Imbolc                                                                         Bloodroot Moon

Put your shoulder into it.  Increasingly difficult for me, at least on my left shoulder.  This is a post about pain, aging, the third phase.  Not because pain during aging is new or a surprise, not, rather the opposite, because its common.  Known.  Experienced.  But rarely discussed.

As the body changes, at any time, sure, but especially as we age and the terminus grows closer, we bring our personal history into our consideration, our weighing, our evaluation.

The shoulder pain, for example, pushes me back to a certain Madison County 4-H fair in August of 1949.  I’m young, very young, 2 1/2 years old, but I swear I remember the bare light bulbs strung on thin braided electrical cord, pink cotton candy, my blue blanket and my mother’s shoulder as she carried me.  I also remember a shiver, a full body shudder as I registered what I later came to believe was the onset of polio.

Whether this was the moment and whether the memory is even possible is uncertain.  That I would go on to contract bulbar polio and be paralyzed completely on my left side for over six months is not.

So, 63 some years later, when my left shoulder makes me wince as I lift my arm or move it  backwards or pains me especially if I try to lift an object, like a book, with my arm extended, as I’ve done many times in the last couple of weeks as I reordered my studies and eliminated books, my thoughts go to polio.  More specifically post-polio syndrome.

Probably not post-polio, a slippery diagnosis, not completely believed in by docs.  Probably not.  But that doesn’t make me stop considering it.

This pain has persisted, now maybe two months.  Not long, compared to someone like, say Kate, who has had persistent back, hip and neck pain for over 20 years.  But long enough to make me ready to see a doctor.  I want a diagnosis.

So Kate’s hunting for the best shoulder doc in the orthopedic community.  I’ll see whomever she finds and go from there.  In the meantime I waver between accepting the pain, avoiding the movements that exacerbate it, and medicating it.  I don’t like either of those choices.  If I can help it through exercise, or if I won’t make it worse by using it in spite of the pain, I’ll exercise and use it.  Just put up with it.  Maybe add some meds to help even things out.

If I can’t help it through exercise or if moving it creates more problems, then I’ll really need a doc because I’m in a bad place at that point.  I depend on exercise as part of my personal health regimen and having to back away from any part of it is not something I’m willing to do.  At least right now.

This will be a continuing series.  Part of the third phase.