Pain in the neck

It’s a mystery to me how seesaw my days have been. Yesterday I felt in tune with what was going on around me, and today, well I was incredibly irritable and then numb to anything. My sister called a few times and each time I just waved the phone away when my mom asked if I wanted to talk. I just don’t want to talk, it’s nothing against her. If you’re in front of me, I’ll engage and be pleasant, but phone calls just seems like work. I’ve been on the phone a lot lately to cancel things that George subscribed to, and it just awful to be on it. Being on the phone is like a rug burn. It’s not crippling but it’s annoying enough where you don’t want to continue doing it.

So today I went to my brothers house to help break in his new juicer. George and I were big juicer and smoothie makers. We loved making drink with whatever fruits and vegetables we had laying around. So I brought whatever was left over in my apartment and headed over. This one time on our way to Sunday brunch in NYC, George and I ran into Joe Cross, the guy from Fat Sick and Nearly Dead. We were pretty excited to meet him. Anyway what’s the point of this post? Well My brother’s girlfriend had a neck injury from the gym today and it really drummed up a strong memory:


It was right before Thanksgiving break my first year of coaching at Sacred Heart University in CT. The day prior I went to the gym and did some power lifting. At some point during the night, my neck just completely became inflamed and incredibly stiff. I got to our team lift and by that point I couldn’t even bend or turn it. If I coughed I grimaced, and if I laughed I winced. My neck felt like it had quickly transformed into a wood board. It was that stiff. Well after team lift I was going to train into the city and George was planning on shooting out of work early and meeting me at Grand Central. This still went according as planned. I went into the city.

I always loved seeing George in Grand Central. He always looked like the smoothest and coolest guy in the bustling crowd. He would lean against the wall with his arms folded and legs crossed. When I got off the train, I saw him and started carefully walking toward him. I couldn’t tweak my neck because as the day progressed it got worse. Luckily midday trains are the best because they’re not as crowded and neither is Grand Central. When I approached him he gave me a big squeeze and I yelped. He took a step back and examined my face. The inflammation had moved into my face and my left cheek was swollen. He asked what was wrong and I explained that I hurt my neck lifting. He grabbed my hand and started pulling me toward the subway and said “You can still eat right?” I reminded him I always was in the mood for food.

Unbeknownst to me, but George had made reservations for an early dinner (late lunch, depends how you interpret it. It was about 430-5ish) at this upscale Indian Restaurant called Tamarind. It’s always voted best Indian in NYC. Well we followed through with the plan and we went to Tamarind. At that point, I seriously couldn’t move, but he didn’t care. He thought it was really funny. My movements were as if I was wearing a back brace underneath my clothes.

But to make a long story short, after dinner we were supposed to go to a movie, but we headed back to Queens to his apartment instead. He helped me into bed, gave me a neck pillow and a popsicle and ran out to the pharmacy to get some muscle relaxers. The next day, the swelling in my face had gone down, and I had some mobility. But he was the best nurse I could’ve asked for.


About J.

Fitness professional, fitness & nutrition writer, widowed at 28. Writing about getting through grief through self-care, physical activity, and the ​constant feeling of being uncomfortable.
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