Range of Motion

Please raise your right hand if you take the use of your right hand for granted. If you could see me now, you would notice that my right hand is not raised. That is because, at this moment, I am not able to lift that hand much higher than the surface of my kitchen counter. If I try to raise my hand any higher, it feels as if my hand weighs 200 pounds.

What happened? Well, that's a long and unfortunate tale. A sob story, really.

It started after we got home from Cheyenne. Both Bekah and I caught some nasty summer cold; both us experiencing the same symptoms in near unison. It was no ordinary cold; it was the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered virus you ever set eyes on. It had a vicious streak a mile wide.

It took us two weeks to defeat this uncommon cold. I spent most of that time in a brutal coughing phase. It was as if I was trying to exorcise some demon illness from the deepest darkest recesses of my lungs.

But I still had to function. I still had a day job and kids to feed/entertain. I still had housekeeping duties to attend. Despite the coughing and sneezing and general miserableness of being sick, I reorganized my office to accommodate a new (to me) giant television and helped Bekah move and load some furniture for a booth at the North Idaho Fair.

At the point where I was finally regaining my health, I discovered a sharp ache in my neck. A nagging pestering sensation that would not go away. It started with stiffness on Wednesday and turned into a pain on Thursday that felt like someone had stabbed me with a turkey baster. I tried to sleep it off thinking that rest would help me relax away the soreness. No. I felt worse after a Thursday afternoon nap and hurt more when I awoke on Friday. By Saturday, I could endure no more and visited a doctor that afternoon.

The result? I either pulled or strained my scalene muscles, causing the right side of my neck to be in a state of constant spasm. I'm not certain of how it happened - either the violent ten day coughing fit, the lifting and moving of furniture, or both. Regardless, the doc sent me home with a prescription for some muscle relaxants and a 20 minute rotating heat pack/cold compress routine.

As my neck loosened and I started to feel human again, a new complication arose. Due to the tension in my neck for the past week, my latissimus dorsi and deltoid muscles had been over compensating. They are now fatigued and spasming.

I can't win.

With the meat below my armpit and above my bicep tight and nearly frozen in place, it makes moving my arm a comical impracticality. The tension in my side and shoulder act like miniature bungee cords pulling my arm with a a force more powerful than gravity. It isn't painful, just annoying. And fantastic entertainment for my colleges.

My range of motion has been drastically reduced. I reach for something and my arm just stops half way to the object of my desire. I try to point in a waving motion and I look like the T-Rex in Meet the Robinsons. I try to do anything I normally would do as a righty and end up using my left hand instead. And I feel like Quasimodo. Like I said, great entertainment.

Why do I share this long winded and humiliating saga? Because I am reminded how easy it is to assume that your body will always function normally. I can't help but think of friends - both those from my childhood and those that I regularly talk to now - that were born with noticeable physical disabilities.

When I think about my interactions with these friends, I see that they've not only survived - they have thrived with less than I was given. Consider this my self deprecating way of saying I admire the strength of my friends who were born flawed but live abundantly. You are all stronger men than I.

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