November 1st, 2003

Roadkill

Shouldering the Load

My relationship with my right shoulder has been a contentious one for a very long time now. When I was twelve I fell through a trap door at the local corner store, bounced off the stairs therein, and landed on my shoulder, breaking my shoulder blade in the process. The shoulder has never forgiven me for that piece of stupidity. Fast forward ten years to about three weeks after I got married when, after not having picked up a ball in a couple of years, and without warming up my arm at all, I had Bobby Rohe hit me fungoes for an hour, with me ignorantly throwing every single one back from the outfield to the plate as hard as I possibly could, stretching all the tendons surrounding the joint right up to their breaking point. I spent the rest of the night trying to make the fire in my shoulder go away while Deb fussed over me, presumably getting her first inkling that she may have just married an idiot. The pain was such that I never was able to fall asleep that night.

Over the years, the shoulder and I would have good years and bad. Some summers I would be able to work it up to speed with no problems, and would have the luxury of a softball season where I could throw as much and as hard as I wanted to with no pain. In others, the tendonitis would flare, and I'd spend the season short-arming the ball, protecting the shoulder, throwing full out only when absolutely necessary. Mind, the pain levels never approached that one night. I'd make a throw, there be a few moments of sharp pain which would then subside rapidly, and the shoulder would be sore the next day. Made playing shortstop a bitch, but c'est la vie.

Volleyball added another degree of aggravation to the stress of the overhand motion of the shoulder — impact. The tendonitis is now pretty much permanent during volleyball season, so much so that I don't even bother serving overhand anymore. Still, it has always been manageable, at least until the night before last. At one point, a player on the other team dinked the ball over me, and I twisted and stretched out my arm awkwardly, trying to get a finger on the ball as it went behind me. And I did! I was able get tap it up just enough for one of my teammates to get to it and return it. But I felt something pull in the shoulder, and there was *a lot* of pain. Fortunately, I rotated off the court on the next side-out, so I was able to let the pain subside. And it did a bit, not all the way like it normally would, just enough to let me continue playing (we played one more game after that).

Afterwards, I iced it, took aspirin, then went to bed. I was able to get to sleep, but the shoulder stiffened up during the night, and the pain from that finally woke me up early in the morning. Took a hot shower, and aimed the shower massager at it for awhile, which helped a lot. It was painful all day yesterday, and I continued with the aspirin. This morning it had again stiffened overnight, but not nearly so bad as yesterday.

So, it's behaving exactly the the same as my ankles do whenever I sprain one of them. That's new and different. I have no experience with a shoulder sprain, so I have no idea how long it will take to heal. And unlike an ankle, there's no way to wrap it to give it support until it does heal. Bother. Will just have to see how it feels Thursday night, I guess.

In other news, I handed out treats to thirty-four trick-or-treaters last night. Then I watched The Nightmare Before Christmas. Today I'm taking a ride down to Jersey to see the parentals (it's mom's birthday). Not sure if I'm staying over or what.
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