Thursday, February 05, 2009


It started in my neck this time. I opened my eyes Tuesday morning, feeling refreshed after after a fairly good night's sleep but when I tried to get up properly I found the entire area from my neck down to just above the small of my back constricted. You know the way you get a crick in your neck from sleeping badly? That kind of thing but more intense than I'm familiar or comfortable with.

It started the usual-for-me way. It woke up while I slept, disturbed perhaps by the deepness of breath indicating an unusually sound night. It donned its shiny black suit of spasms with black cape of cramps, regarded the weakened bars of the Nurofen prison I had restricted it to, took advantage of the sleeping guards and slipped out, finding a new way to announce its arrival, causing all sorts of strange dreams as it rattled around my hypothalamus, coaxing sweet endorphins from my pituitary as the body tried to ease the effects of its passage. Remember that robot cleaning up after Wall-E in the space station? That's what these hormones were trying to do for me. Clean up the pain mess. No wonder I was dreaming of a certain someone.

It's a sneaky bastard. Despite several warnings, despite wanted posters as big as billboards being stuck up around the place and a strongly worded personal memo to each member of the neck-and-shoulder-blade department with both instructions on how to repel said discomfort and warn the others of its impending arrival, it still managed to get in there, make itself a cup of coffee in the staff room and draw others into a meeting where they decided to collude for the greater good - an option for relief from any kind of work.

"You just sit there, relaaaax, let me look after it", it has said. "He doesn't need to be typing - he's done enough this year. Don't worry about it, he'll be graaaaaand."

First a painstaking visit to convert the shoulders, then on to insinuating itself with the upper arms, then a brief sojourn in the wrists before it continues its grand tour of the body. Aches and cramps more than stabbing pains, but since the body is in cahoots, every action I take is a rebellion. Despite almost no exercise my body feels like it's run a five mile road race, the pain a reminder of familiar lactic acid.

The mind is screaming orders to the troops - "Resist the invasion. Do not listen to the intruder. Everything is fine, we can get through this. We have work to do. We have things to do." In vain it seems, as reports come in from various fronts of outlying regions who have fallen prey to the propaganda of pangs being spread.

The lower back, fine a few minutes ago suddenly needs the support only offered by lying on the couch. The shoulders, previously ready to lift, carry, push and pull the hoover, the sweeping brush, the boxes of books or just sort the piles of paper I have stacked in the sitting room suddenly decide to convulse, letting the brain no in no uncertain terms that the torture of doing anything productive far outweighs the benefits. I'm not allowed sit in one spot for too long, not allowed focus or concentrate on projects nearing deadlines - I'm confined to sitting, trapped, active mind, inactive body. As I said, bastard.

Every thing on the list for this week - the long list - has been put back. Things I promised to do weeks ago remain on the page where I wrote them, my mind longing to tackle them, my brain sensing in no uncertain terms that I may as well be at one end of Croker facing the All Blacks, all the Kilkenny hurling squads and, sure, for the hell of it, the Knocklyon U12s - who seem fiercesome enough at the worst of times - trying to get to the other end without being hit, knocked or collapsing in a puddle of pain. Two chances, son, two chances.

The pain is nestled currently in my left thigh. Right at the back, just above the knee. Far from dormant, it's waiting to react when I try something adventurous like stand up straight or take a few steps. It controls both legs - that's uncomfortable now, change position, okay now let's try something else. It's in collusion with my back so even lying on my stomach won't help and even a glance at the chair at my desk causes a 'hahahahha you wish' reaction, translated into simultaneous aches in the back, bum and knees.

The pins and needles that started early this morning continue their pinning and needling and the mind is now refusing to cooperate - it won't bring the words to mind, relegating this piece from a starwars-esque parody to a mish-mash of "I'm sore and it's bad". The doctor says there's nothing he can do - an appointment would be €60 to tell me to take some tablets. All the painkillers in the house have been swallowed, I need to get more but have other things to be doing than walking ALL the way to the pharmacist and ALL the way back. You know, things like complaining but not doing anything about it. Niamh calls it "moany-hole-edness".

I'm limping like a pirate, lurching around the house like Quasimodo, straining to bend over to get milk, to reach for cups, to sit still. The scent of Eucalyptus from the Deep Heat would have every Koala in the zoo reaching for me. No súgradh sa sneachta domsa. I've been barely able to get up off the couch. I've answered barely any emails, written no blog posts since Sunday and am generally feeling quite shite.

Feck it, I'm still hoping to go for a pint this evening though.


  1. Don't you be stealing my words Doyler. I lay claim to moanyholedness :D

    relegating this piece from a starwars-esque parody to a mish-mash of "I'm sore and it's bad"

    I'm thanking God for small mercies. 'I'm sore and it's bad' would have been almost enough. That and the fact that you've been walking round like Dinny Byrne on a bad day.

    If you can make it to the pub you can make it to the pharmacy. FACT.

  2. Effing hell - when did Blogger get proper comment boxes??

    Anyway, reason I'm here is to say that when you do get out to the pharmacy, get yourself one of these: Pop in it in the microwave for 2.5 mins, along with a mug half full of cold water (helps prolong the life of the pack). Then apply to sore areas and relax (best you can).

    Much better than a hot water bottle as it will mould to the required shape.

  3. If your in town tonight for that pint, I'll buy ya one (possibly two). :)

  4. If your in town tonight for that pint, I'll hit ya twice (possibly three times). :P

  5. Good luck getting to the pint---it sounds like you need it! The only thing that can soothe me is a boiling-hot bath, but after that's finished I'm good for nothing and go to sleep...after which the pain is back. You and I should move to someplace warm and sunny, and we can lie in sun-drenched hammocks ...surely that would make the aches and soreness easier to bear? Ah well---I hope you're feeling and moving better very soon!

  6. That Elly wan has not visited much, has she? ;)


    I have one of those wheat packs, it has spent most of this week across my shoulders. I recommend them.

  7. Niamh: You have all the rights and associated things to moanyholedness. In fact you quite epitomise it most mornings.

    As for the length of the piece, you know me and complaints. I just go on and on and on and on.

    Made it to the pharmacy!

    Elly: About a couple of months ago me thinks. Cheers for recommendation on wheat bag - Blanch didn't have any so will get me sister to have a look.

    Anto: Grand job.

    David: You know I love how you hit me.

    Susan: Congrats on the longlisting! I think the pint might sort me alright. I might try the bath thing when I'm back, depending on what condition I'm in.

    When shall we go? I can think of a couple of places. Shall we bring a few friends with us?

    Grannymar: Ah she's grand. I haven't had much to visit!

    Thanks for the hugs! I'll get that wheat pack this week :)

  8. as much as i know it hurts, i had to laugh at this post. you're an amazing human being - being able to laugh despite it all. that in of itself is good medicine. try not to forget that when it gets bad.

    if i were local, i'd come over and make you a decent dinner in a big pot and freeze half of it so you'd always be fed well. (mind you - cant remember if you live with parents or were only visiting? in which case you 'do' get decent dinners ;) )

  9. Donna Ah thank you! I was only visiting my folks - they live about two hours away but they'd also be one for the 'dacent bite to ate'. Meself and Niamho live together and do a fair ould job of making sure the bellies are full between us.

    Laughter is pretty much all you can do. Well. that and have a pint. I'm on my way to town now. I'll tell himself you said hello ;-)

  10. My other alf, who complains about mainly back pain uses a TENS machine, has another E something electrode thingy to try for pain, different vibrating machines (for pain/stress).She also tries different exercises/stretches to help, visits physios and takes pain killers. If she's had a couple of vodkas she stops complaining.
    Enjoy your visit to the pub!

  11. Tell your pains that we could talk it to death if that would help. :)

    Hubby has back problems and the wheat pack helps some days. Hope you feel better.