my green vermont

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My Holidaze

Welcome to My Green Vermont - A Blog by Eulalia Benejam Cobb.
By Eulalia Benejam Cobb

This has been a happy Christmas, but one that I will not remember.

The dark forces that at this time of year cause airline delays, lost luggage, and cases of strep in normally healthy people have converged upon my upper back, where they have seized my trapezius with hot pincers, which they twist at agonizingly frequent intervals. In other words, I have muscle spasms in my shoulder (and eight people in the house).

To be fair to the dark forces, they gave me plenty of warning. They started out about the beginning of Advent with minor twists and stabs which I studiously ignored, then got a bit worse, and finally exploded into major fireworks around Christmas Eve.

Since Christmas fell on a Friday, I was left to my own devices until I finally got to see a doctor this morning. These devices included:

Ingesting increasing doses of ibuprofen, tylenol and whatever non-prescription pain reliever I could find in our medicine cabinet.

When none of these worked, having recourse to one, then two tablets of a well-aged prescription narcotic that I had hoarded for just such an emergency.

Moaning, groaning and occasionally yelping—all these involuntarily. The noises would just come out of my mouth all by themselves as I tried to turn over in bed or pick up the dogs\’ water pail.

Gradually giving up my hostessing duties, such as cooking, setting the table, making fires in the wood stove and throwing out gift wrapping paper. Fortunately these tasks were cheerfully picked up by the other five adults in the house.

The last device caused me the most regret: I stopped milking my goats. Twisting my body to get the pail and my hands under their low little bellies, not to mention having to do a furious tango with the rebellious Blossom at each and every milking, became unbearable. This means of course that much water will pass under the bridge before I have home-grown milk again: the goats will have to come into heat and be bred and then gestate for five months, and the new babies will need to grow old enough to be separated from their mothers at night. The best-laid plans of mice and milkmaids….

While I was going through my tribulations, Christmas swirled around me. Fires were lit, meals eaten, presents given and received. But me, I was hunched over my pain, thinking how else to deal with it, how to avoid bending over one more time, what effect all those meds were having on my liver. Anything not pain-related ceased to exist.

Then this morning I went to the doctor, and he prescribed serious pain meds and told me how to take them, and referred me to a physical therapist. It\’s been a much better day. We\’ve had a lovely snow fall that has made everything look soft and cottony, kind of the way I\’ve been feeling. I\’m not sure I had lunch. But I do have vague memories of reading a Trollope novel, then drifting off, then looking at the snow, awash in gratitude and relief. As I said, I don\’t think I\’ll remember much about this Christmas.

6 Responses

  1. Oh gosh, Lali, I'm so sorry you were in pain this Christmas. I hope you feel better now and can perhaps remember a little of it. I've had ongoing pain a few times in my life and I know that all I can remember is the pain. Glad you have something that helps now. PS: I've told so many people about you and your goathearding blog that most of my family and friends look at me askew when they speak to me these days. (few of the folks I told even know what a blog is)

  2. oh man i am so sorry to read this. though it's a brilliant description of being in pain and on meds, both of which i am quite familiar with. don't worry about your liver; you have to take massive doses of ibuprofen for long long periods of time for it to do any harm. prescription pain meds usually just put me to sleep, but they do help relax the muscle over time, and i hope you find relief.

  3. How utterly awful for you. And oh, the goats, after so much. I am so sorry.I have a feeling this doesn't bode well for seeing you New Year's Eve…and I was hoping maybe your entire family would tag along.

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