying my backpack from work to home. The condition, I believe, is a pinched nerve. I’ve done my research and the symptoms match it far, far too well.

The vertebrae, being the key to the central nervous system, is incredibly complex, although that complexity reduces the further down the back you go. Among my symptoms include a bit of pain at the base of my head and spine, fatigue in my legs and sometimes my arms, minor carpal tunnel syndrome and cold flesh at my neck. The spot in question is definitely on my cervical vertebrae.

The worst problems are two fold: first, the nerve endings in my throat are convinced that almost anything I swallow is cold, resulting in persistent brain freeze. Second, muscles connecting my esophagus to my spine keep clenching whenever I eat. This caused acid reflux and heart burn. Eating can be quite an ordeal.

The good news is that there seems to be definite signs of improvement. The first few days, I had trouble getting to sleep because of the pain. Now, I can get 8 or 9 hours uninterrupted. I’ve been taking ibuprofen for anti-inflammation, aspirin for blood thinning, using a heating pad to reduce the cold and muscle pain, and have also alternated with an ice pack to reduce any swelling. Tums for the acid reflux.

Oh, and for the pain… I am now a proud initiate of the Tiger Balm cult.

I’ve been encouraged to go to the doctor’s office but two things hold me back. First, it’s a cost I don’t need right now to find out two, that as a pinched nerve, they recommend a conservative treatment (what I’m doing now.) At best, I could probably receive some muscle relaxants and something for the agony (which is reducing on its own) but I’d rather not bother. At the most worrying end of the spectrum, it is possible I could require surgery to repair the damage… but I don’t think my current physicians is particularly scalpel-happy.

Today, I made myself a breakfast of bacon, coffee and some egg creation of mozzarella cheese and sauerkraut with spices. Went down alright with minimal brain freeze and almost no clenching, both very good signs. But, it’s very common for the problems to grow worse throughout the day. The two biggest problem foods are anything solid and hard, and cold. Particularly beverages. That hot coffee makes everything easier.

One interesting thing that happened yesterday night while a few coworkers and I were playing Cards Against Humanity. I had quite a few shots of Fireball, a cinnamon whiskey served room temperature. (Amusing note: I remember my coworkers disdain at Fireball until last CAH night, when they kept wanting more shots after trying it.) It was only after I got home that I remembered that Sarah made a bowl of popcorn, and I ate it without feeling any discomfort whatsoever. This might be a solution at the next dinner with friends, where I could carry a flask of Fireball and chug it as not to feel the pain when I eat. Until then, I’m going to conserve what I have for later.

Today I’m taking a day off of work to stay on my back (sans sex) as much as possible. I’ve hooked up my PC to run off the big screen television with zoomed in text for easy reading. (Tip: hold CTRL and use the mouse zoom button. I recommend it while web browsing to ease strain on the eyes, dear readers.) I made a deal with myself that if there is no improvement by tomorrow, I would schedule a doctor’s appointment.

We’ll see what happens… going to get back to wrapping up this novel I’m writing. And will post another update tonight after dinner. Later chummers.

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