Sleep, eat, move around for a while, nap, eat, move around some more, eat, nap, go to bed. And I’m not talking about my cat.
While it does describe Sir Groucho’s life, it also describes my life since last Tuesday. I had a stiff neck—so stiff that I could not move my head at all in the evenings and barely in the mornings after a hot shower. It was painful as well as terribly inconvenient. I couldn’t raise my head to drink out of a glass or water bottle. I couldn’t raise my head to get things out of or put things away in top cupboards; I did that by feel. I was usually successful. But occasionally, I’d get something crashing on my head.
It started as a twinge on the left side of my neck on Sunday morning, one week ago today. It was bad by evening and really painful. So I put heat on it during the day and took an Advil before going to bed. Monday morning, I took a hot shower. It helped and I had a little movement. So I kept my dental appointment and did some grocery shopping. I bought a package of ThermaCare wraps to be used on the neck. That felt good. But by evening, I had practically no movement again.
Tuesday, I went to Florence’s Walk-in Clinic. I took a book, a bottle of water, and my lunch. I was prepared for a long wait because that’s the norm. Sometimes they even tell you to go back home and call in a couple of hours. I lucked out; within 45 minutes I was called.
I had a fabulous doctor who had had a similar problem in the past with his trapezius muscle spasming. Apparently, that was my problem. Instead of prescribing the muscle relaxants and physical therapy I had been prescribed before when I had the same thing happen after finishing Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges, he told me to dig out my exercises from those physical therapy sessions. He wanted me to get going on them gradually on a daily basis once this crisis was over. He gave me Valium to relax me. And told me it was okay to take Advil for the pain.
I took Valium and Advil from mid-day Tuesday until late Saturday (yesterday). I could not drive once I started taking the Valium. He gave me a medium dosage (5 mg) to take every eight hours. I can’t imagine what it would’ve been like if he had given me a larger dosage. I felt lethargic with all the energy of a sloth. All I wanted to do was sleep. I’d get up and shower, have breakfast, and clean up the kitchen. Then I was ready for a nap. I’d have a couple of hours before lunch when I could get something done. But once I fixed lunch, ate, and cleaned up, it was naptime again. Then I’d have a couple of hours before dinner when I could get something done. After dinner, I’d try to read or watch TV, but I’d fall asleep and end up going to bed.
During the periods when I got something done, it usually meant sitting at the computer, which is what caused the problem to begin with. Anything more physical was too much.
For a Type A used to being physical and getting a lot done and going to bed about midnight and getting up by 6 or 7 a.m. each morning, it was a shock to wake up at 9 or 9:30 or one morning 10:51. The day was half over.
And I had a bit of dizziness, so I had to hang on to the wall or stair railing and move carefully and slowly. Not my usual charge-ahead mode. When I bent over, I felt I would topple if I didn’t hang onto something. It was a most unsettling week. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to get hooked on this drug. I much prefer to be in charge of how I feel.
All that sleep and Valium did the trick, though. By Thursday, I could move my head up and down and sideways a little. And the pain had gone away. I continued taking the Valium to make sure it stayed away. Happiness was simply being able to move my head with no pain.
During my few waking hours during the week, I did make some headway on my animal book, but only because I could do it while sitting at my computer. I did some research on what was available for photos of calico cats, tortoiseshell cats, English Setters, black Standard Poodles, and bobcats. I had found a few photos a couple of weeks ago, but I found many more this time around and made some decisions.
I found a couple of bobcat shots, one tortoiseshell, and one calico that I can use free of charge. I made arrangements for one fabulous photo of a tortoiseshell cat named Sassy that I will be paying for and one black standard poodle photo that I am in negotiation with the photographer and may be paying for if she will sell me one-time rights. I have feelers out for some English Setter photos that I hope I can get also. So my photos are starting to come together for the animal book.
I also read through the entire edit twice. So even though I felt like I could hardly stay awake, I did make some progress on Colorful Animals I Have Known. On portions of two stories that I need to have fact checked. I sent the pertinent segments to the folks involved and gave them until the end of next week to get back to me.
I’m almost ready to start matching up edit and photos and then see exactly what I have and still need. Then I’ll be ready to hire an illustrator. I think I want the animals in their before-being-rescued state as the illustrated parts. But we’ll see. I may need more illustrations. It will depend on how many photos I get. I also need to go through all my old boxes of slides to see if there are any photos I can use there.
Each day, I’ve been only good for a couple of hours at a time before a nap, which must be how an older cat feels. So I’m really relating to Sir Groucho this week. In fact, it’s taken two days to get this blog written. And I think I’m ready for a nap now . . .