I Beg To Differ

This has been a week full of epiphanies, some good and some downright disturbing. For the last several months I’ve been suffering—and it’s no exaggeration to say ‘terribly’—from some kind of shoulder affliction. It got worse during lockdown, what with being at the computer all day long with little reprieve, to the point where I was having trouble sleeping, writing, and couldn’t even work in the garden without suffering the consequences. I’d seen my doctor, Dr. Monteith (not his real name), he of the dickish bedside manner, at the beginning of the year; with minimal examination, he pronounced it tendonitis and recommended physiotherapy. Then everything closed—physiotherapy isn’t much help virtually, which I’ve written about before, and I’ve never been good at following through on things like “stretch with this weird rubber band 5 times a day”. Next, I got a prescription for an anti-inflammatory that made me woozy and didn’t help the pain. Then the world started to open up again, and I could see my massage therapist, but that didn’t help a lot either, even though under normal circumstances she’s magical and wonderful. Finally, I called the doctor’s office at the end of my wits—in a fateful turn of events, my regular doctor was on holiday, and his replacement immediately ordered an X-ray and ultrasound. ‘Immediate’ turned into a month though—apparently there were a LOT of people waiting for appointments and I had to wait until July 31 to get it done. Three days before, I made the dreadful mistake of googling “shoulder pain and cancer” just to see if there was anything to be concerned about, and I ended up crying hysterically when I read about something called a Pancoast tumour:

Me (sobbing): That’s it. I have all the symptoms. I’m going to die.
Ken: You don’t have all the symptoms. It says here the key one is weight loss.
Me: (stops crying): Your POINT?
Ken: It’s been months—you haven’t lost any weight. Weren’t you saying just the other day that you couldn’t fit into your shorts from last sum–
Ken: Well, one of us is going to die now.

It DID make me feel a little better that I hadn’t wasted away to a shadow thanks to some rare tumour, but that still left the mystery of the incredible pain I was experiencing. I got to the clinic on the 31st and, despite the crowds, I was seen almost right away by the ultrasound technologist who was very dour:

Me: By the way, I have a latex allergy.
UT: Uh, OK.
Me: It says on the sign at reception that I’m supposed to notify you.
UT (rolls eyes): OK.

Despite her attitude, it was a real treat to have an ultrasound that I didn’t have to drink gallons of water for and then have to hold it in while someone pressed down on my bladder. When she was done, it was off to X-ray, where the technician was slightly more pleasant. Then the waiting began. It was the Friday before the long weekend, so I wouldn’t get any results until at least last Tuesday. And that meant several days of worrying. Finally, on Wednesday morning, the doctor’s office called. My regular physician was back, apparently, and had seen the results:

Nurse: Dr. Monteith says you have calcific tendonitis.
Me: OK, what does that mean?
Nurse: He says you should get shock treatments.
Me: Get what? Won’t that be painful and somewhat brain damaging?
Nurse: Hang on. Sorry, shock wave treatments. You can get it done at a physiotherapy office.

So, epiphany number 1: Calcific tendonitis, which means that I have calcium deposits grinding around in my tendons and muscles, which accounts for the pain. Shock wave therapy is supposed to break them up and help your body reabsorb them.

The second epiphany came on Thursday when Ken picked up the radiologist’s report from Dr. Monteith’s office so that I could take it to my shock wave treatment next week. It says, and I quote: “Calcific tendinopathy involving the subscapularis and supraspinatus tendons, calcification protruding through the humeral head, otherwise unremarkable.”


“UNREMARKABLE”?! Excuse me?! It was signed M. Rooney, and all I can think is it’s Mickey Rooney and this is some kind of joke. Does M. Rooney not know about my outstanding colon AND the lifetime achievement award I received for my last mammogram? I was PERSONALLY CONGRATULATED by the Chief Health Officer for both of those! Well, M. Rooney, you’ve poked the bear in the worst way possible. From this moment on, I VOW to be nothing less than completely f*cking remarkable in everything I do. And if my dentist is reading this—you better get ready for the whitest, most cavity-free remarkable teeth you’ve ever seen in your whole goddamn life.

And speaking of remarkable, my good friend Paul, he of the Notes From The Avalon blog, has just started a new blog called The Desert Curmudgeon. One of the things he likes to write about are weird Canadian TV shows, and even though he’s American, I’ve awarded him honorary Canadian citizenship. His new focus for commentary is on the short-lived 1970s Canadian sci-fi series The Starlost, and he asked me to write an intro to his first hilarious installment, which you can read here. I highly recommend him, and hope you pop over and maybe give him a follow.

60 thoughts on “I Beg To Differ

  1. But but but… that means that it’s treatable without surgery, radiation, pills, and amputation. 🙂 Unremarkable is GOOD. Lol. But I understand the desire to be remarkable is all parts of your life, even if it hurts. Lol. I’m glad they figured it out… finally!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. That sound extremely painful and if I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a thousand times: DAMN this pandemic! But shock treatments? There’s a joke in there about welcoming the distraction, isn’t there? Sounds like it might be in the same calcium family as my bone spurs in my neck between C3-7. Bone spurs – what a funny name for a calcium deposit. They don’t look at all like those thingies outlaws have on their boots, but they do sound sort of jingly-crunchy when I turn my head or otherwise attempt a stretch. At least I can say I actually HAVE them in order to get out of going to war, but I don’t want to imagine the sort of scenario that puts me, a 53 year-old woman, in line for enlistment. Wait…I shouldn’t say that. Somewhere, some White House advisor is saying, “Hold my beer.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • 5 days is pretty good. It’s around the same here if it’s something really urgent or serious, although I imagine there’s a backlog right now for that as well. Doesn’t look like I’ll need one though:-) Just shock therapy–I’ll have to remind them it’s my shoulder not my brain!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That sounds painful as hell. My wife had surgery on both shoulders that that is something you definitely want to avoid. No that your wonderful clinicians know what the deal is, your tendons hopefully won’t be shredded

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I woke up this morning with calcific tendonitis of the brain: a sharp, throbbing pain just behind the eye sockets. Some Mrs C’s say that it’s the extra beers I had after midnight, but this post proves otherwise. If it were the beer I would have lost or put on weight or something. Honestly, though, I must have had a fun night to be in this state today, but I can’t remember anything remarkable. 😏

    Liked by 3 people

  5. What Dr. Monteith neglected to disclose is the fact that you are now superhuman. An ultra-calcified obelisk of humanity mightier than the tallest of petrified redwoods. And I am truly humbled at my newfound honorary citizenship — I promise to treat it with the utmost respect!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Sonic-wave-disintegration therapy won’t cure your obvious evolutionary transition to becoming a Pak Protector. Sorry. If you stick it out, however, you will be rewarded with “remarkable” durability, or so says Larry Niven.

    Aren’t you supposed to be finishing your novel? There is a technology called speech to text, you know, so arthritic appendages are no excuse.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I thought for a minute you were likening me to one of those things that holds pens and you wear in your pocket. Then I looked it up—much more interesting. I’ll have to do some reading, I see. At least when the writing is done!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Look Sis, if you are anything, it is you are totes REMARKABLE!! You should know this by now. Seriously, your mammogram, colonoscopy and the fact that you spotted that weird neighbors statue, Wolfstein means your remarkable at everything you do. M. Rooney knows nothing!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. You may remember that The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy described Earth as “mostly harmless”, and I suspect in the unedited version “otherwise unremarkable” was in there somewhere too. And yet we’ve found hundreds of other planets now and ours does appear to be somewhat remarkable in a number of ways.
    Not that I’m comparing you in any way to a planet. If I were I’d be treading dangerously close to a mistake made by Ken.
    Anyway you are clearly remarkable in many ways, and I suspect your replacement physician recognized that. But I’m glad you didn’t need shock treatments. Those are remarkably unpleasant.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. You watch out where they stick that sonic thing. Dr Who does a whole lot of damage with his/her Sonic Screwdriver so you must have some sort of remarkableness if you survive that with all your arms and legs still attached.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Trust me, you don’t want to hear or read “rare” when you have your doctor diagnose you with something. You want to be remarkably unremarkable. You want there to be an easy solution that doesn’t cost…well…an arm and a leg. With that said, I hope they fix your shoulder in no time flat and you don’t have to live with anymore pain! Mona

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I get my kidney stones broken up with shock waves… but for those, they have to knock you out and put you in a tub of water while they electrocute you. After four times, I’m probably lucky they haven’t drowned me yet. I’m sure your calcium deposits are truly remarkable… as I consider all of my kidney stones to be quite remarkable, and will show anyone who’d want to see it the 5 mm baby I passed on my own 8 years ago! I still have it in a shot glass…

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Truly, I know how hard it is to find medical answers while living female…so glad the other doc took the time to get a proper diagnosis and treatment will follow. That’s remarkable in my experience.
    Regarding Canadian Sci-fi, I really fell for the Lexx series Canadian/German production. So bizarre and so entertaining!
    Great intro to the desert curmudgeon’s blog. Feel better soon.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I just had the first one and I don’t want to jinx it but wow! I actually feel so much better! It feels like a jackhammer, but in a more pleasant way. Apparently some people find it painful but it didn’t bother me. He had my xrays so he knew exactly where to do it😊

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I had that same thing in my shoulder. All the physiotherapy I had, didn’t help. Finally after getting ultrasound, an MRI, seeing an orthopaedic surgeon, and a sports medicine doctor, the thing that finally helped was getting cortisone shots every week for four weeks. Relief at last!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. goodness, glad it turned out ok & that also you didn’t end up lobotomized. thinking of you lately as I’ve just finished a great book that perhaps you’ll like? not same style as you but somehow reminds me of your sensibility – Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, by Anna Quindlen. anyway, wishing you well


  15. I’m glad you have received the proper diagnosis and are getting treatment. One thing I ave learned over the years is to never play Doctor Google. That’s from personal experience, my wife had to cut me off from thec omputer because of this.

    Liked by 1 person

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