Warning: Boring, whiny, self-indulgent post ahead.
I mentioned briefly in my last post that I had sustained a “small” injury. Well, it was small in terms of the actual body part injured, but since that body part seems to be rubbing up against a nerve ending, it turns out to be large in terms of pain, which is getting worse instead of better.
Hence, this post. Those that know me well know that I have a very hard time asking for help, so the fact that I’m writing this is some measure of my desperation. At the risk of boring you to tears, I thought I’d fling this into cyberspace and see what comes back. Hopefully, this will be my first and last post seeking free medical advice.
The way it happened is almost comic. My brother and his wife had come to visit and were taking their leave. We were out on the porch taking last-minute pictures and giving big hugs in the way of long, long goodbyes that Southerners are prone to. Janet and I were giving each other a big, ole bear hug, when I felt something go Thwack in my chest. It felt sort of like a fan belt broke loose—it hit my chest with that much force.
In fact, Janet felt it too and jumped back. I clutched my chest in amazement. She looked so stricken that my first words were to reassure her that it was nothing she had done. Then I thought, “What in the hell was that?”
It did hurt, but mainly when I breathed deeply—at first. And, no, the Thwack was not the sound like a rib breaking would make. It was more of a big Snap against my chest, like a giant rubber band.
Here’s where I tell you that I have a well-earned aversion to doctors. Except for when I clearly have a raging infection that only antibiotics will cure, I always take the Wait-and-See approach. Our bodies have wondrous self-healing properties.
But now I’m hurting more than I did at first. I am even considering taking the ancient Darvocet I found in our cabinet. And I’m real stoical about pain. (Endured long and difficult labors with natural childbirth without so much as a Tylenol or cuss word—twice). But it hurts when I bend over, it hurts when I breathe, it hurts when I push or pull with my left arm, and it hurts when I rise up from lying down. And not just in my chest. Because of the compressed nerve, I think, it hurts both in my back and in my shoulder. It’s sort of like someone keeps running me through with a sword.
So I did Internet research and finally came up with a pretty certain diagnosis—I have “slipping rib syndrome.” I know, it sounds kind of silly, but that’s what they call it. Apparently, one or two of my ribs have pulled away from the ligaments that usually hold them in place and the cartilage tip of the ribs are slipping upward and impinging on the intercostal nerves. So my ribs are literally getting on my nerves.
I believe this is the result of a long-ago injury to my chest and rib area when I was taking care of my Mama. She had Lou Gehrig’s Disease and was in a wheelchair. I often had to lift her when other measures weren’t effective. She weighed about 160 pounds, and I recall feeling something tear in my chest and hurt afterwards once when I lifted her. So I think the seeds were sown then for this injury, and the chickens have come home to roost. (Is that a mixed metaphor, or what?!)
Anyway, the purpose of this long and dull post is to find out if anybody out there has any clue what I should do to hasten the healing and ease the pain. (If you’re still awake and reading, that is). I’ve been taking the maximum Excedrin, as well as Valerian to relax my muscles and Glucosamine and Chondroitin to build up cartilage and connective tissue. And when I am able to do so, I’ve been applying heat to the area.
Please forgive me for whining. And for one of the worst mixed metaphors ever in the history of blogging. Apparently, being unable to breathe deeply has starved my brain of oxygen. But I know you understand.