my medical thought process (AKA why I am not a doctor)

I am thinking of renaming this blog Genie in Pain, or Pain in a Blog. I have been feeling very old and crotchety and like my body is failing me, but in my mind I still feel like a youngster, so obviously I am too young to be falling apart. Is this how I’m going to feel when I’m 74? Like a teenager in a creaky, leaky body?

After taking a few days off running and dealing with a case of not-strep strep, my neck started to hurt.

It went from mild stiffness to unbearable in a matter of days, with no clear cause. By Sunday afternoon I had to completely check out of all things that involved sitting, standing, general holding up of the head, et cetera, et cetera. So basically life in general.

So here’s where my mind went during this increasing neck pain:

Thursday: Huh. My neck’s a little stiff. That’s weird. I don’t remember doing anything that would agitate it. *Zones out on laptop*

Friday: Hm. Stiffness is back again. That’s the last time I do an extra load of dishes.

Saturday: OMG. I have meningitis.

Saturday again: Okay, probably not meningitis. But definitely something.

Saturday, continued: Says here that a sore neck is one of the weird symptoms of strep. That’s it! My negative rapid test was wrong, and the Zpack didn’t kick it! That urgent care doctor was wrong. I feel smugly satisfied. Dr. Google and I are unstoppable.

Saturday evening: Watching TV is hard. Still not completely taking meningitis off the table.

Sunday: Okay, we are veering into “I cannot move my head” territory. Pain moving into shoulder. Super tender spot in front near collar bone.

Still Sunday: I GOT IT! I have swollen lymph nodes from the strep that I didn’t have that the antibiotics didn’t get rid of! I am teeming with infection!

Sunday never ends: CANNOT. OW. MOVE. OW. HEAD. OW.

Monday: Visit to general practitioner. No strep. No swollen nodes. Insinuation that I need a massage. Conspiracy abounds. Hands over anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxer.

Monday, continued: TEARS. (Meningitis?)

Monday still: Anti-inflammatory not working. Pain in back of neck + pain down arm = Dr. Google has diagnosed me with a herniated disc in my neck. MORE TEARS. Fantasize about life before neck pain, AKA last Wednesday.

Monday night: MUSCLE RELAXER, Y U NO WORK. (tears) (no sleep) (more tears)

Tuesday morning: Zombie.

Tuesday morning still: Only been up an hour, and my aching neck is exhausted from holding up my head. Find sweet relief from a mountain of pillows and a neck pillow. Instantly fall asleep. Dream about a life with no head compressing down on my weary neck.


Tuesday I went in to see my physical therapist and pitched him my disc theory. Knowing how long it took me to get my back into the pain-free zone, all I could do was cry thinking about it. I was ready for black market steroid shots.

But after some jabbing and kneading and me cursing, he determined that the chances of it being a disc issue were slim to none. My general practitioner was right. My muscles were just so completely knotted up around my nerves. I practically cried with relief.

After more kneading and massaging (him) and swearing (me), I left the office feeling worse than when I went in. But after taking my drugs, propping myself up on the couch and dozing for an hour or so while the kids went from the trampoline to the table to emptying out the pantry of all things edible, I got up feeling like a million bucks. Okay, maybe half a million. But I could stand up and move around without wanting to die, so that’s a start. I went in for more therapy today, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And that light is not a herniated disc, nor is it meningitis.

In short, new life motto: AT LEAST IT’S NOT MENINGITIS! And it’s probably time I rid myself of my distaste for massages.

Join the Conversation


  1. I thought I was the only one with a distaste for massages!
    I’m sorry that you’ve had this pain and glad that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And that that light is not an ambulance taking you to the hospital for meningitis. Because AT LEAST IT’S NOT MENINGITIS!
    Feel better.

    1. I was seriously waiting for a headache and to start throwing up. Because of course that would happen when my husband is out of town and I would have to drive myself to the ER with 3 kids in tow. Luckily, NOT MENINGITIS.

  2. I’m so glad you’re feeling better, and I love this post. I’ve been going through all sorts of health stuff lately, and I’m always convinced it’s THE WORST POSSIBLE THING. I have to stay away from Dr. Google. (I type that even as I have multiple search tabs open on my computer.)

    1. I can only imagine how tired doctors are of hearing their patients saying “Well I googled it…” 🙂

  3. My neck has not been my friend lately either. I think I probably just need a better chair while I sit at this here computer but do I get one? No. Geez.

    Glad you’re doing better, hope it stays that way!

    1. Yeah, I had to get a better chair when my back was bothering me. I am just chock full of aches and pains.

  4. Neck pain is no joke. I’m sorry. Did you try a heating pad? I sleep with that bad boy when my neck is at its worst. 40 going on 80. Hope you continue to improve!

    1. Girl, I slept with the heating pad on high and even microwaved this gel pack I have so I could stick it in the curve of my neck. It helped a little until, you know, I had to take the heat off.

  5. You took me on a journey here. Never have parenthetical asides been so effectively used. Truly, midway through, I was sure we BOTH had Meningitis and herniated discs.

    May the relief you feel now continue forEVER.

  6. Dang. That’s no fun.

    I’m sorry you have a dislike for massages – some months, that’s the only thing that keeps me from melting into a ball of muscle pain. (It helps if the hot tub is usable, and the seat heaters in the minivan don’t hurt, certainly.)

  7. I went running for the first time in months — two runs, two days apart, totally about 15 miles. On top of my regular strength training. My legs have been aflame. And now I have a #manCold.

    I convinced myself that it was something *serious*. Until I stepped back.

    Sorry to hear about the pain . . . but glad it’s not meningitis.

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