Fight, fight, fight!

Sometimes there’s nothing to feel
Sometimes there’s nothing to hold
Sometimes there’s no time to run away
Sometimes you just feel so old

      —Lyrics from Fight by The Cure

I realized this last winter: the day after my sixtieth birthday, I would lead a group of teenagers on a mountain bike ride. Me, four times their age—God, I’m a badass. That’s what I thought.

No, there won’t be any mountain biking, no coaching. My season ended a month ago. No big send off, I just didn’t show up one day. In our scheduling software where we mark our availability to coach each practice, I had marked myself as unknown—a black question mark where I usually place a green checkmark. When I fell off my bike, I expected two days to recover, maybe three. The day of practice, I changed the question mark to a red X. Unavailable, I couldn’t move my arm. I marked the next practice as unknown. Two days later, I Xed that out, too.

After my MRI, I crossed off the rest of the season. No mountain biking until I complete physical therapy. Everything is stretched out, unstable, a little chewed up around the edges. “You don’t want to re-injure it, right?”

When the internal swelling began to subside, the nerve pain began. Whenever I extend my arm, pain radiates through my wrist, my palm, my fingers and thumb. It feels like something is ripping apart inside of me. Sometimes it takes my breath away. The rest of the time, my thumb aches. It aches like the time I missed the nail and hammered myself, only now, the pain doesn’t fade in a minute or two.

Driving to the doctor today was a lesson in misery. I couldn’t get the temperature right. I couldn’t get the music volume right. My phone sat in bright sunshine, and I couldn’t see the directions. Every time I reached to adjust something that pain shot through my hand. When I reached the medical building, I had enough. I used my left hand to put the truck in park and take out the keys. My right hand was done.

My doctor’s appointment was dissatisfying. Last evening Susan came home from physical therapy. “My physical therapist says you have a brachial plexus injury.”

“Wait,” you say, “Susan’s in PT, too?” Four years ago, when Eli first started mountain biking, he wanted to re-ride a park he rode the previous weekend. I wanted to go there to run the trails. Susan rode with Eli. When I returned at the predetermined time, Eli ran up to meet me. “Mom crashed and fell on a rock.” Her neck hurt for months. Now it’s bothering her again, and she’s trying to avoid surgery with physical therapy.

Mountain Biking!

Brachial plexus: the network of nerves that sends signals from the spinal cord to the shoulder, arm and hand. It occasionally gets pinched in the shoulder, causing pain in the hand. Sometimes it gets better, sometimes it needs intervention. I emailed Christina. She’s a friendly blogger I know who happens to be a neurologist. “You need to see a neuromuscular neurologist.” I didn’t. I saw an orthopedic surgeon because the appointment was already scheduled. 

He seemed unimpressed with my injury. The swelling in my shoulder has receded enough for him to move my arm in ways that I’ve been afraid to. I still hurts quite a bit, but I can see how I will regain full use in a month or probably two. He seemed skeptical that the nerve pain was related to the crash. “Mumble, mumble, carpal tunnel, mumble, mumble, originating in the elbow or wrist, mumble.” If I have a superpower, it’s talking with doctors. I do my research with Dr. Google; I ask tons of questions, and make sure I understand the logic behind every recommendation and diagnosis. I was off my game today. My questions floated off half asked and barely answered.

I try to operate on the assumption that the most likely explanation is usually the correct one. I fell off my bike and landed on my shoulder triggering a dislocation that can and often does cause damage to the brachial plexus nerves as they pass through the area. I have hand pain consistent with this exact injury. Probably I have carpal tunnel syndrome.

I came home in a bad mood.

The doctor prescribed a nerve conduction study, which is exactly what Christina suggested. He said it would pinpoint whether it’s carpal tunnel syndrome or something else. So instead of mountain biking on my sixtieth birthday like a badass, I’ll wait by my phone for a call from the nerve conduction people to try to determine what’s wrong with my aging body this time.

The Cure’s Fight ends like this:

So when the hurting starts
And when the nightmares begin
Remember you can fill up the sky
You don’t have to give in
Never give in
Never give in
Fight, fight, fight!

Pretty good advice. I’ll need to work on that.

32 thoughts on “Fight, fight, fight!

  1. Pain sucks. Sorry you are having to deal with it! Hopefully you can have some smooth healing. At some point I was having a lot of pain due to spasticity and learned a bunch of stuff about how our brains react to pain and can move you from an injury to chronic pain because of those well-worn pain-response neural pathways. Something you can ask dr google about (I actually used the “curable” app for a while which was somewhat helpful)

    Liked by 1 person

    • My neurologist friend cautioned about not addressing the problem soon enough and still having pain long after the cause of the pain was healed. Probably not much concern about that. I want this cleared up as soon as possible. Curable… I’ll look that up. It’s new to me.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I was diagnosed with Brachial Plexitis, then MY orthopedic surgeon said no, I had Thorasic Outlet Syndrome. I had the first rib on the right side removed.
    I had a nerve conduction study too. Get 2nd and 3rd opinions before surgery. My pain was never alleviated and now I have Fibromyalgia or CRPS, depending on the doctor.

    Early Happy Birthday! 🥳
    The entire planet is nuts right now! Take care of yourself!

    Liked by 2 people

    • This *shouldn’t* come down to surgery. I think if there was a tear that needed to be fixed, the pain wouldn’t have delayed for several weeks. Weird that you’re missing a rib. You’re just like Cher. The world IS nuts now. Every time I look at the news, I expect the worst. I should stop looking.


  3. This is not great news Jeff.
    But it’s impressive that you posted something this week – even if the motivation might have been distraction! (Cliff note: remember that DD has a dreadful sense of humour).
    The healing process seems to be progressing though and I do hope you start to get better ever more quickly now. And if I read right, you’ll be doing that in loving company.
    All the best for now,

    Liked by 1 person

    • My addiction to wordpress stats will ensure that I write something regardless of what’s going on in my life (with the exception, maybe, of a coma). It does feel good that steps towards diagnosis and healing have started. IMO, this stuff can’t move fast enough.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I hurt my shoulder once.
    Throwing seaweed for Jasmine!
    I was sent to some specialist.
    He gave me an injection in December and told me to come back in January for an operation.
    Asked him how long before I would be able to drive.
    Six weeks.
    Don’t know what was in that needle.
    Pain went and never came back.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s one of my favorite Cure songs, and quite different from my other favorites (which came off of their first US release. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve stumbled on a number of bloggers celebrating their 60th recently (I think you were one of them). We must fit a “type”.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Electric bikes are an abomination! HaHa. No, as long as my legs work OK, I’ll stick with pedals. I do know a guy who bought electric so he can keep up with his teenage son when they ride together. I’m sure Eli would appreciate that if I did.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jeff, you probably guessed that I was being a bit mischievous. But I’m glad it was a ‘Ha Ha’ response!!
        When my partner and I got together, she was coming off half a year of bicycle touring in India and SE Asia and was phenomenally, ridiculously bicycle fit. I so wish E bikes had been a thing then!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think ebikes are pretty cool. They get people out riding who normally wouldn’t use a bike. They do make it hard to overtake riders though (something we competitive people can’t help but do)

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Jeff, I’m sorry to hear you’re still in pain from your accident. It must be so frustrating for you, especially when you can’t get a concrete answer from the surgeon, although it does sound like you’re moving in the right direction if you think you’ll be feeling less sore in a couple of months or so. I hope your physical therapy continues to help your injury to heal (and I hope Susan’s physio helps her, too). I always go armed to the specialists with lots of questions, but as you’ve said, I, too, come out not having asked half of them or sometimes, in my case, not understanding what they’re getting out. Here, you only get about 10 mins with a hospital doctor, so there’s never enough time to discuss everything.

    Do you have any plans for your sixtieth birthday on Monday? I do hope you’ve got something nice lined up, preferably not mountain biking. Whatever you have planned, I hope this birthday is a special one. There does seem to be a lot of bloggers celebrating sixtieth birthdays at the same time. Perhaps, you should organise a virtual party. Have a great one, whatever you do. Maybe, you could blog about it afterwards.

    Liked by 2 people

    • My birthday is on “Columbus Day”. In the US we celebrate this as the day Christopher Columbus ‘discovered’ America. Then he promptly brought violence and pestilence to the people who discovered it before him. When I was a kid, we always got the day off. I always had a three day weekend right around my birthday. This year my library is having an all staff meeting. I’m a bit worried that they will do something birthday related at the meeting and I’ll be embarrassed. I don’t have anything special planned. We may go for a celebratory hike over the weekend. Ice cream cake will be involved. It’s sort of hard not to take note of the state of my body and not somehow equate this with a milestone birthday. I just hope the weather is nice and I’m outside.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. this is why i stick to running (and flat, clear trails) … nothing to fall off of or trip on. 🙂 i certainly hope you feel better soon! hoping you can still run since i know it’s a love of yours (the soft swooshing of your arms back n forth while running might help loosen the shoulder?? … maybe?).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well yes, actually, I found the other day I can run and my shoulder actually felt better when I did. My overused legs can only deal with 2 or 3 runs per week (depending on length) so it’s not an every day thing, but definitely a highlight of the week.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m really sorry about your injuries, and the unimpressed doctor – that can be maddening. Hope the PT sorts it right out and you’re back up in no time, without too much pain in the meantime. Happy birthday weekend this weekend! The time with family and having ice cream cake sounds lovely.


    • You must have missed my sister’s comments a few posts back – she’s not as quick to blog as you and me. Nevertheless, I do understand. I’m sorry about it. Peace ✌️


  8. just read though many of the comments along with the last few post. I got nothing. Pain is horrible. The unknown is horrible. I know you have a diagnosis …. Just DO stay on top of it. (Speaking from a misdiagnosis) I am glad you can run a bit to clear your head. That would be a win for me. Happy milestone. Hoping you are gifted with no pain and a little run…because you Cann. .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. It’s sort of depressing to be hampered with an injury on a milestone birthday that is laden with negative connotations (at least for me). But running, yes. I gifted myself a new pair of running shoes last week that I absolutely love. Running and walking it is. And I love both of those activities. Plus, more time to write.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Good on you for getting your own shoes. Nothing like a fresh pair of runners. I still try to trot when I can . I ran competitively for so many years, still miss it. I am sure you can appreciate how it is a part of who we are. Not many “get that”. Its hard to stop. Lol. Hiking is my go to these days, too, and safe cycling in a gym.


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