(Note: This happened back in June. Don’t worry, I’m good now.) By the time I felt the bone slipping it was too late. I've been doing P90X for a while, and despite my long history of stupid injuries, this hadn’t yet been the source of one of them. I thought I knew my limits. Clearly, I was wrong.
Up to this point all of my injuries have been for relatively embarrassing reasons. The first time I pulled my shoulder it was while doing a one man scene in high school. The second time was mid stroke while swimming. Time number three was from Richard Simmons.
This was the first actual weight lifting related one. I'd grown sloppy, but that wasn't the stupid part. Not even by a little. I was in front of my laptop, watching Battlestar Galactica and working out, doing a shoulder tricep extension
when I felt the muscles spasm halfway up into the lift. By the time I dropped the weight, it was too late.
I screamed out in pain as I fell to the floor. I held up my right arm with my left so I could slowly and painfully make my way over to my laptop. Each movement was excruciating. I couldn’t figure out how to pause Battlestar so I just hit mute. This probably shouldn’t have been my first concern.
I grabbed my phone to call someone and then debated if I could set it myself. When I dislocated my shoulder in Michigan that first time, all the doctor had to do was lay me face down and let my arm dangle as he pulled slightly. It’s possible that’s all it would take. Admittedly, the other two times involved heavy amounts of morphine, but why focus on the negative?
“There’s a chance I can pull this off without going to a hospital,” I thought. It was less about the inconvenience and more about not having health insurance and being terrified how much it would cost.
I made my way back to my bed and tried laying on my stomach and slowly lowering my arm. I kept my phone in arms length of my left hand, just in case I started to feel like I might pass out. I was heavily sweating, not sure if it was from just having spent 35 minutes working out or from the intense pain. I kept my arm dangling. It wasn’t working.
It took me two minutes to lift my arm up and get into a position where I could reach my cellphone one foot away from me. On my phone, I googled "I just dislocated my shoulder" and came up with a few results from yahoo answers and YouTube.
I watched the first video, and tried to emulate it. I was standing next to my bed, and knew somehow I needed to get down to the floor with both a pillow and my phone. I dropped my phone on the ground, hoping it landed in the right spot. I wasn’t going to leave it somewhere unreachable. Then I slowly lowered myself and the pillow down, got into position and started the motion. The excruciating pain made me afraid I was making things much worse.
I picked up the phone, resigning that I was being an idiot and should go to the hospital and called up my friend Drew. No response.
"Let me try one more thing before calling someone else,” I thought. I glanced at my computer and saw the muted Battlestar was over, meaning I'd now been trying to fix myself for half an hour.
I searched again
and saw another solution involving standing up and starting with my arm bent towards my body. I couldn't even start this exercise.
I read Yahoo Answers, and one response mentioned the importance of having a muscle relaxant. I went to the bathroom and for the first time looked in the mirror. “That's not how shoulders are supposed to look,” I thought, as I saw the ball socket clearly an inch lower than it should have been. I looked at my other shoulder to confirm. “Yeah, that's not right at all.”
In my medicine closet I had some Vicodin from when I'd caused myself permanent brain damage in an incident four years back involving me on a bicycle not wearing a helmet, a car, and far too much cement in proximity with my face.
I tried to open the container but it took two hands, and I didn't have the strength, “Stupid child proof locks.”
I went back to my bed and used a hard surface to get it open. Then I waited five minutes for the drug to get in my system and tried the last strategy again. No luck.
I texted Andrew, but he wasn't responding. I called up my neighbor Hillel, but he was away. I thought of the biking incident four years ago and how, despite the fact that blood was dripping off my neck and my left hand had stopped working, I'd decided to drive myself. I realized how this must be significantly more pain as there was absolutely no way I could drive myself in this state.
I called Drew's land line and he picked up.
“What's up?" he asked.
"I just dislocated my shoulder. Again. Could I have a ride?" I was laying on my side in bed not quite able to move without insane amounts of pain. He said he'd be right over.
It took me a full three minutes to put on a t-shirt. Fortunately I was already wearing my shoes, as I have no idea how I would have gotten them on. Once Drew picked me up, it all went smoothly. I realized I could have passed out, alone in my apartment. I should have asked for help immediately. I was an idiot. Perhaps next time I’ll do it differently.