Friday, May 31, 2013

Revenge of the Big Brother (how toddlers and babies help illustrate pain)

Once I explained the chronic left arm pain like this: imagine a small child who randomly taps you on the arm.  You ask the child what it wants, and the child says, "Nothing."  Repeat.  Ad Nauseum.  For years.  It's exhausting. 

For years, this pain was the ascendant one.  But recently, there's a new pain on the block, one that has been growing up until it takes up more of my attention.  I took it to the doctor, and it turns out that it's complications from a college racquetball dislocation injury.  For months, I've been babying it, using my left arm more than usual to give some rest to my right.  

I was sort of exasperatedly thinking of my left arm pain as the older brother in the pain family.  When a new baby comes, the parents and all the adults have to pay attention to it because it's loud and demanding.  And the older siblings have to put up with it.  They have to be good big brothers and sisters and protect the baby.   And my left arm has been behaving.  Surprisingly well.   Like a good big brother.

There usually comes a time, though, when the older sibling (especially if said sibling is a preschooler) has enough and snaps and throws a tantrum and demands attention in all manner of ways.  Last week, big brother pain snapped.  And how.

I felt it coming on for a couple of days; the signs aren't subtle at all, not surprising.  I tried to put some more weight on the right shoulder, but that only delays the reckoning.  It hit when I was trying to close the trunk after work.  Holy cow.  And then the next day at work.  Wow.  Stabbing, breathtaking, whiteout pain that just stops you cold in your tracks.

Not that I could really hold this attack against it.  I mean, it really was being a trooper of a big brother for a while there.  Maybe for long enough that I've started getting the maverick younger brother right shoulder under control.  We can hope.  We'll see.

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