Things That Embarrass Me, or Whatever

You know those really terrible Hallmark Holiday Movies? The ones that you are COMPELLED to watch every holiday season, but all have the exact same plot, with the dead spouse, the unexpected blossoming romance, and the salvation of the holiday season for some little kid with a Canadian accent who lives in Arizona? Well, none of that has anything to do with things that embarrass me, except that I will/do watch them, and also the inevitable plot twist when there is a fateful miscommunication, or the snarky, competitive skank next door tells a lie, and the unexpected lovers quit speaking, totally unreasonably, because they won't have one little conversation to fix it all. My shoulders are like that right now. That one little conversation. And it's embarrassing.

Three years ago I hurt my right shoulder under questionable and somewhat disputed circumstances. I missed several weeks of work and lost use of my right arm, but being one of the uninsured seasonal working masses at the time, couldn't get an MRI, etc. So, more or less, I self diagnosed, ala internet, self treated, ala slow workouts and ultimately, mostly healed. Then this year, my left shoulder developed similar symptoms. Suddenly, with no documentable circumstances whatsoever, questionable, disputed or otherwise, other than MAYBE a car accident I was in back in February, where I reached back to save a small dog from Certain Death. Anyway, long story short, being mentally compromised by the basic ridiculousness of my life, I went to the shoulder doctor, and mistakenly explained to him the left shoulder injury as the return of the old right shoulder injury, since the pain was IDENTICAL. Turns out, when I got home, I realized that the old injury was my right shoulder, so I went back to the doctor and tried to explain that I am an idiot, which he obviously agreed with, and ordered an MRI to make sure I wasn't just totally making crap up. Before the MRI, but after the appointment, I took a silly little spill on some pretty rad ice outside of the Krispy Kreme Donut shop as I was moving a 40lb EMT jump kit (on my right shoulder) out of the way of 1300 fresh donuts. I was mostly concerned with an awesome looking bruise on my knee until I realized, three days later, that I couldn't sleep at night or lift my right arm without excructiating pain. Now I have to go BACK to the doctor who already thinks I am insane, tell him "just kidding!" actually my RIGHT shoulder hurts the worst now, and get an MRI on that one too. And I am too embarrassed to do it. Embarrassed, tired of driving to Spokane, doctors agreeing that I am crazy, and All of Those Things. So now I am rendered virtually armless. In fact, trying to erase wet-erase marker from a dry-erase board today at school moved me almost to tears. I can't even hold a wine glass very well. Or drive. Can I get a new doctor and tell him I hurt both shoulders saving a baby from a burning house? Or can someone else call my doctor and verify my semi-sanity, and also that I am not just attention seeking? Or am I?

And there is the Hallmark Crisis. I can't face him. I would rather lie awake at night in pain than try to explain it all. Because it sounds so ridiculous: right, left, right, Krispy Kremes, jump kits... So I won't have the one little conversation that could solve All of The Problems: i.e. MRI's on both shoulders, and then surgery. (Now accepting applications for spoon-feeding care givers when I have both shoulders operated on simultaneously) As it is, I am living moment to moment figuring out which arm to use for any given movement that will result in the least amount of pain.

What frustrates/embarrasses me the most is that otherwise, I feel pretty great. I want to go running. I want to lift weights. And I can, at certain angles/modifications. But just the gravity of my arm on my shoulder joint is jaw-clenching pain. And localized pain is just annoying and STUPID. I know most of you know exactly what I am talking about. You know who you are. The knees and the backs and the ankles out there. It's a waste of time and energy. And we just need it to be better. I don't want slings or surgeries or any more spontaneous dislocations. I need to just have the stupid Hallmark Revelational talk and find my holiday resolution. But that pride thing...

So here's to cheesy holiday movies like the one you are probably watching RIGHT NOW (Mom), and  bodies that just don't bounce back like a 12 year old body would. And addled brains and fuzzy memories and just not being able to Fix Things. But also: Here's to having the one little talk. Here's to swallowing pride, acknowledging our brokenness, overcoming our sometime stupidity and being able to laugh at ourselves just like we laugh at Hallmark Movies, or at least find a new doctor.

PS: if someone wants to send this blog to my doctor, in a Hallmarkesque Santa Clausey fix-it gesture, I wouldn't mind.

Things About My Day. And Math. (Swearing Inferences Contained Within, FYI)

Today I was the 5th grade teacher. That was a first. The thing about teaching is that you have to actually teach things. Like math. If you don't already know, math and I get along about as well as long haired cats and ice water. And the thing about 5th grade, is that the math is...complicated. Especially when you haven't done math for the better part of a decade and the last math you did do consisted of lucky-guessing my way through a multiple choice challenge test of the Last Algebra Course I ever had to take in college. Because I was failing it. (PS - If you have no idea, the answer is most likely C.)

So anyway, today I was the fifth grade teacher. If your child (and, incidentally, one of mine) grows up with ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA how to find the volume of a cube, you can blame me. And also, if they are TERRIBLY CONFUSED for All of Time about mixed numbers and improper fractions, I will also accept responsibility. Because math.

I learned a lot today in the 5th grade. Like how wet-erase markers work on dry-erase boards. But how they don't come off. And how taping holes in a plastic cube and submerging it in a bucket of water is probably not the most efficient way to calculate volume. (That one was not my idea, BTW.) I also learned the the people who write curriculum, particularly 5th grade science and math, are total A-Holes. (I apologize for the swearing inference here, to all sensitive parties, but sometimes, sweating inferences are entirely called for.) Like, CAPITAL A. I learned that adjectives are way more fun, and much more flexible than measuring centimeters or multiplying decimals, because slinky and moldy can apply to almost any noun, and doctors could be deaf and holes might be invisible.

Fifth grade was a great mental workout for me. But I think it exhausted my brain for the day week, since I came home and shook up a box of Trader Joe's Tomato Soup after I took the cap off. Because math. Turns out TJ's tomato soup is pretty awesome, even as a facial masque, and makes a pretty decent dinner with grilled cheese and a coke & whiskey. Served in a snowman mug, because, well, The Holidays.

The good news for Northport is that the 5th grade class is actually a pretty decent group of mostly nice kids. Except for the one that cried during fractions. Because math. All I wanted to do was cry with her, and apparently that's not acceptable for teachers, even substitutes. I will admit that we spend part of our time allotted to math on finishing our adjective pages, because they were WAY more fun, and because math. But we managed to get it all done, regardless of what the a-holes who wrote the curriculum in cerebro-code say. We successfully discovered the cube with the greatest volume, which wasn't the one we thought - in spite of multiplying decimals. (PS - sneaking math into science is pretty much the meanest thing I think any curriculum a-holes have thought of.)

Now I am home, and with the help of my snowman mug I will launch into the first of several articles that I need to have written in 20.5 days. But there's NO MATH, no wet-erase markers, dry erase boards or cubic centimeters. Just adjectives.

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