Wednesday, November 16, 2016

My Nerves Have Expired

Attention young people: You’re screwed.

No, this is not another column about the election. No one wants that. This is about getting old. No one wants that either, but like this last election, apparently we can’t avoid it.

Depending on your age, you may hear “getting old” and think about mortgages, or having loud, snot-covered children, or being forced to drive a minivan. There must be some sort of federal law or something requiring it, right? Why else would people drive minivans? No one would do that voluntarily, right?

You have a point about the minivans, but those things are not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about joints. No, not that kind of joint, California voters. I told you this wasn’t about the election. Try to focus, you bunch of stoners. I’m talking about knees and shoulders.

If you are still in your twenties or early thirties you never think about your joints, because you are still made of rubber and steel. If you are in the vicinity of forty, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Forty years old is the exact warranty expiration date on the human body. Things just give up. Things just quit working. Some parts can be fixed with a tiny pill, but those little Advils don’t work on everything. Wait... what did you think I was talking about? Oh, you! Never mind that, I want to talk about shoulders.

A few months ago while coaching baseball, my forty-four-year-old arm threw a ball high into the air to a waiting little-leaguer in the outfield. Unfortunately, it was the first baseball I had thrown that day. That was a huge mistake. When your arm is past its expiration date like mine is, you are required to swing it around a little and stretch it for anywhere from a couple of minutes to a day and a half before trying something crazy like throwing a ball.

I immediately felt a twinge in my shoulder and heard the distinct ‘pop’ of physics colliding with old age in my rotator cuff. I did not find it the least bit humerus.

Now, if I were a forty-four-year-old woman, I would have simply stopped throwing baseballs. But since I am a forty-four-year-old man, I said to myself, “No problem, I’ll just swing my arm around a few times before I throw fifty more baseballs to these kids.”    

I spent the next month not being able to throw a baseball at all while my expired tendons and muscles, bathed in two hundred thousand milligrams of ibuprofen, struggled to repair themselves. When I was in college I could have broken my leg in the morning and it would have healed by dinnertime.

Since I knew exactly what caused the injury, I never bothered to see a doctor or do any research. I just washed some more Advil down with a beer that I opened left-handed. Eventually it healed up and I was once again in prime shape. Fast forward to this past Thursday when I woke up with the same shoulder aching.

Thursday morning: Ouch. My shoulder aches.
Thursday afternoon: Man, this is getting worse.
Thursday evening: I can no longer use my right arm for anything useful.
Thursday night: I’m going to take a thousand milligrams of Advil and try to sleep.
Late Thursday night/Early Friday morning: [awake] Ow!
Friday morning: I can’t do anything except hold my arm against my body. Someone please soap me.

What did I do to my arm? I can’t for the life of me remember any baseball throwing, aggressive gardening, making a bed, grocery bag lifting, or any of the other diabolical activities that take down us old people. I didn’t do anything! Why does my arm hurt so bad?!?

There was only one thing to do. What every old person with an unexplained pain and a computer does - go to WebMD.

Oh, great. Frozen Shoulder. Starts from under use or over use. I’ve done both. Comes on after an injury. Check. Due to scar tissue. I’m sure I have some of that.

The really good news - Takes a year to heal. Super, I’m going to need to hire an assistant to wipe my butt. How much do you have to pay that person per hour? Try not to think about it.

Friday afternoon: My left arm is stuck in the steering wheel trying to get the keys in the ignition.
Friday night: I yearn for the sweet release of death.
Late Friday night/Early Saturday morning: [awake] Ow!
Saturday morning: Hmm... I think the beer and Advil are working. Feels slightly better this morning.
Saturday afternoon: The pain is going away really fast. It almost feels good now.
Saturday evening: It’s like it never happened. My arm is perfect.

I have completely conquered frozen shoulder! One year, my patootie. Try one DAY! I’m like Superman!

Hmm... Superman might be a stretch. Maybe I should check back on WebMD. Hmm... Pinched Nerve. That’s a new one. Symptoms sure do line right up, though.

So, I pinched a nerve in my shoulder Wednesday night. That’s just great. Superman apparently hurt himself while sleeping.

I’m telling you, young people, you’re screwed. My advice to you – buy stock in Advil. And enjoy your bodies while they still work!

I would say enjoy your joints, but I don’t want you California voters to get the wrong idea.

See you soon,


Copyright © 2016 Marc Schmatjen

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