Pain Bad

… narcotics good.  Alternate title:  It sucks to get old.

A few days ago, I left work after only two hours of a scheduled eight hour shift.   I woke up with the worst crick in my neck that ever remember having.  For the non-hicks in the audience, a crick in the neck is what one calls the muscle pain that is most frequently caused by sleeping in an awkward position or restless manner.

I’ve had these before, and normally they work themselves out quickly enough after starting daily activity.  Sure, there may be a little soreness for a day or so, but no big deal.

Not this time, asshole.  You’re getting old!  

Because of my advanced age, and the physical nature of my job, I self-medicated with two tablets of naproxen sodium.  An hour into my shift, I was still unable to turn my head to the left or unshrug my left shoulder without enough pain to make the room go dark.

I was able to perform my job, but barely.  Because of the awkward way that I had to handle the boxes to avoid pain, I ended up dropping a few.  After another hour passed without improvement, I explained the problem to my boss, clocked out, and went home.

The next day was worse.  I was unable to sleep normally because of the discomfort, and I awoke to an even smaller range of motion than the previous day.  I almost called in sick, but then I had a flash of brilliance.

OK, not really.

I remembered the oxycodone that they prescribed after the accident with my hand back in November, that I never used.  Let’s see if this shit will help.

I took two NS tablets, one oxy tablet, and off to work I went.  The first hour and a half was almost as bad as the previous night.  Just as I was about to leave early again, the pain started to subside.  It still hurt, but I was able to handle the boxes in a nearly normal manner.

I had planned to end my shift no later than lunchtime, but after the improvement, I decided to stay for the full shift.  At eight measly bucks an hour, I needed to stay if I could.  While home for lunch, I took another oxy tab.  It had only been five of the recommended six hours between doses, but I didn’t figure it’d hurt me.

I developed a bit of a buzz, but it passed after about thirty minutes, and I was able to finish the shift relatively pain-free.

I was scheduled off the next night, and declined the offer of additional hours after finding that the pain was still firmly entrenched when I awoke.

I was able to work the following night with nothing stronger than NS.  Well, until first break, that is.  As is my custom, when break was called, I simply stretched out on the nearest empty pallet.  A couple minutes later, my back started to hurt.  I found myself curling up into the fetal position.

OK, time to stand back up and stretch a bit.  This is starting to feel really unpleasant.  I found it very painful to stand, but I forced myself to do so.  Stretching seemed to help a little, so I sat back down on the pallet for the remainder of my break.

After break, I rolled my pallet jack to the next area where I was to work.  I had to walk in a bent-over fashion to avoid significant discomfort.  Damn, I shouldn’t have been completely inactive for the entire fifteen minutes of my break.

When I looked at my handheld to see what freight I was supposed to pull next, I involuntarily went to my knees.  My back simply refused to support me in a standing position any longer.  OK, I’ll stay here on my knees for a minute, until this passes.

I started for the shelf where the next several cases were waiting for me to load them onto the pallet.


Even on my hands and knees, the pain was excruciating, nearing the point of tears.  And I like to think that I have a moderately above-average pain threshold.  Good thing I thought bring the bottle of oxy pills with me.

I swallered one right quick, and stayed on my hands and knees, hoping and praying that none of the heartless bastards who work there would notice my predicament and laugh their asses off at me.

For a full five minutes, I just knew that I was going to die right there.  Then I thought about using my cell phone to call the main store number to contact my boss, so he could find someone to help drag my helpless ass out of there.  I flat out couldn’t move any part of my body that required any input from my back.  Period.

I never made the call, and shortly thereafter, my back loosened up enough for me to be able to load half a pallet of paper products, and hunchback it out to the sales floor.  I grabbed another empty pallet and paused for a few minutes to let the pain subside before going back to load it up.

While trying to get a handle on the situation, my boss happened to walk by.  I explained the problem, and he told me to sit down for a few minutes.  Being the stubborn bastard that I am, my sit-down lasted less than a minute.

As the oxycodone kicked in (presumably, there was no buzz and no rapid pain relief, just a gradual decrease in my desire to curl up into a ball and die) I was able to continue my work.  I decided to call it a day when lunchtime rolled around.  Something definitely isn’t right, but I think time and rest will cure it.  I certainly hope so, anyway.

That was about eight hours ago.  Any effects from the oxy are long gone, and although there is still some tightness and general discomfort in both my back and left shoulder, I think I will survive.  Thank God I don’t work tonight.  And thank God I still have sixteen more oxycodone tablets.

Pain bad, narcotics (when properly used) good.

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6 Responses to Pain Bad

  1. nancykrainz says:

    Narcotics only cover the problem, allowing you to continue to function, possibly causing further damage. Sounds like you have a pinched nerve. Yes, most likely due to degenerative changes as a result of being over 40 years of age. Happens to the best of us. The best treatment is to take nonsteroidal antiflammatory medication (ie Motrin) REGULARLY, as directed on the bottle for a week. (Be sure to take with food. No point in adding belly problems to the problems you already have.)This will help resolve any swelling at the site of the problem, hopefully relieving the pressure on the nerve. You can still take an occasional narcotic. Heat or ice may also help.

  2. alaskan454 says:

    Thanks! According to the label, naproxen is a NSAID. Since I only have to remember to take it twice a day, I think I’ll go with that one instead of an “every four hours” option. I’ll keep the oxy nearby at all times, just in case, but will only use it when I absolutely must.

    I say again, it sucks to get old. Beats the hell out of the alternative, though. 🙂

  3. agirlandhergun says:

    Good grief, that sounds awful!! So sorry that you were feeling soooo bad!! I hate to get pleasure from your pain, but reading your account made me, once again, laugh out loud!

    Feel better!!

    • alaskan454 says:

      Thanks so much! I’m feeling better at the moment, but then again, I didn’t work last night. We’ll see what the next three nights do to me.

      I tried to tell the story in a somewhat amusing fashion, and it appears that I had a modicum of success, at least for you. I don’t mind a bit that you got some pleasure from my pain. Please don’t feel bad about it at all.

      • Akgrrrl says:

        Ouch, glad your feeling better. I’ve been there and I’m not old lol, just that I’ve done really dumb stuff in my life time that comes back to haunt every now and then! At least if I was old I’d have an excuse for my gimpy-ness hehehe

      • alaskan454 says:

        Give it time, and you will be. Old, that is. 😀

        I’m sure the stupid shit I’ve done (and continue to do) are a factor, along with my age.

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