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October 22, 2016
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Multiple Migrating Malaises

I'm not sure if it's the cold, the damp, the ice, the hours at the cash register, the forced shoveling activity, or the forced inactivity, but "all of my old injuries" have been playing havoc on me these past couple of days, and I can't do a blessed thing about most of them.

It started about three weeks ago with a skid in the midst of that really, really cold spell after a snowstorm. While I managed to avoid falling on the cold, icy dark road, when I got my bicycle under control, I came down so hard on the saddle that I had to check to make sure I hadn't fractured my tailbone. Three weeks out, there are still some seated and supine positions that cause various levels of discomfort. My doctor says I probably bruised the deep muscles near my pelvis, and those can take months or longer to heal. Bloody friggin lovely.

The shorter-staffed, shorter weeks mean that instead of spending the greater part of my shift on the sales floor, helping customers and being creative (or not — a recent customer's second-grade daughter had to "build an instrument with multiple pitches", and neither shopper had heard of a shoebox guitar). The cash register area has less than two steps' movement area in any direction, and once you're in, one foot more or less stays put while the other just switches from register-facing to wrap-desk-facing. "Scan and bag" means grasping large heavy boxes one-handed while the other makes sure the bag stays open wide enough to insert the purchase. It's the sort of repetitve motion that caused me to develop tendinitis in my wrists and elbows last Christmas. I developed some knee issues on my university fencing team, though, as well as injuring the soft tissue between my left thumb and forefinger.

Most of the time, none of this is an issue.

Most of the time, overuse injuries can be alleviated with a dose or two of an over-the-counter NSAID analgesic and/or the judicious application of kinesio tape or an over-the-counter support brace.

Right now, though, my problems are twofold: first, that "what is acting up on me" seems to switch every few hours, leaving me unable to judge what to brace or tape up, and second, that my body seems to be at the crux of getting "too used" to regular dose aspirin or its allies. (There's a particular taste in my mouth and feeling in my upper GI when my analgesic body burden gets too high, and it doesn't require the maximum recommended dose per day, or more than a few days running, for that to happen.) Once that happens, I experience the adverse side effects, rather than the desired therapeutic effects, of the medication.

I can only hope that warmer weather and more shoppers will provide time for healing and relief.

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