While on vacation I couldn't resist an evening of outdoor yoga with funk music spun by a DJ.
I bent, and flowed, and did a little dancing, not really accepting that my sore right shoulder was going to cause me a troubled future; the crying game kind of trouble.
I was in so much pain the next morning that after hours horizontal-in-bed denial, and a couple of head-between-the-knees moments of nausea, I drove my limp-armed-self straight to the nearest Urgent Care doctor who prescribed me enough anti-inflammatories to tide this poor girl over.
As soon as I got back to Raleigh, my orthopedist, the same masochist that shot steroids between my toes during marathon training (for which, though it sounds awful, was such sweet relief), decided to x-ray the shoulder to determine what on Earth I'd done.
With fine bones, but a likely torn rotator cuff, my masochist shot me up again, this time in between the curved opening between the rear bones of my shoulder.
Next stop. Physical Therapy.
I always wondered what happens in physical therapy, but having never been I was in the dark, metaphorically at least, until which time I became literally in the dark; a dim space, just me and a table, surrounded by one of those hospital drapes that scream, "PRIVACY!"
In my sad, old sports bra I walked as the therapist watched.
Like a good student I followed directions, lifting my arms and reaching around to my back.
The desire to be fixed trumped any embarrassment over my fluffy middle, and that awful sports bra, currently waiting curbside for pick-up.
Anything to make me better....
As Corrine, my PT, bent and rocked my arm, smooshed and smoothed my bones, I listened to fascinating information about the shoulder, and the importance of the four muscles that make up the rotator cuff.
I learned that my one night of funky, outdoor yoga probably had a little to do with my current level of functioning.
I learned that people naturally roll themselves forward, since everything we do is forward facing (writing, lifting, driving, etc.).
And then I re-learned what I’d forgotten, which I'd heard constantly as a kid, and that you probably did, too.
It happens to be the most important health advice I've been given in months.
Stand. Up. Straight.
Pretending that you're holding a pencil in between the shoulder blades, push the chest forward while making a double chin, simultaneously pulling the head down and back. Pulling the belly in like zipping up a pair of pants, while pinching the pencil and doubling the chin, the muscles needed to stand up straight, now allow the shoulders to sit in their proper place.
This morning I looked like a puffed up cardinal walking through Target.
I worried what kind of message my extended bosom might be unintentionally sending to anyone in my vicinity.
I heard my mother in the back of my head telling me to stand up straight while waiting in line. Sit up straight in the car. Don't slouch at the dinner table. Shoulders back.
I'm not sure why the lesson about posture is such an easily dismissed childhood rule. But in the two days I've been standing up straight, my shoulder hurts less, and my outlook (even my ego) is lifted, too.
Once again, mother knows best.
I guess I'd better go clean my room.