Health - Non-fiction

Pains and Pontifications

It’s just gone 4am and I’ve had about 12 ounces of red wine.

Don’t judge.

I woke up before 2:30, jolted from sleep by the pain in my arm. It’s not a heart attack or anything like that — I think I have a pinched nerve. However, I can’t rest, whatever it is.

I can’t lay on my side. Either one.

I am reminded of Christopher’s advice about ‘left sims’: when you lay on your left side to help indigestion. When he’d said it to me so many years ago, I had a lightbulb-flash of memory back to being in hospital after I’d delivered Khalil. I was very sick after his early arrival and the medical staff used to make me lay on my left side to get relief from gas. Made perfect sense.

I can’t do that.

I can only lay on my stomach or my back. Laying on my back eventually becomes problematic as my body relaxes and I end up with lower back discomfort (no matter how stiff the mattress, there’s still a proclivity for the body to yield to gravity, with its center sinking toward the earth and leading to inevitable back pain). Laying on my back means propping my neck, which can only last so long; I wonder if having one of those wooden block pillows like I see in Japanese movies would help.

I don’t have one, so I don’t know.

The wine helps, but doesn’t make the pain go in full.

It helps more than the Rx NSAID the doctor provided — well-intentioned though it was.

I want more, but I’m full and I’ve already dropped the glass into the sudsy water of dish washing. I often clean the kitchen when I can’t sleep.

I’m doing that, and writing this missive, whilst listening to Alabama Shakes on Spotify … because I can’t remember the name of the band I’ve been hunting for over the past few days (they are a blues band that I’ve listened to before … I’ll get it, even if I have to dig through my CD collection. Christopher turned me on to them, having received their debut CD when he worked in the music store. It was one that no one wanted. I snatched it immediately, after hearing him play it. I think it’s in the back of my car, but I was trying to find the band name online. And can’t. So the hunt continues).

In the meanwhile, Alabama Shakes is helping. I understand how people can become alcoholics so easily. It can feel good to drink, until it doesn’t.

I could see myself as the owner of an Irish tavern, pouring drinks for customers whilst keeping my own glass full as well.

We’ve been watching a lot of period pictures lately, so it’s easier to imagine.

Oh, the pain …

The first thing I did after getting up was to send a strongly worded message to my doctor. Something to the effect of ‘help me — these NSAIDs haven’t done a thing … I can’t sleep … help. me.’ It had many more words than that.

I imagined channeling my inner Julia Child: why waste good wine, when I could cook and drink? However, at 3 or 4 in the morning, not so much.

You are therefore the beneficiaries of this time.


I wonder what my counselor will say about this episode.

I’m sure she’ll advise against self-medicating through wine, but beyond that, I suspect she’ll get it.

She’s a Millennial and has me for a client, after all: a woman with a master’s degree in counseling education, who avoided going into counseling through the worst period of her life because she was stupid enough to think a degree gave her the keys to understanding all there was to know about pain.

Yeah, that.

I still have dishes to wash, and Brittany Howard (Alabama Shakes) is my hero right now. My current pontifications come to an end. I’ll leave you with a little of her work, and like the song says, I’ll be all right …


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