Thursday, September 06, 2007

Pain in the Neck

Last Saturday, I gave myself whiplash while towel drying my hair. Previously, I have injured my neck during such strenuous activities as sleeping, walking, and driving a car. The pain always goes away by itself, although most days I have at least a minor crick in my neck. I've tried a new pillow and stretching exercises, but nothing has made any difference.

My neck still hurt pretty badly on Monday, and I didn't have anything interesting to do that day, so I decided to go to the urgent care clinic and have them take a look. I figured at the very least, I might get some good drugs out of them. My Vicodin stash from last year's ER visit was running low, so it was time to stock up. I'm not a drug abuser, but for some reason I am a habitual drug hoarder. Also, Vicodin is the very best hang-over cure ever.

After quite a wait, I finally got to see a doctor with a very handsome accent. I felt like a fraud complaining about neck pain and was sure I would quickly be identified as a pain-killer addict and kicked out on the street. But, the doctor took one look at my neck muscles and started making impressed noises about how swollen they were.

He said to me, "Tell me if this hurts," and suddenly everything went black and stars starting bursting out of my eye sockets. Evidently he was able to determine the most jab-worthy spot on sight. "Yeah, that hurt," I told him.

To be on the safe side, he sent me down the hall for X-rays. Two rather bumbling techs fiddled with gadgets and argued about the best angle from which to shoot me with radiation for what seemed like forever. Finally, they concluded that my neck was not broken, although my spine was rather bendier than it should have been. Overly-bendy as in, I have scoliosis.

They put me back in the exam room, and the doctor came in with prescriptions for Vicodin and muscle relaxers (score!). "Do you have any questions?" he asked. So I brought up the whole, Surprise! You have scoliosis! thing. The exasperated look on his face made it abundantly clear that bumbling X-ray techs are not qualified to diagnose me with scoliosis and they really shouldn't have brought it up.

The radiologist was supposed to have reviewed my films and called me by now. I also left a message at the clinic this morning, which no one has returned. I'm not sure if that's a good sign or no sign at all. I actually hope I do have some spinal issue that's causing my achy neck. At least then I would have a specific problem to work on fixing. In the meantime, I guess I'll just have to follow doctor's orders and pop a bunch of pills. Oh, well.

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