Once again, I apologize for abandoning my daily column yesterday. I awoke to a huge biting, stinging, hot the touch neckache. I almost thought I knew what Louis XVI, and Marie Antoinette went through during the French Revolution, except they sort of missed when dealing with me. Seriously, I had the ability to rotate my head about two inches each way, which caused me to try to push my eyes too far to the end of my eye sockets. Plus, in case anyone was asking, it was really painful! I mean, if I forgot for a moment that the neck was completely fouled up, and try to turn my head like a normal human, it reminded me that all I might have thought was just a wish, as sharp, big ol’ needles seemed to be jammed at the base of my head. Even the skin on the back of my head, and one side all just hurt when I touched it. I know, I know the old doctors joke: don’t touch it.
Well, I guess the specter of someone walking out of the bedroom, looking like Frankenstein’s monster with his walk, and inability to turn his head alerted my wife that something was a bit wrong. She volunteered to rub my neck and shoulders. I warily agreed. And sure enough, with her first grinding rub, I almost felt my soul leaving… the pain was shocking actually, and I have a pretty high threshold of pain, I think. As she felt me crumble like an overdone coffee cake in her hands, she stopped, and said, “Maybe I’ll just rub lightly.” As I caught my breath, I shared my agreement with her plan.
As a testament to our love, she actually worked on my neck and shoulders for a good 15 minutes, and pulled out a small vibrating hammer that Aaron got for Christmas two years ago, and hammered away on the knot and tight spots. A couple of times, I think she nearly lost me, but she did focus in on the pain spots – there were a bunch of them.
Finally, she said, “I think that’s enough for now – we don’t want to injure anything!” Her next suggestion was that I take a hot shower and let it pound on me. I normally would have rejected that plan – there is just too much involved with fans and towels and everything – but I went ahead and showered, and probably came close to emptying the water heater. It did feel pretty good, but that old neck was not the least bit interested in letting go of the death grip it had on me, which made the towel dry off a bit of an epic challenge.
I spent the next few hours sitting pretty still – what a waste of a day! – and then around mid-afternoon, Cheri asked if I still had any muscle relaxing pills left from a former time when things went a bit kerflooey. I actually did, and since they had my name on the bottle, I took the standard dose, and hoped for the best. The effect was a while in coming, but I did start to feel like the neck was loosening up a little. Of course, the other effect was that I could hardly keep my eyes open, and it only 4pm. I have to say that one of the crummiest feelings to have is that feeling like you simply have to sleep, and the world around you, including your wife on a late Sunday afternoon, is telling you that you need to stay awake, so get up and walk around expend energy… it’s just a horrible feeling, because sleep is so delicious, and exercise kind of stinks in comparison.
So – we took a walk around the house, ostensibly to see how the plants were doing, now that it was fall – even though it was in the mid-80s outside. Fine, let’s walk around the house. Except, Cheri can’t do just one thing, so as we walked, she would stop periodically and pull weeds out of one part of the garden. That meant, because there was no way I could actually bend down and pull anything, I just stood there, starting to close my eyes, until she finished the gardening, which was not in our original plan or agreement, I must state…
Well, I made it through dinner, tired and still in lots of pain, and we went downstairs to watch some TV. Sure as clockwork, at 9pm, Thor, our Siamese came down to announce it was time for Cheri to go to bed, and then bug her until she agreed. He’s a pushy cat. Anyway, at that time I was in the big recliner, which is totally cushioned and like floating on air. Cheri’s finally medical suggestion was that, since I was comfortable, to go ahead and sleep in the chair that night – which I did, after everyone else went to bed.
From 10pm to about 2:15 am, I slept like a rock. I woke up like I normally do in the middle of the night, but as I did downstairs, I was met with an entire constellation of little white lights, emitting their glow from the dozens of electronics devices that cover the wall in front of me. There was one thing more: catching my right eye with a dynamic glare was our friend, the Moon, shining particularly bright just in the corner of one of our windows. It was pretty, but it was the equivalent of a 60 watt bulb burning. You see, I couldn’t turn my head to not see it, and if I tried to shift my body, it shook its finger and said, “Ah, ah, ah! No way, Mister!”
I thought of one last option. I crawled up the stairs to our main floor, and shuffled my way to my office, which has a nice recliner as well, but faces away from the window. I grabbed a blanket off the other chair, and tried to settle my head in the right place. This was all very futile, as the arrangement had some crunch however I moved my head. One time, I actually thought I had found the position, but then Hermes, our cat who likes to be up late at night, howled in, and jumped up on the arm of the chair, with the need to be scratched and patted.
Cheri had promised to wake me at 6:15 – I was awake at 5:30, and crawled out of the chair at a quarter to six. I won’t go into it, because I know you can spell “pain,” and “tied up mess.”
As I had a cup of coffee, Cheri advised/ordered that I find a chiropractor. I did agree that I went ahead, and I have an appointment on Wednesday at 3:30. Yep – two more days away….
It is miserable when something keeps you from doing what you normally can do without a second thought. First let me say that that is perhaps a great topic for your daily prayer. What parts of your physical presence on this earth seem to run with pretty good dependability? Thank God for the good parts of your body…
Second, it’s amazing what something like a tight, aching neck can do to distract you from what God’s work is for you. We kind of get caught up in ourselves, instead of being aware of the world around us and the acts of love and kindness we are being called to take on. I have to do better to think about that over the next couple of days, instead of just thinking what a mess I am right now. We have the power every day to love, and offer justice to this entire world – God will take care of those other pains that come – they don’t own you, unless you give them the title. Have a great day, and even a stronger tomorrow.
Prayer for the day: Psalm 90:14 O Lord, satisfy us in the morning with You steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. (Good idea!)
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.