I stepped right off the deep end. I hit with a belly slap to the water that left me breathless. Then I floated. I rolled, gave in and let myself float free with the current.

As soon as my eyes opened this morning I knew something shifted, something is different. I’m lighter and I’m back on the ledge with inches to spare.

How? To explain how I need to explain why my head got so cloudy that I couldn’t see an inch in front of my face. Pain, as always, it was pain. Two Wednesdays in a row a doctor manipulated my arm and shoulder for imaging. The first time was horrible, the second time tipped the scale of my pain tolerance.

Anyone with chronic pain knows when they are dangerously close to losing their sanity. It feels like having that limb cut off would feel better, or having a knife cut a tightly spasmed muscle would feel better than leaving it rock hard with shooting pain. Walking in front of a truck, a train, a bus to make it end seems the only out. When that scale of tolerance has been tipped and we’ve fallen off the deep end, we’ll take chances and risk in ways never considered by the rational mind.

If only I could get out of my skin as easily as changing a stained shirt!

So what did I do? This is going to sound crazy but, with luck, some knowledge and added pain to an already tipped scale, I adjusted my own neck and shoulder. I managed to reduce my pain dramatically. My hand is not numb. The shoulder is bruised but there is no nerve pain shooting through, and my cluster headache has been relieved.

I’ve been a patient for a very long time. I’m not a good patient because I’m emotional and angry, but I am attentive. Despite the emotional vomit, I am listening.

No one taught me how to adjust my shoulder or neck. What I was taught is how to lie down, properly aligned. I was taught how to correctly prop my head. I was taught how to relax the muscles in my chest, neck, back and wrists. I was taught the therapeutic value of a softball, baseball, tennis ball, sand bags, pillows and ice. What I did after relaxing the muscles falls in the category of a risk not taken by the rational mind.

After three grueling hours, I heard the pop I was waiting for. Who knows how long this will last. All I can say is, I slept well for the first time in a very long time. When I opened my eyes this morning, I knew I was back in a spot where I am accustomed to managing life. I’ll be myself today.

Written April 16th, 2016 @ 5:58pm EST

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