Before you ask, no, that isn’t a new pet name I’ve invented for my husband—or he for me. When I talk about a pain in the neck, I don’t mean an annoyance, I mean a pain.
I woke up one morning and I had difficulty even lifting my head. Somehow, in the night, I had gyrated myself around so that I slept a kink, and I do mean a KINK into my neck. It hurt to hold it still, it hurt to turn to the left and when I turned to the right, my eyes actually bulged out of their sockets in agony. Lifting my head up was impossible and looking down required a day’s warning and a bottle of Tylenol.
It doesn’t seem possible that a pain in the side of my neck could completely incapacitate me, but this one seemed to. I couldn’t drive, because my neck was too stiff. I walked with difficulty because sometimes I had to look down to see where I was going and that was impossible. It hurt to eat, it hurt to sit, it hurt to stand, it hurt to lie down and even worse to get up. In short, my pain in the neck swiftly became a..well, a pain in the neck!
Of course, everyone had a cause for it: You slept in a draft, you had a nightmare and jerked your head in your sleep, you fell out of bed and sprained your neck (can you even do that?).
Even more people had a cure: ice (it made me cold), a heating pad (it burned the skin on my neck), Tylenol (there wasn’t nearly enough) a scarf to always keep my neck warm (I looked like Snoopy, Flying Ace, after the Red Baron) and my neck still hurt. I tried hot showers, fancy pillows and sleeping with my head hanging off the bed (I quit that when the blood started thundering in my ears.) All to no avail, my neck still was a pain.
The biggest problem with all these would-be cures is that, having tried all of them took time; and it took time to conclude that I wasn’t getting better. Days turned into a week and my neck still hurt. Of course, I tried to keep it as still as possible, and of course, that caused everything to get even stiffer.
Finally, I decided to get some medical assistance. When I called for an appointment, they asked what was wrong and I said, “A pain in the neck.” The response? “You mean your husband?” I would have ordinarily loved this joke, but unfortunately, whenever I laughed, my neck hurt.
I don’t know what it is about medical people, but when you tell them it hurts to do something, they have to check it out for themselves. They turned my head in a way I hadn’t done for about a week and a half, and after my knees unbuckled themselves and I unclenched my teeth, I had to admit, it did seem to be a little better.
It turns out that Influenza B is just the gift that keeps on giving. While I was lying around, wishing I could feel better from the flu, my neck developed this cute little inflammation in it. A little proper treatment and my neck began to recover. I can now look to my right without having my head explode with pain and my range of motion is pretty much back to normal.
My neck is better now, but I have learned to be careful how and where I fall asleep. I don’t ever again want to be unable to see what’s going on to the right of me. Now THAT was a real pain in the neck!
A real pain in the neck